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Word Count: 717
Theme in Melvilles Bartleby the Scrivener Behind the Walls of Silence Ah Bartleby Ah humanity says narrator at the end of the story Melville 140 What is humanity in todays society Is that just another phrase that has no real meaning or is it something that we used to have Isolation from humanity and alienation from ourselves inevitably leads to destruction of personality and finally to devastation of our physical being Alienation and destruction is also in Herman Melvilles short story Bartleby the Scrivener This story depicts the conflict in the workplace between the narrator who is the lawyer and young skinny common passive man named Bartleby The authors theme that alienating qualities may inhibit humanity and that those qualities eventually lead to destruction of humanity itself is reflected through specific characters and their actions at work and may be traced through the development of the story The alienation of the individual in modern industrial society is clearly seen in the character of Bartleby At first Bartleby is the best worker Later on he refuses to work in very direct and extremely passive way His passive resistance is in contrast to the established professional values of society I prefer not to 122 is the phrase that Bartleby uses throughout the story It tells us how he isolates himself from any kind of involvement that constitutes societys backbone Also Bartleby has the strange habit of staring out of the window where he faces another wall The wall behind the wall describes Bartlebys career and his life It represents the alienation not only from society but also from himself Being trapped behind the walls of humanity is minute in comparison to being trapped behind the walls of the silence of his mind Before he came to work for the narrator Bartleby was employed at Dead Letter Office at Washington from which he had been suddenly removed by a change in
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