Melville’s Descriptions of the Oppression of Workers

Imagery is perhaps the most effective way to emphasize a theme. Ironically, Herman Melville chooses to use blankness as his image of choice, and while at first glance, the lack of something may not seem to be a powerful symbol, Melville’s application of it to the common people makes it quite relevant. In “Tartarus of … Read moreMelville’s Descriptions of the Oppression of Workers

Walled in Street

In Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” the setting contributes to the tone, the style, the theme and particularly the characterization of Bartleby, a scrivener working for the narrator. The parallelism between the setting and the attributes of Bartleby is suggested in the description of the prison yard, where Bartleby is confined. When Bartleby is imprisoned … Read moreWalled in Street

The Dehumanization of Bartleby

The narrator and Bartleby – principle characters of Herman Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener – are opposite sides of the same coin. Their perspectives and connections to life seem to be similar. However, the narrator thrives in the post-revolutionary, post-industrial, capitalistic society. Bartleby, oppositely, wastes away in it. Bartleby’s humanity is stripped away from him which … Read moreThe Dehumanization of Bartleby

Rebels and Non-comformists in the Short Stories of Herman Melville

In many of the short stories written by the American author Herman Melville (1819-1891), the main characters tend to exhibit some form of rebellion, usually against the normal dictates of society or against those who are in power. This trait is most often associated with the non-conformist, a person who refuses to conform to a … Read moreRebels and Non-comformists in the Short Stories of Herman Melville

Bartleby the Scrivener: The Painful Extraction of Genuine Compassion

Though the title may be Bartleby the Scrivener, Herman Melville’s short story is much more concerned with its nameless narrator than its title character. Addressing one man’s concept of himself and how that concept must be reevaluated when challenged by disruption, Bartleby depicts a man who misinterprets and rationalizes his own life so it is … Read moreBartleby the Scrivener: The Painful Extraction of Genuine Compassion

Melville on Inequality: A Study of the Shorter Fiction

There is, perhaps, no other American author whose work has been so hotly debated than Herman Melville. The white whale at the center of his most famous work, a juxtaposition of gender in America, an odd scrivener, and his much discussed story of a slave mutiny in “Benito Cereno”; the meaning behind Melville’s work has … Read moreMelville on Inequality: A Study of the Shorter Fiction