Books and Movies Reviews

Bartlebly The Significance of The Wall

The world is made up of walls. Skyscrapers, houses, schools, theatres and offices are all just a collection of walls with a roof over them. Everything we see has a wall. In addition to their literary function, in Bartleby the idea of the symbolism of the wall is continuous throughout the text. Herman Melville's short story is rife with images that represent the ever-present Wall as more then just a barrier between rooms. For example, the office that the story is set in is in New York City, on Wall Street. The Walls symbolizes the proverbial "end" of Bartleby's existence. It also symbolizes the end of what Bartleby can "see", the limits of his own life and how those limits are his downfall. The Wall also symbolizes the end of the narrators' perspective on Bartleby, the human enigma. The Wall is a symbol for everything that Bartleby is as a person.
Bartleby is a human enigma. He is described atfirst as having an insatiable appetite for his work, copying folders as if "long famishing for something to copy". However, he began to fade, in a way. He would say "I prefer not to", and his work began to suffer. He also took to staring emptily at the wall outside of his office window. The wall was blank, uninteresting, "commanded at present no view at all"; however he just started at it as though seeing some deeper meaning to its existence. Bartleby's actions symbolize his decent into death. He begins to fade out slowly, quietly. Atfirst his work slacks off, and then he begins to just stay at the office, staring at the wall that represents what so haunts him. Finally, when the narrator is forced to move out of the office to try to get away from Bartleby, Bartleby stays and is thrown in jail, where he dies. Throughout all of this, Bartleby is fixated on the Wall. It symbolizes his end getting closer, the Wall separating life and death that is closing in on him. Even in hi…

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