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Keeping Focus

"My chambers were up stairs at No. -- Wall-street."
~paragraph 5 of Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street"

I thought this was an interesting detail--the fact that the address number was left out. This can have several meanings and purposes, I'm sure, but the one that stuck out for me was that it shows this narrator isn't really who we need to focus on as the readers. Yes, the narrator is important, but he isn't as important to this story as the man he is telling about. Our focus is supposed to stay on Bartleby, just as the narrator's does. In leaving out certain details about the narrator, Melville manages to get this point across. It doesn't really matter where the narrator lives exactly, because he is not the main focus.

Other Thoughts on "Bartleby, the Scrivener"

Comments (1)

Jamie Grace:

When I was reading, I noticed that and wondered why but couldn't figure anything out. That is a really good idea of why he left it out. Thanks!

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