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“bartleby, the Scrivener” and “the Man I Killed”

Essay by   •  June 19, 2017  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,227 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,482 Views

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“Bartleby, The Scrivener” and “The Man I Killed”

Bartleby was a very quiet and eccentric man who was obviously disconnected from his and everyone else life. He started out as an efficient and hard working employee but soon turned into a depressed non-functioning person. At some point during his employment as a scrivener he probably fell into a deep psychosis. There must have been a traumatic episode that left Bartleby in a mild state of mental illness before he started work.

Throughout the story small clues and facts about Bartleby come to life and we begin to figure out that something is amiss. I think the lawyer should have done a better job of interviewing Bartleby before was hired. During an interview you can ask and get all the answers you want instead of waiting until your employee is dead. Am I right? Or am I right? A person with mental illness will show unusual or bizarre behavior, as well as difficulty with social interaction and impairment in carrying out daily life activities. If this doesn’t scream out “Bartleby” I don’t know what does.

Anyway, Bartleby made an interesting character in the story. At times when you read the quote, “I prefer not to” you couldn’t help but laugh, and the more he said it the funnier it got. It would have been hysterical if that’s all he said but I’m not a writer.

At the beginning of the story you get a good idea of the lawyer’s personality and feelings. He seemed to be a very simple but hard working man. He obviously was very patient and puts up with a lot from his employees. His friends call him a safe man and he leads his life with the least amount of confrontation. He believes that the easiest way of life is the best. Meaning that he loves life but is an unambitious lawyer and that’s fine with him.

For Bartleby, working for the lawyer would have been a good fit for him if he hadn’t gone crazy. Bartleby was very similar to Turkey and Nipper, who had their own unique set of problems. I think he even liked little Ginger nut as well. I believe that the lawyer did his best in helping Bartleby but was untrained in terms of recognizing mental illness.

It was nice to feel the compassion that the lawyer had for Bartleby towards the end of the story. It takes a really compassionate and loving man to want to help people like Bartleby. It was touching when the lawyer replied “What miserable friendliness and loneliness are here revealed! His poverty is great; but his solitude, how horrible!” He felt is loneliness, poverty, and unfriendliness with great pity. However, the feeling of solitude to the lawyer was the worse fate that Bartleby could have. Interestingly though, I believe Bartleby loved his solitude and that is where he was able to live his life the way he wanted to.

The brick wall represents the end of the line for Bartleby and that his life was a dead end street with a wall in front of it. These types of objects when stared at can put someone into a daze or trance. Maybe the wall induced some of his hallucinations and eccentric behaviors? Either way when he had his nervous breakdown his mind told him not to leave the office. It was probably the only safe place that his mind was comfortable with.

Bartleby 's arrest and imprisonment made his willingness to live shut down his brain. At the end the lawyer tries to relieve his conscience by telling Bartleby that it wasn’t him to blame for him being in prison. He also tries to make situation seem better by replying about the sky and grass in front of him. Bartleby just replies; “I know where I am.” This was his way of stating that he has found a place to be and will die. The ending is sad because the lawyer feels that he didn’t do enough to save poor Bartleby. He realizes that maybe Bartleby’s old job at the post office was the cause to his mental illness and knowing that he could help solve the rest of the mental health puzzle and save Bartleby.

Word: Intrigued – Since the time that Bartleby arrived at the office was the center of intrigue for everyone. Turkey, Nipper, and Ginger nut were all intrigued by the disrespect and eccentricities



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