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Workers of the World : The Representation of Labor - Essay Example

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Workers of the World : The Representation of Labor

In the same capacity, time is money. Every effort that a business puts while considering time factors determines the productivity at the end. In relation to labour, Melville’s book “Bartleby, the Scrivener” clearly brings out the issue of time management through the elderly lawyer who hires copyists who have unique ways of working. The narrator is the elderly lawyer. The story introduces as to the business carried out being sale of mortgages, deeds and bonds to very wealthy people. The story tells how this successful lawyer on Wall Street hires Bartleby, a scrivener, to relieve the load of work experienced by his law firm. For two days, Bartleby executes his job with skill and gains the owner's confidence for his diligence. (Bergmann, 3). It is rather interesting to realize how things can take a wrong turn. The copyist begins demonstrating signs of mental imbalance by refusing to proofread his work, finally refusing to copy altogether. Instead, he stares out the window at a blank wall. (Bergmann, 3). After making a discovery about Bartleby’s condition, the lawyer readily allows him to get some rest. This is because the mental imbalance is due to eyestrain. However, due to time being lost, the owner of the business is on the move to replace Bartleby because he finds him so reluctant. Bartleby however refuses to leave. A second stratagem, moving to another office and leaving Bartleby behind, results in outrage from the new tenants, who charge the lawyer with responsibility for Bartleby's eccentricities. (Robertson, 10). In line with time management, it is very clear the lawyer wants copyists who are very fast in handling the job. Interestingly, his new copyist, Bartleby is a person of his own speed. For instance, when the lawyer demands for some work from Bartleby, he hesitantly replies, “I would prefer not to.” (Melville 12); this is a form of passive resistance according to the lawyer and to him his business will lag behind. In the story, the narrator introduces some other characters; Turkey, Nippers and Ginger nut. It is very clear that none of the correlates with the character as a reader might think. From what the narrator says, Turkey works best in the morning while Nippers grumbles over a sour stomach and plays with his desk. On the other hand, Nippers gets to work quietly in the afternoon while Turkey is red-faced and angry, making blots on his copies. As the lawyer points out, they relieve each other like guards. They are the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of the Wall Street world. (Melville 17). This scenario demonstrates the issue of time in that not everybody can manage something at the same time. It is good to acknowledge somebody’s efforts. Just like Turkey and Nippers who have very contradicting times to handle their work so does everyone. Interestingly, it is evident how they support and understand each other well whenever their behavior changes when on work. In the process of time management, conflicts are very common. Bartleby’s character symbolizes reluctance of a society to change. As earlier quoted when he said, “I would prefer not to”, it is evident that employer and employee relations are at war. Since the employer is only after his business, he fails to understand what really causes the behavior change in Bartleby. From the story, the copyist at some point prefers to watch the wall rather than work or talk to anyone. Even when other characters show their willing to offer help, they change with time. This is because everyone distances himself from Bartleby as his mental degradation worsens. Due to this separation, Bartleby loses his humanity in that he cannot correlate with other people freely. The narrator sees his ...Show more


Bartleby the Scrivener' by Melville
Bartleby, the Scrivener" is a story about the physical and mental degeneration of a man, an alienation of an individual from his own humanity (Bergmann, 2). …
Author : weststanley
Workers of the World : The Representation of Labor
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