Bartleby's Transformation

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ENGL 112 English Composition II

10 August 2010

In Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street” Bartleby is a scrivener who suddenly decides to leave his work aside and not do it ever again. He was employed by a lawyer to perform labors as a law-copyists, his new boss assigns him a place near the office window. Initially, everything goes well as for Bartleby's performance, but one day his boss requests his assistance to examine a few legal documents, and he replied: “I would prefer not to" (Melville). Since then, he began to replay the same phrase to every request made from his boss, but he continues working as a copyist. Soon it is discovered that Bartleby has never left the office, and that he has begun to reside there. After sometime, Bartleby stops writing and is fired, but he never leaves the office. Because of this behavior, his boss moves the office to another building, trying to avoid expulsing Bartleby by force. Bartleby does not leave his former place of work not even when this one is occupied by new tenants. Finally, he is arrested and starves to death in prison. If you read the above summary of the story you might conclude that it is simply about a man that begins a series of systematic omissions that cost him his life, but in my opinion this idea not only would be incorrect but it also contrast the of the story because, Bartleby’s omission to his boss requests is separated from his will. Along the story we live with the copyist his painful process of detachment from his existence. The narrator tells us about the poverty of the employee; it is so precarious that he has to secretly live in the office where he works. His loneliness is described. We begin to understand that his inaction is a possible escape, although we can’t completely understand Bartleby’s suffering. With the narrator’s piety, who tries to help his employee to return to the world of action we visualize a world so rare to us, because of the...
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