Bartleby- The Scrivener Essay The three most important themes are alienation, man's desire to have a free conscience, and man's desire to avoid conflict. Melville uses the actions of an eccentric scrivener named Bartleby, and the responses of his cohorts, to show these underlying themes to the reader. The first theme, alienation, is displayed best by Bartleby's actions.
What was Transcendentalism and what was its influence on Melville?
Transcendentalism at its height,was a loose movement of philosophers, artists, educators, and theologians, who infused a philosophical optimism into American life. They felt America was a land free to experiment with social and moral justice, based on a transcendental truth, rather than a traditional set of beliefs.
The transcendental truth was an absolute and self-evident truth, written in every conscience, a spark of the divine. Henry David Thoreau, for instance, created a whole new idea of what was possible by withdrawing from society and living alone at Walden Pond.
Many of the idealistic thoughts of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau, Bronson Alcott, and Walt Whitman, became part of a typical new American attitude that life can be improved because of the infinite capacity of human nature.
Emerson became a spokesperson for this group with his essays. It would be equivalent to someone trying to explain the behavior of the hippies in the s, except that the Transcendentalists, though considered outrageous, were usually quite serious and intellectual. It would be like trying to work with Socrates or Cicero, constantly reminded of how far short one fell of the ideal.
Emerson says of these idealists: It is a sign of our times.
They complain that everything around them must be denied; and if feeble, it takes all their strength to deny, before they can begin to lead their own life.
Melville was influenced by this movement, but not part of it. He both admired Emerson and criticized him fiercely for being overly optimistic. He is an absolutist. Melville is attracted to idealists and puts them in his stories.
Bulkington in Moby-Dick, is an idealist who dies young, like Bartleby, of whom it is said: Melville likes these idealists who think deeply and stand up for what is right.
In his opinion, idealists were a bit naive, like Bartleby, to think they could battle society, or, that they could battle metaphysical forces beyond their control. He believed humans were limited, either through fate, or through some flaw in human nature.
Much of his fiction is about human greed, fate, and the lack of brotherly love. He was older, but both men were established authors when they met in the literary community of Lenox, Massachusetts.
Hawthorne had just published The Scarlet Letter and persuaded Melville, who was already keen to break away from writing straight adventure tales, to write in a more literary, symbolic style.
Melville was inspired to change Moby-Dick from a mere whaling story to a masterpiece of philosophical and symbolic depth that, however, did not capture the American public the way Hawthorne had.
Melville continued to follow his mentor in his remaining short stories and novels, but lost popularity, while Hawthorne gained fame. In many ways, Hawthorne had already touched on the issues that Melville would take up—the problem of evil, for instance, looked at from various points of view.
He, like Melville, found Transcendentalism did not adequately confront the darker elements in human nature. Both Hawthorne and Melville use idealistic characters but weave them into pessimistic plots. Both authors are modern in their use of seeing truth as relative to the observer, making drama out of conflicting points of view.
Is Hester in the Scarlet Letter sinful or a heroine? Is Ahab mad or a hero?
Is Bartleby a victim, hero, or bum? There are multiple ways to interpret their stories, and a fundamental ambiguity that disallows easy answers.
Melville had been looking for a way to express adequately the complexities he saw in life, and Hawthorne opened a door for him.
What are the historical issues behind this story?
In their own way, the radical Transcendentalists were trying to head off a crisis in American life, pointing out that society needed to be creatively and fairly evolved and that every person was democratically part of the Oversoul, the unity of life.
He ended up siding with the ideology of law and restraint in order to control the evil impulses in human beings. Unlike the Transcendentalists, he did not believe humans could be trusted to evolve in the right direction.Bartleby’s Isolation and the Wall Introduction: “Bartleby the Scrivener, A Story of Wall Street” is a short story by Herman Melville in which the narrator, a lawyer who runs a firm on Wall Street, tells the story of a rebellious scrivener who worked for .
"Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street" is a short story by the American writer Herman Melville, first serialized anonymously in two parts in the November and December issues of Putnam's Magazine, and reprinted with minor textual alterations in his The Piazza Tales in Bartleby the Scrivener Essay.
Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville Essay. to show these underlying themes to the reader. The first theme, alienation, is displayed best by Bartleby’s actions. He has a divider put up so that the. Continue Reading. Point of View in Bartleby the Scrivner Herman Melville, who is now considered one of.
Bartleby, the Villain in Bartleby, the Scrivener Essay Words | 12 Pages Bartleby, the Villian in Bartleby, the Scrivener Herman Melville's short story, "Bartleby, the Scrivener," poses many moral questions, but refuses to answer them nicely and neatly.
Transcendentalist View Of Bartleby The Scrivener’s Actions. Transcendentalist View of Bartleby the Scrivener Actions The Transcendentalists and the Dark Romantics were the two major literary groups of America’s literary coming of age.
first theme, alienation, is displayed best by Bartleby’s actions. He has a divider put up so that the other scriveners cannot see him, while all of them have desks out in the open so they are full view of each other, as well as the narrator.
This caused discourse with all of the others in the office. This is.