Bartleby, The Scrivener, By Melville

2062 Words9 Pages
Melville’s short story Bartleby, the Scrivener describes the narrator as an elderly old man that wishes to give details of the life of Bartleby the scrivener. Bartleby was a complete motionless human being who refuses to interact with the world around him. These actions shape the short story, picking at the viewer 's mind as to why Bartleby is disconnected from society. Bartleby worked in the dead letter office; therefore this may have triggered his inability to relate to the world around him. This motionless docility covered his inner troubles that he withheld from the world. The narrator states “I have known very many of them, professionally and privately, and if I pleased, could relate divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep” (Melville). In this statement he means that many persons might choose to smile as they find pleasure in reading “Bartleby” as much as those who might weep because they find the short story to be discouraging. In the 1970’s adaptation of this short story, the narrator is one of those sentimental souls who weeps for Bartleby. However, as the narrator eventually becomes speechless to Bartleby preferring not to do his work, he also brings to life the humor of Bartleby’s story. Unlike the sympathetic and sometimes humorous narration of the short story and 1970 adaptation, the 2001 adaptation of Bartleby’s story presents Bartleby as a terrifying and strange man. In Melville’s short story
Open Document