Isolation and Society in Bartleby, the Scrivener Essay

Isolation and Society in Bartleby, the Scrivener Essay

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Isolation and Society in Bartleby, the Scrivener

 

      Herman Melville's Bartleby is a tale of isolation and alienation. In his story, society

is primarily to blame for the creation and demise of Bartleby.

 

      Throughout the story, the characters -- Bartleby in particular -- are isolated from

each other or from society. The forester's office, which can be interpreted as a microcosm

of society, was teeming with walls to separate the head ranger from his employees and to

separate the employees from one another. There was one large crushed-glass wall which

separated the lawyer from his sycophants (although he was still able to see their shadows

due to the nature of crushed glass). The other workers put up a folding green screen to

hide Bartleby because of his hideous appearance, who was also alienated from the rest of

the workers. The Ranger and his employees were also isolated from the outside world;

their window faced a wall of trees ten feet away, with a sewer-like chasm ...

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