Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 39 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street.
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Individualism/Peer Pressure

One of the primary themes of the story involves the pressure toward conformity in American business life that inhibits the creative development of the individual. It is not coincidental that the story is set on Wall Street, which is the center of American financial and business affairs. By choosing legal scriveners as his subject, Melville emphasizes the intellectually stultifying atmosphere of the business world, since scriveners create nothing of their own but instead mechanically copy the ideas and work of others In fact, the lawyer is initially attracted to Bartleby because he seems to lack a strong personality and independent will, making him seem like a model employee. Significantly, when Bartleby resists, he is either unable or unwilling to explain the reason for his discontent Perhaps Bartleby's ability to think independently has been so damaged that he does not even have the words to express his...

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This section contains 711 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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Short Stories for Students
Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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