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From Bartleby to William Wilson The power of guilt Introduction At first hand there may not be a clear relationship between Melville and Edgar Allan Poe other than the fact that they are both romantics This is probably because they are both wildly original and have very definite styles However in the short stories reviewed in this essay I hope to find several interesting connections in their work and in their worries as well as their intent Bartleby by Herman Melville written in first person as an anecdote deals with the story of a lawman that comes to hire a peculiar individual named precisely Bartleby that decides that he prefers not to obey any of the orders he receives from his employer Bartleby slowly but surely moves into the office taking hold of it but prefers not to work or talk about himself His conviction prevails constantly and his employer is unable to find the courage or meanness to get rid of him violently Finally the employer feels obliged to move his office out instead of putting Bartleby on the street He feels sorrow and sympathy towards this bizarre and quiet character yet he also finds him intolerable Soon after moving the new tenants start complaining because they also cannot get rid of this man They remove him by force only to have him establish himself on the stairs of the building Bartleby is finally put in a institution where he withers and dies But our narrator continues to keep track of him until his final day always feeling responsible for his demise William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe also narrated in the first person has a slightly more macabre development It deals with a man that lacks moral purpose and devotes his life to satisfying his ambition Only as a student he stumbles upon a man that shares his name and birth date William Wilson who
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