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Bartleby the Scrivener
Herman Melville's story "Bartleby the Scrivener" is an alternately comedic and tragic look at the relationship between an employer and his employee, and examining how this relationship plays out reveals the complexities of managing a workplace and the sometimes overlooked nuances of the power dynamic present in this kind of relationship.
The character of Bartleby represents the inversion of the narrator's own character and ideals, because he offers what is essentially the perfect challenge to the narrator's pride in both his business acumen and self-assured sense of generosity. The major players in the story are Bartleby and the narrator, although the minor characters of Nippers, Turkey, and Ginger Nut serve to explain and partially justify the narrator's decision to hire Bartleby in the first place. The fact that Nippers is never productive in the morning and Turkey is never productive in the afternoon leads the narrator to…… [Read More]
Bartleby, The Scrivener
Although Melville's story of the scrivener would ostensibly seem to be about the mysterious stranger named Bartleby, it can more accurately be described as a story about the effect that Bartleby had on those around him, and particularly upon the anonymous lawyer narrating the story.
The narrator presents himself as an unremarkable gentleman, a lawyer and employer who, in retrospection of his sixty years of life describes himself as one who has been "filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best" (3). In keeping with this philosophy, he is a lawyer who is more comfortable with paperwork than with dealing with people, or certainly, with handling confrontations of any magnitude. He is, therefore, more at ease with handling dead paper than living persons.
Throughout the story he repeatedly avoids confrontation in every possible way, but is eventually forced by Bartleby's silence…… [Read More]
Bartleby the Scrivener
Since the publication of Herman Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener" literary critics have written countless papers examining various themes and motifs that they determine are present in the text. There is obviously the theme of the monetary and the lower or working classes vs. The middle and upper. Also there is the question of who is in charge, employer or employee. hat is most interesting is the question of responsibility. hat do employees owe their employers and what do those employers owe them in return? Moreover, what do human beings owe one another when they are no longer useful to society? In this particular case, what does Bartleby the Scrivener owe to his boss and what does he then owe to Bartleby whence the young man begins to lose touch with reality?
hen the reader is first introduced to Bartleby, he seems an incomparably hard worker and a…… [Read More]
Not having a will, becomes thus the only possibility to attain feedom and this thesis pesent in Schopenhaue's thinking seems to have potuded into Melville's convictions when he wote the shot tale.
Nobeg, Pete. "On Teaching Batleby." Leviathan. Vol. 2. Issue 2(p. 87-99)
Nobet pesents the line of events that led to him choosing a paticula method of teaching Batleby the Scivene to his students. The evelation of the impotance of the wod "pefeence' in the context of the shot stoy makes Nobet ealize that one of the keys to deciphe the meaning of Batleby's existence in the chambes of the lawye-naato: he usuped the latte's confidence in his manageial capacities.
Nobeg thinks he has found one of the ways to explain pupose of the scivene's pefeences: to challenge authoity, the most poweful fom of authoity: that of public opinion in a democacy.
Pete Nobeg explains why he intoduced Batleby…… [Read More]
Bartleby the Scrivener, By Herman Melville
The protagonist in this story by Herman Melville is the narrator, and Bartleby, a man of his own mind and a strong mind it is, is the antagonist. The narrator shows a disturbing lack of good judgment by coddling Bartleby, and begging Bartleby to cooperate. The narrator in this story represents the lack of human understanding in the business world of Melville's era. The thesis of this paper is that the narrator is playing the role of the stuffed shirt all Street kind of man who was typical of this era, and the narrator, while seemingly fair and reasonable, is totally out of touch with how to manage employees and how to deal with diversity and indifference. This would appear to be based on Melville's editorial view of capitalism and all Street per se during this era in the U.S.; in short, Melville is…… [Read More]
He later finds out that artleby has refused to leave the old office. Eventually, artleby is thrown into jail, where he perishes, after having refused to eat.
Towards the end of the story, the narrator reveals that he has heard a rumor that artleby used to work in a dead letter office - a job that naturally would have been crushing to someone of such a melancholic disposition as artleby. This perhaps explains his inability to cope with the external world. He becomes so closed in on himself that he eventually perishes.
Melville's story thus unveils in a perfectly orderly, chronological fashion in order to express two men who are at odds with each other. While the narrator is representative of the conventional world, artleby is emblematic of the dark forces that occasionally engulf humanity. Only through the narrator's empathy for artleby is he ultimately redeemed.
Melville, Herman. "artleby…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
This article provides an example of a Bartleby the scrivener analysis essay. It begins with an introduction, which is followed by a brief but detailed summary of the plot of the story. A short analysis of the story is then provided, with emphasis placed on the theme of determinism vs. free will. Bartleby is shown as one who is despairingly opposed to the deterministic notions of Calvinism, ingrained in the world around him. The narrator is shown as one who is baffled by Bartleby’s bold but innocuous assertions while nonetheless drawn into secret sympathy and empathy with Bartleby’s plight. Main characters, themes and a conclusion follow.
Herman Melville published “Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street” in 1853. It marked the beginning of his decline as a “respected” American writer. Actually, his previous novel—Pierre; or, The Ambiguities—precipitated the decline of his literary reputation (already initiated by Moby-Dick,…… [Read More]
Isolation in Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener:"
A man alone and isolated in the midst of all Street, the major financial center of the U.S.
Herman Melville's short story of "Bartleby the Scrivener" is a strange, almost plotless work of short fiction which details how the refusal of Bartleby (a law-copier or scrivener) to work causes chaos in the office where he is employed. hile it might be assumed that getting rid of a non-productive employee like Bartleby might be relatively simple, Melville makes it clear that Bartleby's refusal to labor has philosophical as well as economic implications. The other scriveners are shocked by Bartleby's refusal to perform because it contradicts the principles which they have defined their lives by -- namely, the value of hard, laborious, but ultimately meaningless copy work. Bartleby is kind of an existential hero -- despite working in a crowded office, his sense of the pointlessness…… [Read More]
The narrator becomes restless in finding a solution to this new and unexpected problem that he encounters. All the knowledge and wisdom he thinks he has gathered in years of practicing an easy, uncomplicated way of acting are of no use to him now. The old order of thongs and his firm beliefs are of no use when he is dealing with the case of Bartleby. Sometimes, the reader could suspect the narrator is actually looking at the scrivener and see his other self. There is a certain degree disobedience in the lawyer, too. After having discovered one Sunday that Bartleby practically lived in the chambers at No_ on Wall Street, the lawyer is still unable to dismiss him from his job and from his life: "I strangely felt something superstitious knocking at my heart, and forbidding me to carry out my purpose, and denouncing me for a villain if…… [Read More]
The story is about a relationship, not just the fact Bartleby does not 'care' to work.
Thompson, Graham. "Dead letters!....Dead men?': The rhetoric of the office in Melville's 'Bartleby, the Scrivener'. " Journal of American Studies 3-34.(2000): 395-411. Thompson analyzes the relationship between Bartleby and the unnamed narrator as a kind of a romance. hy is the narrator compelled to tell the story of Bartleby, long after it happened? Telling the story becomes a way of 'having' Bartleby and possessing him, the way the narrator cannot in life.
einstock., Jeffrey Andrew. "Doing justice to Bartleby." American Transcendental Quarterly
17.1 (2003): 23-42, 55. einstock analyzes Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener" as a kind of postmodern mystery story. Bartleby's reasons are always enigmatic, and the frame tale, that of a 'dead letter' office with an anonymous narrator, intensifies this sense of meaninglessness of life. "The conclusion (or lack thereof) of 'Bartleby' points to…… [Read More]
The narrator was thrown off guard by Bartleby's non-threatening responses for which he did not really know how to handle. He mentions that he is aggravated by Bartleby's passive resistance. it's as though he could accept Bartleby's resistance if it had some fire and passion to it.
As time goes by, Bartleby begins to refuse even more work requests from our narrator. Each refusal becomes more passive and with each refusal, instead of firing him, our narrator says he becomes reconciled to Bartleby. He even tries to negotiate with him on different jobs aside from copying that he was hired to do. This only causes our narrator to reconcile himself even more to Bartleby's odd behavior by trying to become friendly with him and find out about his background. He knows that something is not quite right with Bartleby and he remains perplexed about his passive demeanor. He even at…… [Read More]
' The narrator clearly believes in this system, which is why he is so determined, until the bitter end, to force Bartleby to work, rather than firing him immediately. The narrator describes himself as an "eminently safe man." because he supports the system of Wall Street without question.
If Bartleby were alive today, he would likely be one of those individuals in a corporate office who refuses to do 'busy work' when there was really no productive work to do, and frustrates his supervisors who demand that lower-level employees keep up the appearance of productivity at all times. However, although Bartleby clearly seems dissatisfied with his current way of life, he inexplicably refuses to try to change his existence. Even when the narrator, lists a series of possible options for work, Bartleby refuses all of them. Bartleby refuses to move, to take meals, and eventually is confined to 'the Tombs'…… [Read More]
The Finite and Infinite: An Analysis of Melville's "Bartleby"
Herman Melville's Bartleby is a representational figure of modern malaise. A soul adrift in the universal modern ethos of self-assertion, Bartleby epitomizes the utter emptiness at the heart of it all: for him the American Dream is one he would "prefer not to" chase. Bartleby's dream, rather, is an unspoken nightmare that ultimately paralyzes him. Whether his paralysis is due to a philosophical or metaphysical paradox that he is unable to overcome is a secret that goes with him to the grave. What the narrator of "Bartleby" intimates, however, is that the Scrivener was more than a mere clerk who passed through the office one day -- and then refused to leave: Bartleby is Everyman -- a lost soul seeking some comfort, some corner to call his own -- some form of charity that asks for nothing in return. This…… [Read More]
Engaging in a Bartleby, the Scrivener analysis essay is bound to test one’s patience. It is one of the most inscrutable works of Herman Melville. While Melville is perhaps most famous for his nautical adventure tales, this paper delves into the enigmatic cogs and wheels that make this short story a piece of eternal literature. Eternal literature transcends the constraints of time and relatability, touching upon themes and symbols that are indelible to human existence. This paper summarizes the major events of the short story, briefly addresses the main characters, and examines the more predominant themes.
Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville is one of his most elusive and compelling short-stories, one that most critics deem to be his ultimate masterpiece. One of the main reasons that critics herald it as such a masterpiece is because it can be interpreted in so many ways—as a supernatural tale, as…… [Read More]
Therefore, both characters failed to have positive reviews from their employer; yet, by compensation, they managed to remain employed. The discrepancy between the assignments they were paid to manage and the actual results in fact will weight more by comparison to the amount of work Bartleby would be able to achieve up to a certain point. Therefore, it can be said that one of the first characterizations of the main character is provided through the comparative characterization of the other two important characters.
As per the narrator, "a motionless young man one morning, stood upon my office threshold, the door being open, for it was summer. I can see that figure now -- pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, incurably forlorn! It was Bartleby" (Melville, 2013). Aside from the brief description when introducing the character of Bartleby, the narrator points out that "I engaged him, glad to have among my corps of…… [Read More]
Franklin's autobiography demonstrates a truly American kind of businessman, because he so neatly embodies all of the assumptions and logical fallacies that American capitalism depends on in order to justify its dominance in an ostensibly equitable and representative society.
Where Franklin's autobiography demonstrates the peculiar appeal to divine right that is used to justify the inequity of American capitalism, Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener demonstrates the almost willful obtuseness necessary for any apologists of capitalism who must interact with the exploited lower classes on a regular basis. The narrator of Bartleby the Scrivener is entirely unaware of anything outside the extremely limited range of his own preconceived ideas, which is both why Bartleby's passive resistance stuns him so much and he is ultimately unable to come to terms with Bartleby's death. He practically admits as much when he says "the easiest way of life is the best," because the easiest…… [Read More]
illa Cather and Herman Melville both explore themes of psychological and social isolation in their short stories. In Cather's "Paul's Case," the title character is a vibrant young man whose passion and creativity is constrained by his pitiful life in Pittsburgh, where his only solace is his work as an usher. Melville's protagonist Bartleby in "Bartleby the Scrivener" lacks the joie du vivre that Paul possesses. However, both of these protagonists plummet toward death as the only foreseeable relief from the terrible injunction of life. Their approaches to death are different, though. Bartleby is wholly unlike the young Paul, who feels regret the instant he realizes the "folly of his haste," (Cather para 65). On the contrary, the senior Bartleby remains fully resigned to self-abnegation throughout his adult life. hereas Paul believes that if he only had money, he could be free from the clutches of his past and embrace…… [Read More]
Melville and rving
The dawn of the American nation brought with it a need for a decidedly American culture, one depicted with careful precision by many of the authors that came to paint the literary landscape of the new magnate across the Atlantic. Washington rving, the first American great, told the story of the nascent, colonial United States through youthful folklore limned with great detail and attention to the inner workings of the human spirit in its new land. Half a century later, Herman Melville entranced the same people with his swashbuckling narration of pirates, whales, and sailors; America's best, who, against all odds, battled sea, spray, and monster to find their way back home. While Melville declared his preference for creative genius over adept imitators like rving, he could not escape rving's influence, from which he learned that realistic details of rural life in American can be worked memorably…… [Read More]
Listen to Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God preached. Discuss in the discussion group.
Jonathan Edwards gives us a perfect example of the Calvinist beliefs of the Puritan settlers in early New England. Edwards studied theology at Yale University -- where today there is still a dormitory named after him -- but then became a noteworthy preacher in the Great Awakening, which exhorted an entire generation to renew their Christian faith. Edwards' skill in preaching lies in using literary imagery to get across abstract theological concepts. Calvinist theology believes in "total depravity" -- in other words, because of Adam and Eve eating the apple, human beings are fallen, and stained with "original sin." The most memorable image in Edwards' sermon -- the image of the spider being held over a fiery pit -- is meant to be a metaphor to enable the listener to imagine how…… [Read More]
The narrator becomes repulsed by Bartleby and decides that he must be suffering from some type of mental problem. The less the narrator knows about Bartleby the worse things seem to be for him. He wants to make sense of things. He wants it all to make sense. The conflict arises from his inability to do so. The narrator is simply being human in his desire to control and understand things but Kafka is demonstrating how we cannot always know everything and how we must be at peace with that, lest we become insane. It is also important to point out that some things are simply not meant to be known or completely understood. Kafka does not attempt to explain everything in this story because we often face situations that will never be truly understood.
Marquez demonstrates conflict and how it makes for interesting fiction by allowing the readers to…… [Read More]
Whitman uses simile effectively ("The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings") and uses metaphors effectively to link himself with others that have crossed the river in the past ("The dark threw its patches down upon me also…") because he certainly wasn't and isn't perfect at all so he had a metaphor for that ("I too knitted the old knot of contrariety…"). Melville's narrator, whose work is brilliant but a bit tedious, can slip personification, a metaphor and a simile into the same sentence for effect. For example, talking about Turkey, a previous employee ("a temperate young man") the narrator explains that "…nature herself seemed to have been his vintner, and at his birth charged him so thoroughly with an irritable, brandy-like disposition, that all subsequent potations were needless." Melville's narrator seems to have an obsession to either understand Bartleby, or at least be able to rationalize…… [Read More]
Herman Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener" also uses a heightened situation to illustrate a greater human truth. In realistic terms, Bartleby's refusal to work is absurd, at least to the lengths which the title character carries his impulse to "prefer not" to do anything. Also, the level of bureaucratic intransigence of Bartleby's colleagues also seems ridiculous, as they obsess over their fellow worker's refusal to endorse the practices of their offices by toiling away and useless endeavors. But Bartleby's tale illustrates the soul-crushing nature of modern life, and the purposeless of much of the paperwork that human beings are forced to plow through, simply to make a living. Bartleby wants out of the 'rat race,' and by seeing Bartleby's reaction, and the reaction of others to Bartleby's denial of the value of work and government regulation, the reader is able to see the more muted, but still absurd truths of his…… [Read More]
It is recommended that the oss should tell artleby to begin acting more responsibly or he will be forced to leave. (Melville, 2006)
Exactly why does artleby always "prefer not to?" Describe artleby's behavior. Why can't he make friends or communicate? What is at the heart of his rebellion?
artleby does not want to work or doing anything that will allow him to take control of his life. The best way to describe this individual is dysfunctional and it is obvious that he may suffer from some kind of mental disorder. The reason why he refuses to make friends as well as communicate is because; he becomes more withdrawn and delusional in the story. The heart of his rebellion is his desire to do nothing and live off of what others have achieved in their lives. (Melville, 2006)
Are there any ironies in the story that you could point out?…… [Read More]
American Studies - Anthology
American Studies -- Anthology: Freedom vs. Tyranny
America's history includes a number of competing forces. One of the chief struggles has been the clash between Freedom and Tyranny. As Why Freedom Matters shows, our national consciousness is dominated with the idea that our forefathers risked everything so that all people in America can have freedom. However, Public Speaking shows that the dominant or "luckiest" group in America consists of white, gentile, straight males, who form a very powerful and wealthy special interest group. An example of the favoritism enjoyed by a powerful, wealthy special interest group is the Texan oilman group mentioned in Dominion from Sea to Sea. The favorable treatment given to powerful, wealthy special interests groups results in oppression of "others" such as farmers who fought for America's freedom but seemed to trade the tyranny of Great Britain for the tyranny of the wealthy,…… [Read More]
'How stupid can you get'" (erman 5).
It's this honest rendering of Cameron's fatal flaw that gives him his shape or his "roundness" as a character. Readers know individuals who are so myopic or self-absorbed that they cannot imagine what it's like to be someone else or they cannot see the error in their own hypocritical behavior. At the end of the day, that's what Cameron is, a hypocrite. And therein lies the message to the reader; the moral of the story, the important stuff, self-reflection and self-criticism are integral to personal growth.
In Noux's story, "Cruelty the Humans Heart," the "round" character isn't the protagonist, (in this case the narrator) rather the "round" character is the delinquent the protagonist arrests and interacts with throughout the story; the problem child, Cristoph Priest.
In a brief but powerful clause, the narrator prefaces an early encounter with Priest: "We met ugly..." he…… [Read More]
I was also disgusted by the jocks' inattention to their grades (or anything, for that matter, of serious importance - i.e., do any of these "special" adolescents ever so much as read a book; help a friend (with no "hidden agenda"); or volunteer community service? Of course not: they're all far too busy either indulging themselves; being indulged; and messing up other people's clubs; homes, and lives). Kevin Schertzer and John Maher (as if either needed the money) even steal money, jewelry, and other valuables from their fellow students at the Candy Cane Ball. Meanwhile, in the midst of all this jollity, Leslie is told she must transfer to West Orange High School, where she knows nobody, and receives an official diagnosis of mental retardation.
One aspect of this book that I like and admire a great deal, is that of how the author, very deftly and with apparent seamlessness…… [Read More]
Tim urton's 1999 film adaptation of Washington Irving's 1819 short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is hardly a faithful or literal adaptation. R.. Palmer, in his introduction to Nineteenth-Century American Literature on Screen, is rather chilly in his dismissal of urton's adaptation; he claims that a simple survey of Hollywood adaptations overall reveals that a number of major figures, most prominently Washington Irving…had never or rarely (and then generally unsatisfactorily) been adapted for the screen. ecause it has been so dedicated to marketing modernity, broadly conceived, Hollywood production offers only a narrow view of nineteenth-century literature. Hollywood's most extensive engagement with nineteenth-century politics and culture is in fact through an essentially twentieth-century form: the western…(Palmer 6).
Of course, Irving's original tale makes a very poor western, despite Irving's own note that the town of Sleepy Hollow was once "infested with…cow-boys" (Irving 288). ut in order to refashion…… [Read More]
CLASSICAL AND POPULAR MUSIC IN 'THE CRYING OF LOT 49'
Thomas Pynchon is known for his complex storylines and weird characters. For this reason it is not easy to comment on the use of music in his novels as it is the very complexity of his plots that obscure the influence or meaning of classical and popular music in his books. Despite this, he is one of the most influential writers of the postmodern era and many singers have cited his work as an inspiration for their music. In our days for example, since the return of popular music, we notice that Thomas Pynchon has become a source of inspiration for many new pop artists. Larry Swindell (1996) says, "Pynchon is an enduring literary cult figure, sainted by proponents of darkest-hued comedy."
It is important to bear in mind that Pynchon's use of music is not limited to just one…… [Read More]
"A Good Man is Hard to Find" ends with the family being executed by the Misfit, a murderous outlaw. Although O'Connor's story is evidently supposed to be humorous, it gives the reader pause to note that the family will die without ever exchanging a kind word. There are different types of family violence: the somewhat positive violence of the Roethke poem that makes the boy adore his father at the expense of his mother vs. The carelessness and cruelty in the O'Connor story, which arises as a result of a lack of respect and the superficiality of the modern family. Family relationships do not necessarily create a state of understanding. In the story, the most transcendent moment of grace occurs between two strangers, before one kills the other, as physical violence makes the grandmother appreciate her time on earth. "His voice seemed about to crack and the grandmother's head…… [Read More]
nature in American literature, from earliest writings to the Civil War period. It is my purpose to outline the connection between spirituality, freedom and nature and explain how American writers have chosen to reflect and interpret these themes in relation to their historical realities.
At the beginning of the colonization process there were two congruent depictions of nature. Initially, the tribes comprising The Iroquois League lived in close contact with nature and believed in the importance of maintaining a harmonious relationship with it. In this respect, the Iroquois Constitution imposes a devout display of gratitude to all by-human elements of the world before the opening of any council. On the other hand, the early explorers and founders of the United States perceived an immense natural potential in the country. In this sense, Thomas Hariot describes the New World as a land of wealth, his words and images aimed both at…… [Read More]
However, in line with the Paz prompt at the outset of this discussion, Keats merely uses this tradition as a bridge on which to extend toward motivation on behalf of the evolving form. The subject matter is where this work takes a step toward modernity. The manner in which Keats describes the reality of dying is startling for its time primarily because it lacks religiosity. In describing death, the poet tells, "where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; / here but to think is to be full of sorrow / and leaden-eyed despairs; / here beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, / or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow."
The notion of discussing death from a decidedly humanistic rather than spiritual perspective is more daring and innovative than perhaps we are won't to give credit for. It is remarkable that the poet would invert a steadfastly traditional form…… [Read More]
Paradoxically, based on the outcome of the story, it can be argued that the snake in the crest is not poisonous or else Fortunato's "bite" would have had more severe consequences on Montressor; however, the story ends with Montressor getting away in Fortunato's murder.
Symbolic foreshadowing can also be seen in the conversation about masons between Montressor and Fortunato. As Fortunato questions Montressor about being a mason, Montressor assures his victim that he is and pulls out a trowel "from beneath the folds of [his] roquelaire" (277). Ironically, Fortunato is asking if Montressor is a Freemason and not a mason by trade. Furthermore, Montressor's assertion that he is a mason also hints at how he will carry out his revenge.
Lastly, symbolism and irony are evident in the characters' names. Montressor's name can be loosely translated into my treasure, which can refer to the type of slight that was committed…… [Read More]
Thomas Paine was an earlier conqueror of the special association that was formed between America and France. His part in this association was initiated with his responsibility of the post of American Congress Secretary of Foreign Affairs where he continually used dialogue to make relations between the two better. He retained this post throughout the American evolution. Paine, however, is better noted for his works written throughout the American and French evolutions Eras. In his writings, Paine offered spirited protection of accepted autonomy, human rights, and the republican government. Both Common Sense (1776) ights of Man (1791-1792) stick out as the most broadly read political areas from the era. Paine's distinctive global thought also can serve as the building blocks for liberal cosmopolitanism in worldwide relations. His unrelenting faith in aspects of democratization, free trade, and respect for human rights being the factors that cut back worldwide conflict stands among…… [Read More]