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Analysis - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Course Date “Bartleby the Scrivener” and “Young Goodman Brown”: Character and Community At first reading, Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” appear to share no common ground…
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Download file to see previous pages Melville’s story is a tragedy which ends in the death of Bartleby. Young Goodman Brown lives to a very old age, fathering many children and grandchildren. Melville’s narrator is Bartleby’s employer who is a lawyer. The reader sees everything through the narrator’s eyes, and a large part of the story is devoted to building up the character of the narrator. In contrast, Hawthorne uses the third-person point-of-view, in which the narrator stands outside the story. It is only Young Goodman Brown who is the focus of the tale. However, closer reading shows an essential similarity in the two short stories. Bartleby the Scrivener and Young Goodman Brown, the eponymous protagonists of the stories, are both young men struggling with the power of the environment/ community in which they must exist and function. The plot of both the stories is based on the background of community. It is the environment and the community which dictates the denouement of the tales and plays a pivotal role in the actions of the main characters. Although Bartleby the scrivener and Young Goodman Brown belong to markedly different environments, and experience contrasting community relationships, they both react in the same way to their situations. Bartleby the scrivener and Young Goodman Brown belong to markedly different environments. ...
What is essentially just a single room is partitioned by glass folding-doors to divide the space into a private area for the narrator and an open area for his three clerks. The narrator, with appealing tongue-in-cheek humor, states that the view from his chamber is “deficient in what landscape painters call life” (Melville 7). One end of the room faces the white interior wall of a ventilation shaft, while the other end looks out on the face of a nearby brick wall. Bartleby’s little cubicle has a window with no view at all. This is a stifling environment which lacks light and air. Melville skillfully creates an environment in which Bartleby is essentially alone, even in the middle of the crowds and bustling humanity which goes its way in the city. Young Goodman Brown’s rural environment is markedly different from Bartleby’s city. His story is set in Salem village. With this setting, Hawthorne immediately emphasizes the Puritanical background of his story. Salem is the scene of the infamous Witch Trials of 1692-1693, in which 26 people were executed in an eruption of mass hysteria. The narrative begins and ends in a placid village setting. A pretty Faith sees him off at the start of the story and, at the conclusion, the minister meditates on his sermon, Deacon Gookin is at prayer, Goody Cloyse teaches a child its catechism, and Faith is filled with happiness at his return. In the middle comes the black forest, in which it is easy to indulge in vice under the anonymity granted by darkness. Hawthorne uses this device as a means of highlighting the hypocrisy which was a typical feature of the Puritan philosophy. Bartleby’s world places him “among rich men’s bonds and mortgages and title-deeds” (Melville 7), while Young ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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