Herman Melville's Story, Bartleby, the Scrivener

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In Herman Melville's short story, Bartleby, the Scrivener, the narrator's attitude towards Bartleby is constantly changing, the narrator's attitude is conveyed through the author's use of literary elements such as; diction-descriptive and comical, point of view-first person, and tone-confusion and sadness. One of the literary elements that Melville uses that convey the narrator's attitude towards Bartleby is diction. The author's diction in this short story is very descriptive and is also slightly comical. One of the ways this is used is when the author gently mocks the narrator by having him expose his flaws through his own words. For example, when the narrator talks of John Jacob Astor, a well respected man who complemented him, we find out how full of himself he is and how highly he thinks of himself. "The late John Jacob Astor, a parsonage little given to poetic enthusiasm, had no hesitation in pronouncing my first grand point…I will freely add, that I was not insensible to the late John Jacob Astor's good opinion." (Page 122, Paragraph2) Another example of the author's use of diction appears on page 127 in paragraph 2; "At first, Bartleby did an extraordinary quantity of writing. As if long famished for something to copy, he seemed to gorge himself on my documents. There was no pause for digestion. He ran a day and night line, copying by sunlight and by candle-light. I should have been quite delighted with his application, had he been cheerfully industrious. But he wrote on silently, palely, mechanically." Here the narrator's description of Bartleby's writing habits in the office, at first, tell us that he is very pleased with his progress and the work he has done but then it tells us that he is not very enthusiastic but... ... middle of paper ... ...e into his soul in order to help him and possibly to understand him better. " I might give alms to his body; but his body does not pain him; it was his soul that suffered, and his soul I could not reach." (Page134-135, Paragraph 4) This is the real struggle the narrator is facing, the narrator confusion and frustration with Bartleby would all go away if only he knew what was wrong so he could help him but it isn't a physical pain but a spiritual pain in which Bartleby would have to open up in order for the narrator to help. Tone is just one of the literary deceives used that help convey the narrator's attitude towards Bartleby. In Herman Melville's story, Bartleby, the Scrivener, the narrator's attitude towards Bartleby constantly changes throughout the story, the narrator's attitude is conveyed through literary elements such as diction, point of view, and tone.
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