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Bartleby- The Scrivener In Herman Melville's 'Bartleby the Scrivener', the author uses several themes to convey his ideas. The three most important themes are alienation, man's desire to have a free conscience, and man's desire to avoid conflict. Melville uses the actions of an eccentric scrivener named Bartleby, and the responses of his cohorts, to show these underlying themes to the reader. The first theme, alienation, is displayed best by Bartleby's actions. He has a divider put up so that the other scriveners cannot see him, while all of them have desks out in the open so they are full view of each other, as well as the narrator. This caused discourse with all of the others in the office. This is proven when Turkey exclaims, ' I think I'll just step behind his screen and black his eyes for him.'(p.2411) The other scriveners also felt alienated by the actions of the narrator. His lack of resolve when dealing with Bartleby angered them because they knew that if they would have taken the same actions, they would have been dismissed much more rapidly. The narrator admits to this when he said, ' With any other man I should have flown outright into a dreadful passion, scorned all further words, and thrust him ignominiously from my presence.' (2409) The next theme is man's desire to avoid conflict. The narrator avoids conflict on several occasions. The first time Bartleby refused to proofread a paper, the narrator simply had someone else do it instead of confronting him and resolving the issue right then. By ignoring the problem, he left the door open for more ...

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