Comparison of Herman Melville’s ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’ and Rebecca Harding Davis’ ‘Life in the Iron Mills’

English Exam – II Bartleby the Scrivener & A ; Life in the Iron Mills

The two books up for analysis are Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener and Life in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis. Neither work can be called a Novella, as both are short narratives. Explicit similarities and differences highlight the superficial facet of both narratives. The more inexplicit 1s underline the existent meat of the narratives. Both plants were produced at around the same period of the late 19Thcentury, and both feature secret plans both engrossing, yet unconventional, but modern-day ( in the instance of Bartleby, the Scrivener ) .

In order to compose a comparative analysis, required are comparings between Bartleby and Hugh as workers, their on the job conditions in their several occupations, and the moral duty of other characters in the narratives towards the several two supporters.

To get down with, the scene of both the narratives plays an of import portion in explicating the occupation and the on the job conditions each supporter faces. Herman Melville’s narrative takes topographic point in the bustling New York City, which is still energetic during the 19Thursdaycentury. [ 1 ] The scene in Life in the Iron Mills was influenced by the Millss nearby in Wheeling, Virginia on the Ohio River during the mill universe. Another major influence is the on-going Industrial Revolution. [ 2 ]

Life in the Iron Mills tells us the narrative about Hugh Wolfe, a immature laborer in the Iron Mills of Wheeling. [ 3 ] Hugh is a hapless Welsh descendant who turns hog Fe into shaped Fe by a procedure called puddling. [ 4 ] Along with several other laborers, that’s his chief occupation at that place. But, Hugh is besides extremely gifted in the art of sculpting, and in his trim clip, sculpts a adult female out of Korl, the garbage from Fe smelting. His cousin, Deborah-who loves him dearly-brings him dinner every twenty-four hours, abandoning her ain repast. She is a kyphosis, and the other workers make merriment of her relationship with Hugh. Hugh’s working conditions weren’t precisely excessively habitable. As was the ‘custom’ during the Industrial revolution, immigrants working in mills and warehouses would be exploited by the proprietors. Low paying occupations, atrocious life conditions merely contributed to their wretchedness. Hugh’s life in the Iron Millss was no different. He had to labor twenty-four hours in and twenty-four hours out, with hardly any clip to even eat. In all the ‘darkness’ environing his life, the lone beginning of ‘light’ was his Korl figure, which distinguished itself from his other creative activity, the petroleum, dark Iron from the smelter.

Bartleby’s universe is New York City circa 1860. And in arrant contrast, though, during around the same clip as Life in the Iron Mills, he works for a attorney on the dining Wall Street of Manhattan. The difference between Bartleby’s and Hugh’s working conditions is so significant, that, at first expression, it’s about farcical how Bartleby refuses to make a batch of work tasked to him, in malice of his grade-A on the job conditions. Bartleby is a copyist, a duplicator, who, at first completes his undertaking with extreme dedication. His eating wonts are curious. He merely eats snacks-specifically Ginger-nut cakes- and skips dinner and tiffin wholly. His polite refusal to make a little undertaking intrigues the attorney, and he bit by bit discovers that Bartleby’s work rate diminishes to the point where he literally doesn’t make any work, and merely sits around the lawyer’s office.

One point which can be made entirely for the comparing of both narratives is the American Dream. Though it’s non the chief subject in either of the books, I can’t aid but define Hugh’s actions to be entirely for the intent of accomplishing the American dream, to be affluent, to do a name for himself. As for Bartleby, he works in the metropolis of eternal chances – New York. It’s Ironic that the American dream is closer within his appreciation than it is in the instance of Hugh in the Iron Mills, and yet he does naught about it. But so once more, that can be explained excessively, after the disclosures at the terminal of the book. Both are wholly different sorts of workers. Hugh, a hard-working yet unsated one, whereas, Bartleby a mentally affected one, which makes his work sloppy as clip base on ballss.

Endings of both narratives are rather similar. Both terminal on a dark note, and that’s where a major point of comparing comes into light. Bartleby, due to being a liability on the writer is arrested and jailed. The attorney isn’t precisely excessively excited to hold put him behind bars, but he did it anyway to protect his concern. At the terminal of the narrative, the attorney visits Bartleby in gaol for the 2nd clip, merely to happen him dead. One can comprehend his decease to be induced by the lawyer’s actions, and the same can be said about Hugh Wolfe. Deborah steals a affluent man’s billfold while he is sing the Iron Millss and custodies it over to Hugh. Not cognizing what to make with it, he finally succumbs in his greed for money. When the adult male finds out about the larceny, he has Hugh arrested and jailed. This causes Hugh to cut down his wrist one twenty-four hours, and commit self-destruction. In my personal sentiment, the deceases of the supporters in both narratives would non be straight, and intently because of the actions of other character. And as such, I would believe that Hugh’s decease was caused by his ain greed, or selfishness. Although Deborah was the 1 who stole the money, Hugh had a pick to either take it, or garbage. He took the cheque, and his dream of holding a better life, of being in a better societal standing caused his greed to acquire the better of him. Sing that a big amount of money was stolen, Mitchell evidently wouldn’t let that to travel unnoticed and unpunished. His moral duty towards Hugh is small, or none. It is merely just that he wished to see Hugh punished for the larceny of his money. Though, if merely he would hold known that Deborah was the 1 who stole the cheque, so likely he would hold been wroth towards her alternatively of Hugh. The lone mistake Mitchell committed was the misdirection of his finger. Possibly, the narrative would hold ended otherwise if the larceny would hold been exhaustively investigated.

In the instance of Bartleby, I would believe that the attorney was non responsible for his decease. As the narrative tells us, Bartleby had started to go a load on the attorney. He spent all of his clip, rather literally excessively, in the lawyer’s office making nil. His clients remarked upon that, and the attorney realised that Bartleby was bad for concern. And that is merely just of him. He has no moral duty towards prioritising Bartleby’s well-being alternatively of his concern. He shifted his office, but the workers still complained of Bartleby, and eventually he had to-albeit reluctantly-turn him in to the constabulary. Bartleby died in the gaol. The attorney hears a rumor about Bartleby holding worked in a dead missive office, and possibly Bartleby was mentally affected due to the highly sad nature of his work at that place. And possibly that does warrant his actions in the lawyer’s office, but at the terminal of the twenty-four hours, the lawyer’s concern was at interest. I would believe that the attorney was in no manner morally responsible for Bartleby’s decease.

To analyze, are three literary plants – The narration of Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass and the Scarlet Letter. All three plants highlight their supporters in assorted ways, utilizing different subjects and scenes. They were written in around the same clip period as good, the late 1840s and 50s.

The chief supporters have an unconventional support for some portion of their life, and this is most frequently reflected in their narratives. In the instance of Frederick Douglass and Henry Thoreau, this unconventional life of theirs signifiers the footing for their narrations. After reading all three books, the readers can do out the fact that all three supporters disagree with some facets of their society, and it’s this dissension that forms the footing for this analysis. Henry Thoreau is repulsed by the philistinism in the society so, and Douglass strongly disagrees with bondage and its societal, economic and moral effects, whereas, Hester Prynne is shunned, or deemed as an castaway by the society. This is the major similarity between all three supporters – Isolation from conventional society.

Frederick Douglass’s narrative is set in the America of the early 19Thursdaycentury. Before and during the American civil war, when bondage was rampant the state. Douglass was likely the boy of Captain Anthony, a white slave proprietor, who was besides his first proprietor. Throughout his life as a slave Douglass is looked down upon every bit inhumanely as possible by his white slave Masterss. He is inhumanely treated, crush, and deprived of the basic necessities in life. From his really birth, he is labelled as a ‘slave’ , throughout a long period of his life, he remains one. He is a alone character in his narrative, as he doesn’t tantrum in the regular description of both the societal standings at that clip – The slaved inkinesss, and the free citizens. He is non free merely in his head, and non physically. And he takes an involvement in reading and composing, after he learns from Sophia Auld. He takes it upon himself to go on reading and authorship after Sophia cruelly stops learning him. Most slaves weren’t literate so, and that’s what set him apart from them. The changeless mistreatment he suffers sets off a flicker in him, a flicker of deep hatred against bondage, it leads him to invent programs to get away, to happen his manner to more broad parts of the state. He creates his ain chances. Opportunities to make, and increase consciousness about anti-slavery. He becomes an facile author and speechmaker, entering his life in his narrative, his beliefs and his ideas about the immoralities prevalent in the society. Douglass, exerting his new-found accomplishment becomes actively involved in the abolitionist motion, making what his deepest want was to.

When comparing Douglass to Hester Prynne and Thoreau, the readers can notices that there is no physical limitation applied to the latter two supporters. It’s instead societal and psychological. But like Douglass, Hester Prynne excessively does non suit in the society. She married an aged adult male in England who sent her to America, where she lived in a puritan colony in Boston. The ground why she is held like an castaway in the society is because she had an matter with a immature curate – Arthur Dimmesdale, and had a kid out of marriage. The society frowned upon this incidence and Hester Prynne was an castaway, who was punished for her wickedness and secretiveness. She had to have on a Scarlet colored missive ‘A’ on her chest. It was a symbol of criminal conversation, one which she bore throughout her clip in the society. She was ne’er a regular citizen, and lived her life in isolation in little bungalow with her girl Pearl. When her hubby surfaced in the Puritan society, he was malevolent towards her former lover Dimmesdale, which finally caused them to be after to fly to Europe and settle at that place as household. But before they could make so, Dimmesdale kills himself due to the torment caused by Chillingworth ( who wanted retaliation against him ) . [ 5 ] Hester and Pearl do get away the society, but merely after Chillingworth’s decease a twelvemonth subsequently.

As a consequence of her experiences in the Puritan society, she becomes a sort and compassionate figure, caring the hapless and wounded. Her charity work finally makes her a mother-figure in the society, and when she returns back to Boston from Europe, the vermilion missive which she still wears is no longer a mark of shame.

Like Douglass, Hester contemplated about the immoralities nowadays in the society, the intervention of adult females in general, and the society’s mentality towards her. She made a better individual out of herself as a consequence, and forged a better hereafter for herself and her girl merely like Douglass did.

Henry David Thoreau lives an stray life for two old ages. Similar to Hester Prynne, he is reasonably cut off from civilisation in Walden Pond, except for the occasional visitants ( and the fact that Concord is of walking distance ) . The ground why Thoreau went to populate in this hermit of his is because he wanted to see more of his life. Unlike, Douglass and Hester Prynne, his isolation wasn’t inflicted on him due to social norms and conventions. He chose to populate in isolation to happen a new side of the society. Henry’s beliefs were largely critical towards the so modern society. The philistinism nowadays in the society exhaustively irked him, and he considered touchable assets and money to be the immoralities in the society. He believed that every stuff Muse was a load for the society and that a life in hermit was the purest signifier of contact with the nature. His about biased unfavorable judgment was non merely limited to money and wealth, but besides to engineering.

The chief similarity between the three supporters is their shared beliefs towards the social ailments. Although, their issues are different, they point towards a better version of a society in their head.

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