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bartleby the scrivener

"Bartleby the Scrivener" is a complex story, so I am going to zero in on one particularly interesting and intelligent aspect of it. Due to the power of the message even this one particular aspect will be complex, of course. The first thing to note is that the story has a first-person narrator. The narrator, an anonymous lawyer, is in fact a major character in his own right. Ostensibly the story is about Bartleby and his actions as a scrivener. However, what the story is really about, in a sense, is the effect Bartleby seems to have on the narrator. We learn a great deal about the narrator, but more importantly, we see him undergo several rather significant changes. These changes bring to light Melvilles comment on the oppression and lack of compassion in the emerging capitalist economy The narrator's initial self-characterization is important to the story. He is a "safe" man, one who takes few risks and tries above all to conform to societies norms (Melville 1109). The most pragmatic concerns of financial security and ease of life are his priorities. He has made himself perfectly at home in the modern economy: he works as a lawyer dealing with rich men's legal documents. He is therefore a complement or a double to Bartleby in many ways.Doubling is a recurring theme in "Bartleby the Scrivener." Bartleby is a phantom double of our narrator, and the parallels between them will be explored later. Nippers and Turkey are doubles of each other. Nippers is useless in the morning and productive in the afternoon, while Turkey is drunk in the afternoon and productive in the morning. Nippers' ambition mirrors Turkey's resignation to his place and his sad, uneventful career, the difference coming about because of their respective ages. Nippers cherishes ambitions of being more than a mere scrivener, while the elderly Turkey must plead with the narrator to consider his age when evaluating his productivity. Their vices are also parallel, in term...

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