Bartleby the Scrivener Herman Melville's Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

After all, he was performing his main tack quite well and in a continuous manner. The second time to refuses to perform a task his boss gives him happens to be in front of all the other employees. This new situation commands immediate reaction from his part, because his very authority is questioned. By not taking action, he could open a chain of reaction and insubordination from the rest of the team. He decides to ask them for their opinion, before making any sudden decision. They respond according to their own disposition and the moment in the day. Still before noon, Turkey is still in a good disposition and suggests clemency, Nipper is in a bad mood and suggest that he fires him. The voice of innocence, Ginger Nut, expresses his conviction that Bartleby is mentally disturbed. These seem to be like voices of the narrator's alter ego. He could be thinking himself like one of the other, depending on the moment, disposition etc.

The head of the office decides to go on and keep the stubborn and curious character in his office. He suggests that, beside any other consideration, he is under the deep impression of pity, this time. He considers it a work of charity and it gives him the opportunity to feel good about himself. He is also pondering that his act of charity is not costing him much and it deserves to be done.

Their daily activities go on, but at some point he appears to be forced to take a decision and fire Bartleby. The latter chose to refuse do any work at all and thus offered him all the reasons in the world to get rid of him. An astounding discovery made on a Sunday morning will offer additional material to his case. The boss drops by the office unexpectedly and finds out that Bartleby was practically living there. Not even this revelation will make him act accordingly. The man is clearly a case of well fare and should be taken into account by professionals. He is also alienated and probably needs psychiatric assistance.

Given today's standards, anyone would suggest the head of the office to turn his problem employee to a social assistance facility that will further take him into a facility care for those who are mentally disturbed. Bartleby is clearly refusing to adjust to his environment and he needs assistance. His boss cannot provide the proper care he should be offered by the proper institutions.

The irony is that, at some point, the boss himself seems alienated and paralyzed in his actions. He is unable to get rid of the man who became merely a piece of furniture in the office, clearly getting in the way of daily activities. Moreover, the boss and the rest of the office members are at some point under the danger of becoming infected with the strange unnamed virus that took control over Bartleby. Although they are surpassed in their capacities and in no position to offer him the proper assistance and maybe find a cure, they are still unable to react the proper way. The absurd of the situation goes beyond that, when they decide to move into another building and leave Bartleby behind instead of trying to remove him from there.

Unable to come back to this world, Bartleby will finally succumb. By the end of the play, the readers finds out that he used to work in Washington, sorting so called dead-letters. This is the only supplementary indication one gets. It could point out his source of alienation. The job appeared to be morbid and additionally, repetitive. Moreover, his nextjob one knows of, that of a scrivener seems even more dull. One knows that today, the people who work in a factory at a work line and do the same every other minute, are subject to various kinds of disorders. If Turkey found escape in beer and Nipper seemed to suffer from a bad stomach and changes in mood, Bartleby's way of dealing with the alienation and the lack of humanity in his surroundings led him to give up and choose to leave this world by refusing to act.

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