Infographic Template Galleries

Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 Thoreaus "Walden" and Transcendentalism in Melvilles "Bartleby The Scrivener" "I would prefer not to" Bartlebys most famous words are: I would prefer not to. This is his answer to everything that his boss, the unnamed lawyer, asks him to do. At first, he will not help to examine papers, later he refuses to write and finally he refuses to leave the offices of his employer, where he has decided to live. Thoreau would definitely approve of the way that Bartlebyrejects the social norm to do as your employer asks. He does not live there in luxury. He has no bed or a comfortable sofa and lives in all simplicity. He has very few possessions and he seems to eat next to nothing. Bartlebys lifestyle is fairly similar to that of Thoreau at Walden Pond. He even eats just enough to keep himself warm, but not too much. The lawyers office is just as isolated as the wooden hut at Walden Pond. Located on Wall Street, the hub of capitalism and therefore consumerism, the offices are completely deserted after working hours. So far, Melville seems to have incorporated Thoreaus ideas into Bartlebys character. The lawyer also lives up to Thoreaus ideals. Faced with the dilemma of getting rid of Bartleby or not, he deliberates the matter and makes a choice that he thinks is best for himself. Even if that means moving office to get rid of Bartleby because Bartleby would prefer not to leave the office. The only point of criticism that Thoreau might have is that the lawyer wants to rid himself of the scrivener because his odd presence is bad for business. The lawyers consumerism and desire for money prompt his choices. He could have chosen to risk losing money by putting up with Bartleby instead. However, when Bartleby is thrown into prison, the lawyer makes another choice that he thinks is right, even though all his colleagues would not agree with him. The lawyer pays a warden to feed and look after Bartleby, even though he has caused his former employer so much inconvenience because the lawyer thinks that this is best. Bartleby dies as a result of his I would prefer not to mantra. He refuses to eat and is eventually found dead in a corner of the prison yard by the lawyer during a visit. All his good intentions to look after Bartleby in prison were of no avail. Bartleby has taken Transcendentalist rejection a step to far. This could be perceived as a criticism on Melvilles part. On the other hand, it could not. Setting his story on wall Street, which is all about finance, could also be seen as ironic. Bartleby who possessed next to nothing, lived in an area where making money is paramount. This could be Melvilles comment on consumerism and capitalism or it could not. Maybe it is up to the reader to decide what is right or not, just as Thoreau would have liked us to do.
Create Your Free Infographic!