The Death of Humanity in The Overcoat and Bartleby the Scrivener

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Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener and Nikolai Gogol's The Overcoat are, at first glance, very similar in terms of plot, characterization and ideology. Both protagonists are scriveners who are portrayed as the exploited laborers in a capitalistic society.


The reader's reaction and emotive responses to the deaths of these gentlemen are different for each story because of the narrators.
Both stories, as discussed, are similar and these similarities will be dealt with swiftly. Akakievitch is described, in every way, as a second-class citizen, an exploited laborer at the mercy of an unjust society. "He was what is called a perpetual titular councilor, over which, as is well known, some writers make merry, and crack their jokes, obeying the praiseworthy custom of attacking those who cannot bite back" (Gogol, 1). His appearance matched his unfortunate status in life "-short of stature, somewhat pock-marked, red-haired, and short-sighted, with a bald forehead, wrinkled cheeks, and a complexion of the kind known as sanguine." (Gogol, 1)"His superiors treated him in coolly despotic fashion" (Gogol 2). Bartleby gives us the same impressions. The narrator saw him as "pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, and incurably forlorn!" (Melville, 5) and was also
employed as a scrivener for very little money. Both men die because they cannot function in a world in which they have no control, a world in which they feel isolated and mistreated. Akakievitch dies from a fever with which he is afflicted because his new overcoat is stolen, a coat for which he has sacrificed and obsessed over for many months. ...
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