Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street | Critical Essay by Milton Kornfeld

This literature criticism consists of approximately 7 pages of analysis & critique of Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street.
This section contains 1,807 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
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Critical Essay by Milton Kornfeld

SOURCE: "Bartleby and the Presentation of Self in Everyday Life," in Arizona Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 1, Spring, 1975, pp. 51-6.

In the following essay, Kornfeld claims that Bartleby is distinguished by his refusal to correspond to social roles.

Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener" has been read as an attack on capitalism, an allegory of the frustrated artist in a commercial society, a study of passive resistance, an expression of melancholy, the absurd, the perverse, the irrational—the catalog is exhausting and seemingly endless. Some of this is helpful in elucidating the story, even useful from the teacher's perspective since "Bartleby" is a perennial favorite of anthologizers. But a problem of many of the interpretations is a tendency toward the inverted reification of Bartleby as a character. The difficulty and the temptation of trying to explain him subtly enough reinforce the habit of...

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This section contains 1,807 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Milton Kornfeld
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