Bartleby the Scrivener is a short story written by Herman Melville in 1853 It tells the story of a scrivener, Bartleby, who works in a law firm but gradually refuses to abide by the rules and regulations of the workplace, leading to his dismissal and eventual reclusion. In the story, Bartleby is portrayed as a sort of passive-aggressive anarchist, indifferently but methodically and decisively refusing to cooperate or undertake any tasks assigned by the lawyer at the law firm he works for.
This story broaches a number of interesting topics, such as power dynamics, alienation in the workplace, and the conflict between freedom and authority. With such a rich thematic depth, there are many potential topics that could be explored in an essay on Bartleby the Scrivener. Here are five examples of essay topics that could be used in an essay on the subject:
1. The Themes of Power and Isolation in Bartleby the Scrivener: Analyzing the power dynamics between the lawyer and Bartleby in this story, and exploring how the manipulation of power subtly isolates the character of Bartleby.
2. Confronting Freedom Through Refusal: Examining the concept of freedom in Bartleby the Scrivener, and how Bartleby's refusal to perform his job is his own way of expressing a sense of freedom.
3. Alienation in the Workplace: Discussing how the alienation of Bartleby in his workplace increases as the story progresses, and how this relates to modern alienation in the workplace due to imposed rules and regulations.
4. Alienation of an Individual in an Oppressive System: Examining how the character of Bartleby is an allegory for the alienation of an individual in an oppressive system, and how his refusal to comply with the expectations of the system eventually leads to his downfall.
5. The Conflict of Authority and Freedom: Exploring the conflict between authority and freedom in Bartleby the Scrivener, as demonstrated by the power dynamics between the lawyer and Bartleby, and how this conflict is ultimately resolved.
These five essay topics are just a few of the many potential avenues of exploration that could be taken when writing an essay on the story of Bartleby the Scrivener. With its in-depth exploration of themes such as power dynamics, alienation in the workplace, and freedom versus authority, the story provides ample opportunity for further exploration and examination.