Return to Text David Bosworth interestingly critiques the narrator's very assumption that Bartleby is "tempermentally 'aloof,'" noting that "the narrator conveniently forgets here that, as soon as Bartleby was hired, he was the one who concealed his new employee behind a folding screen—a work station from which the man could be summoned by voice at will but where his uncheerful countenance and inhumane duties would otherwise remain hidden from view" New York: Routledge, The phrase is, we might say, regurgitated, burped, repeated, in the text, and this calls to mind the impossibility of digestion and satiation for Bartleby.
We are prepared for this early on by references to his pallid complexion, his withdrawal from social life and refusal to take anything- food, money and even the offer of human empathy.
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There is nothing to indicate that the Bohemian writer was at all acquainted with the work of Melville, who remained largely forgotten until some time after Kafka's death.
Themes[ edit ] Bartleby the Scrivener explores the theme of isolation in American life and the workplace through actual physical and mental loneliness. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Bartleby quickly sees that the narrator has only called him forth to ask him questions about himself so that he might better know the nature of his malady—Bartleby retreats into silence and negative preferences accordingly.
A Study of his life and vision. By keeping everything and everyone out, the anorexic is able to achieve a state of ascetic purity, but this purity leads ultimately to death and is quite literally short-lived.