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Emotional Reaction - Term Paper Example

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Summary
Herman Melville’s short story, “Bartleby the Scrivener,” is the account of an enigmatic copyist, Bartleby, who joins the employment of moderately successful lawyer on Wall Street. The lawyer is the Narrator of the piece. Bartleby is a loner, who initially works…
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Emotional Reaction

Download file to see previous pages... The structure of the story revolves round the interaction between Bartleby and the Narrator. While the story focuses on Bartleby’s perplexing character and the events leading to his tragic death, the character of the Narrator occupies a central place in the tale. The Narrator exerts a strong appeal on the reader. The reader emotionally identifies with the Narrator in his harmless complacence, his attempts to avoid open conflict and his deep sympathy towards Bartleby.
The Narrator makes his appearance as a moderately successful lawyer, who complacently goes about his routine business on Wall Street. It is easy for the reader to identify with his tone of gentle “self-deprecation” and his “conservative, cautious and prudent” personality (Sanderlin, 50). He frankly declares the “profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best” (Melville, 3). He is unambitious, a little snobbish (as indicated by the name-dropping of ‘John Jacob Aster’) and even-tempered. He is content to make money in his profession and to remain ensconced in his simple office, which he describes as “the cool tranquility of a snug retreat” (Melville, 3). The reader is willing to approve of his attitude towards life. Even if one could accuse the Narrator of smugness and of being “the complacent storyteller (who) begins by congratulating himself in his estimable character and circumstances” (Stempel and Stillians, 274), he comes across as eminently likeable. He is willing to poke fun at himself. He is also willing to tolerate Turkey with his “flighty recklessness,” (Melville, 6) blotted documents, split pens, upset sand-box and fits of insolence. Nipper’s suspicious visitors and fiery temper is also taken in his stride. He cannot deny any “appeal to my fellow-feeling” (Melville, 10). The Narrator is a sound man, who is content with his profession and the placid unfolding of his days. The reader develops a comradeship with him ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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