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Bartleby, the Scrivener (1853) Herman Melville

About the Author

  • Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, shortstory writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period. His best known works include Typee (1846), a romantic account of his experiences in Polynesian life, and his whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851). His famous short story Bartleby was published in 1853.

Plot

Introduction

  • The lawyer who is  also the narrator describes his self, place and the people he is working with. Then the arrival of Bartleby to their office to work as a scrivener.

Rising Action

  • Bartleby when asked to do a task (to examine a paper), didn’t obey and “prefers not to” do it.  Gives up with work resulting for the lawyer to fire him but despite that he choose to stay and live there that creeps everyone.

Climax

  • Unable to get rid of Bartleby, the Narrator moves to another building. Even if they already moved to another office, Bartleby continues to haunt the old building.

Falling Action

  • Bartleby is taken to prison but his weird action stays even in the jail.

Conclusion

  • Bartleby dies.

Characters

Bartleby, Unnamed Lawyer, Turkey, Nipper and Ginger Nut

Setting

  • New York City – Wall Street

POINT of VIEW

  • First Person

SYMBOLISM

  • The Office – a space for human relationship
  • The Wall – like the wall, Bartleby stayed, not moving for a long time. Also represents isolation.

IMAGERY – Visual Imagery

TONE

  • Normal and reflects work setting
  • Strange after Bartleby starts to neglect work

MOOD

  • Confusing and Sad

THEME

  • Pressure in business/work
  • Freedom

VOCABULARY

  • Ascertainable – capable of being ascertained or found out
  • Snug – enjoying comforting warmth and shelter in a small space
  • Orbicular – circular or nearly circular
  • Abrogation – an official or legal cancellation
  • Blaze – a strong flame that burns brightly
  • Wane – a gradual decline (in size or strength or power or number)
  • Remonstrate – argue in protest or opposition
  • Fervid – characterized by intense emotion
  • Cistern a tank for storing water, especially one supplying taps or as part of a flushing toilet.
  • Augmentedhaving been made greater in size or value.
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