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Bartleby: A Story of Wall Street - Essay Example

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"Bartleby: A Story of Wall Street" is a story of the ‘wall’ within the heart of an individual which one is unable to pull down and that drives him to the ‘street’ being denied economic, social security and psychological support by the society. His problem is mainly psychological. He finds it difficult to get him assimilated in the present level of the society; he is too sincere and therefore unfit to be here…
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Bartleby: A Story of Wall Street
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Bartleby: A Story of Wall Street

Download file to see previous pages... In this story, Wall Street provides the backgrounder information and stands as a huge, mute witness to the social scene impacted by the economic drama that goes on within. The actual story is related to two individuals, a Wall Street lawyer and the Copyist he hires. The story revolves round two economic systems, capitalism and communism. Concealed beneath the apparently meaningless if not mad behavior of Bartleby is a socio-spiritual message of utmost significance to the humankind. In the clash between these two ‘isms’ the important aspect of humanism should not be lost sight of and it must be preserved at all times and at all costs. In this story communism is beaten, the copyist ultimately dies of starvation, just as it happens with Russia when Communism first take over in the post-revolution era and when it finally collapses in the regime of Michael Gorbachev. Wall Street is the barometer of the economy: Wall Street has been the barometer of economy invariably, and it is so in the mid-1800s. In that period, in the absence of mechanization of photocopying, “Copyists” occupy a pivotal position to copy the information. They are also designated as scriveners or law clerks. This story relates to a Wall Street lawyer, who is not named in the story. He is doing brisk business and with the increase in the workload in the office, he appoints a new incumbent as “Copyist” in addition to the existing three, who are all of different temperaments. This new recruit, Bartleby does exceptionally well in the beginning, he is a cool and dignified person. One day, the lawyer asks Bartleby to review some copied documents aloud to verify their correctness. Bartleby instantly replies “I would prefer not to.” This shocks the lawyer as this is an act of insubordination. But again credits to Bartleby, he has been very polite even in his denial and the lawyer ignores his curt reply, nevertheless he has a question mark in his mind about the disposition of Bartleby. Lawyer’s first reaction to the refusal indicates what sort of a personality Bartleby is. Melville writes “I looked at him steadfastly. His face was leanly composed; his gray eye dimly calm. Not a wrinkle of agitation rippled him. Had there been the least uneasiness, anger, impatience or impertinence in his manner; in other words, had there been any thing ordinarily human about him, doubtless I should have violently dismissed him from the premises” (Para 25) He becomes curious. When he comes to know that Bartleby lives in his office, he is amazed. Melville writes, “Of a Sunday, Wall-street is deserted as Petra; and every night of every day it is emptiness. This building too, which of week-days hums with industry and life, at nightfall echoes with sheer vacancy, and all through Sunday is forlorn. And here Bartleby makes his home; sole spectator of solitude which he has seen all populous—a sort of innocent and transformed Marius brooding among the ruins of Carthage!”(Para, 88) He thinks that it is time for him to verify his character and antecedents. He questions Bartleby about his past, and this ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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