Herman Melville Writing Styles in Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

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The setting of "Bartleby the Scrivener" is a crucial element in the story because it underscores Melville's concern about the effects of capitalism on American society. Significantly, the story is set on Wall Street in New York City, which had become the center of American financial and business life by the 1850s. The values of Wall Street are central to the story. The lawyer, who serves as the narrator, has an unabashed reverence for "the late John Jacob Astor," who was regarded as the most successful businessman of his time. The lawyer also reflects the values of Wall Street in his concern over such relatively superficial aspects of his employees as their appearance and dress. The work-oriented atmosphere of the office is devoid of friendliness and a sense of community. Indeed, the environment of Wall Street itself, Melville points out, is so business-oriented that after working hours it...

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This section contains 757 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street Study Guide
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