He Threw Them Deuces Up and Then Misplaced Them, Someone Might Have Stole Them

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So "Bartleby the Scrivener."

I could have written this about the effects of alcohol or Bartleby's ghostly qualities, but I am going to make this a rant about the narrator.

The narrator is infuriating. Despite Bartleby's apparent passivity, it is the narrator that is passive.
So many time he makes excuses for himself for why he never psychically or even verbally responds to Bartleby's refusals.

Page 31: "There was something about Bartleby that not only strangely disarmed me, but in a wonderful manner touched and disconcerted me."
Page 37: "Poor fellow! thought I, he means no mischief."
Page 38: "If I turn him away, the chances are he will fall in with some less indulgent employer, and then he will be rudely treated, and perhaps driven forth miserably to starve."

I was discussing this text with an English professor today, and he explained the time period that this text responds to. Thoreau's article about resisting the tax for the Mexican War discussed peaceful resistance and the idea that you cannot force everyone to bend to your whim. This actually makes the narrator and Bartleby's actions a little more understandable.

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This page contains a single entry by PatrickSchober published on September 21, 2010 11:43 AM.

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