Katelyn BrownEnglish 103 – XJohn Marsh9/19/2005
The Lawyer and His Scrivener: Different People or Adverse Aspects of Personality?
“Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity!”While it is easy to see why most critics who read Herman Melville’s “Bartleby,the Scrivener” believe that Melville created two opposing characters to represent all of humanity, a more close and careful reading suggests that he created the two characters torepresent opposing aspects of an individual human’s personality. This argument is rarelyacknowledged as a possibility of Melville’s underlying meaning; however, without this possibility, readers might not realize that they, themselves, are both the lawyer and thescrivener battling in a world of social agendas and financial superiority. To prove that thelawyer and Bartleby represent opposing aspects of personality in regards to well-being, perspective, motivational memories, and attitude prevalence,
this essay will observe mainthemes and points of conflict throughout the story and verify the argument that Melvilledoes indeed describe a single person.After reading and reevaluating critical analysis’ of Melville’s short story“Bartleby, the Scrivener,” I believe that most readers have been misguided into thinkingthat the narrator and Bartleby represent two contrasting types of people in society. Criticsoften believe that the narrator of this story could be characterized as the hard-working or good Christian portion of society, while Bartleby represents the unmotivated, even lazy portion. Contrary to this belief, the lawyer and the scrivener represent two opposingattitudes toward self-preservation within an individual. For example, the lawyer