September 8, 2004

Reflections on Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener

Is there a bad guy in Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener? This was the question that kicked off my blogging days.

After reading this short story, I have decided that Bartleby's constantly avoiding any task he was asked to undertake, (he always says, "I would prefer not to"); perhaps DOES NOT make his a BAD guy, but an inactive, passive guy. And as the reader continues, Bartleby's resistance to the task at hand becomes spellbinding: one wants to read on, one wants to know why Bartleby won't, and one wants to know the outcome of the story. Bartleby is hard to ignore; thus is his resistance.

Posted by KatieAikins at September 8, 2004 3:49 PM

I agree with the fact that this does not make him a "bad guy" but someone that makes situations more difficult than pleasent.

Posted by: Janice Antal at September 8, 2004 4:02 PM

Okay... let me twist the question around. Is there a "good guy" in this story?

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at September 8, 2004 4:40 PM

I still think that the narrator is a decent man and Bartelby was clinically depressed. I don't have time to elaborate but he acknowledges that Bartleby has a disease of the soul.

Posted by: Linda Fondrk at September 8, 2004 7:33 PM

I don't think there is a "good" guy. All characters have some kind of hang-up, which makes them all more realistic.

Posted by: Amanda at September 8, 2004 9:55 PM

Sometimes the important question isn't whether there is a hero or a villian ... sometimes the question is more like "what characteristic is bad?" and is preference really such a bad thing? Even if its preference to do nothing?

Posted by: Geddysgal at September 8, 2004 11:06 PM

Is preference to do nothing ever acceptable in the work place? His passive preference is what makes him bad for in the work place. However, that is a good thought; is preference to do nothing such a bad thing?

Posted by: Katie Aikins at September 12, 2004 5:35 PM

I didn't think there was a bad guy in this story. I believe that everyone has their own characteristics, but I don't think the characters are either good or bad. It is their personality that is different.

Posted by: Nabila Uddin at September 13, 2004 10:56 PM