Bartleby Essay

Essay by zeppelin423College, UndergraduateA, December 2013

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Jesse Lewis

Professor Bourdeau

English 102-101

10 June 2013

Corruptive Freedom

Often in works of literature, there are numerous meanings that can be interpreted that are far beyond what the literal meaning of the work might be. A perfect example of this can be seen when one picks apart "Bartleby, the Scrivener", which is written by Herman Melville. Due to the fact that this story is long, this allows the reader to interpret many different points as either something that is symbolic, or just literal. The mysterious character that is Bartleby allows the reader to interpret how he represents freedom, which is viewed as corruption from the other characters' viewpoints, for the time period in which this was written (1853), up to present day times.

The interpretation starts off at the very beginning with the title itself. As can be read: "Bartleby, the Scrivener", point out identity to Bartleby immediately.

He is identified as a copyist, but more importantly, an employee. He works under a boss, some one who holds authority over him; "the man". Bartleby represent many humans in his actions when he first starts out being a model worker, but then diminishes his working ethics to eventually nothing. Now while this example might be exaggerated in a sense when he simply does not work, it is supposed to stress how people in the past and modern day economies feel about their jobs and life in general. People work their way up to what "society" says is the right thing to do: Do well in school, get a good job, and work. But after hard work, people stop and think if this is really what they feel is the right thing to do. Bartleby is the one who stops obeying the authority and...