Comparing Poor Man's Pudding, Bartleby, Minister's Black Veil, or Masque of the Red Death
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Lack of Epiphany in Poor Man's Pudding, Bartleby, Minister's Black Veil, or Masque of the Red Death
In the Melville stories, "Poor Man's Pudding and Rich Man's Crumbs" and "Bartleby, the Scrivener", the narrators go through what appear to be life-changing experiences. Hawthorne offers a similar outline in "The Minister's Black Veil" as does Poe in "Masque of the Red Death". Yet, at the conclusion of each of these stories, there is no evidence to suggest that the narrator is affected by the differences (and perhaps similarities) of their lives and those less fortunate.
In "Poor Man's Pudding and Rich Man's Crumbs" The narrator has the opportunity to absorb, as much as an "outsider" can, the heartache and trials of the…show more content…
While he is bothered, disturbed and almost "haunted" by this curious employee there is no proof that the narrator is a changed man as a result of his experiences with Bartleby. The narrator does not even appear to see himself clearly, claiming to be a "man of peace" while practicing harsh and aggressive mannerisms and expressions such as: "I should have violently thrown him out" and words like "thrust", "advance" and "gorge". If the narrator fails to recognize who he is in the first place then there is little hope that he will be changed by the events relating to Bartleby. The narrator's willingness to tell his story, in my opinion, is not substantial evidence that there has been a deep conversion of social attitudes in this man so that he is affected by the lessons and the reality of humanity that was brought to his attention as a result of Bartleby.
Hawthorne offers a similar outline in "The Minister's Black Veil". The minister wears a veil for unknown reasons. Theories range from the minister's need to punish himself for some unknown sin to the minister's deliberate effort to force his congregation to acknowledge their own "veils". While the veil, and the feelings it stir among the town, create a palpable distance between the minister and his congregation there is really no change on the part of the minister. He may be