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Word Count: 1,577
The Use of Secrets as a Thematic Device in Bartleby Secrets are an important theme in many stories Secrets may be kept from the reader from other characters in the story or a character may be in denial thereby keeping secrets from him or herself These secrets could also be shared with other characters or with the reader Ultimately however it is the narrator of the story through which the author speaks that chooses to divest or obfuscate certain aspects of the story as it is related The author of a work can also choose to conceal certain facts until a strategic moment in the tale such as the climax is reached Herman Melvilles short story Bartleby contains examples of each of these ideas and each is utilized in order to help further the plot or otherwise improve the narrative through revelation or disguise Silence and the idea of keeping secrets in literature can sometimes be more telling than the divulging of those same secrets The way an individual denies certain things or refuses to question circumstances indicates the subtleties of not only their character but those of others as well The idea of keeping silent and letting things go unexplained and unexplored is a key premise in Herman Melvilles short story Bartleby The narrator of Bartleby commences his tale with the statement I am a rather elderly man 1178 By introducing the story with the phrase I am almost directly referencing the Cartesian phrase I think therefore I am the narrator implies that the self is predictable and can be explained In the very same paragraph however the narrator contradicts himself he denies that the self is at all knowable in the statement While of the other law-copyists I might write the complete life of Bartleby nothing of that sort can be done I believe that no materials exist for the full and satisfactory biography of this man Bartleby was one of those beings
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