Conformity Vs. Rebellion (Bartleby The Scrivener)

769 words - 4 pages

Conformity and rebellion are evil twins that humanity has been nourishing since the beginning of civilization. As we conform to the social norms that surround us everyday, we are trapped inside of this overwhelming system where we easily lose ourselves as individuals. On the other hand, the urges of rebellion that live in our ego compel us to break from the state of our bondages. Yet, our superegos are trying to keep us in a reasonable threshold, and enable us to stay in the system. As a result, people are fighting a constant internal battle of conformity versus rebellion. As Herman Melville describes in his story "Bartleby the Scrivener," humanity is hopelessly struggling between conformity ...view middle of the document...

" The images of entrapment are clear, that the inescapable prison walls trap any living souls inside of their boundaries. However, to Bartleby it is just another empty place, for his soul has already died long ago. The walls only keep off the outside world from him rather than restricting the already seized motions of Bartleby's. It is the place where Bartleby chooses to escape from all, and rest for an eternity "with kings and counselors."Images of death come as a natural companion of entrapment. The character of Bartleby appears ghostly and lifeless. He is "a motionless young man," who works quietly like a machine in his dark and confined space. Unlike the way the narrator describes the other three employees of his, Bartleby has no anger, no ambition, and almost nothing human about him at all. The "idly cadaverous" response, "I would prefer not to" from Bartleby, implies that this man's spirit has died long before his physical death. There is nothing in this world excites him or motivates him, leaving him only dreaded depression. This emotional emptiness must drive Bartleby to insanity, to the extent that he gives up all life burdens including basic biological functions such as eating and...

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