Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street | Critical Essay by Robert E. Abrams

This literature criticism consists of approximately 15 pages of analysis & critique of Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street.
This section contains 4,202 words
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Critical Essay by Robert E. Abrams

SOURCE: "'Bartleby' and the Fragile Pageantry of the Ego," in ELH, Vol. 45, No. 3, Fall, 1978, pp. 488-500.

In the following essay, Abrams contrasts Bartleby's acceptance of his involuntary and subconscious motivation with the social and "willful hypocrisies" of the narrator.

Probing the "mysterious" wellsprings of preference and motive, Melville observes in Pierre that "no mere mortal who has … gone down into himself will ever pretend that his slightest … act originates in his own defined identity." An innocuous but involuntary habit, for example, can sneak up on one unawares. Man's "texture," writes Melville, "is very porous, and things assumed upon the surface, at last strike in" and become his own; "insensibly" his mind is "disposed" to perform them. More importantly, the mind itself, with its peculiar tendencies and processes "independent of me" and yet "going on in me...

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This section contains 4,202 words
(approx. 15 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Robert E. Abrams
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