Sunday, September 7, 2008

Is There Something Wrong with Bartleby?

This was the first time I have ever read this story and truly did not really understand it. I felt the author dragged and dragged the story on. I enjoyed the reading at times, but was expecting a more dramatic and understanding ending. Bartleby I believe is contradicting what society believes and expects of human beings, to have a job, by refusing or stating “I would prefer not to.” I know whenever I meet someone I usually ask them what they do for a living and from their response I try to form a grasp of what this person is like. I do not judge the person, but I try to better understand who they are.

Bartleby works at first, but after sometime his eyes start to fade and politely tells his employer he would prefer not to work. Of course his employer wants to fire him, but thinks about it and tells himself he will do it at a later time. His employer questions his employee’s mental health because he does not want to work, does not show emotion, and has no social interaction. I understand this is against the realm, but is there really anything wrong with that? Right away I even started questioning Bartley, thinking there must have been something in his past that is haunting him or he must have had a troubled past.

Eventually, Bartley is thrown into jail and for what; he did nothing against the law. He did not want to leave a building. So, why not throw him out physically and leave him alone. It is society’s definition of humanity, to have a job, interact with people, show emotion that makes others not understand him and put him in jail. So, is there anything wrong with Bartleby or is there something wrong with us for punishing someone who does not fit our definition of humanity?

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