Bartleby, The Scrivener, And Franz Kafka 's The Metamorphosis

1254 Words Oct 23rd, 2015 6 Pages
Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener” and Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” both use figurative language and symbolism to depict the theme of Alienation. Melville’s and Kafka’s text share parallel rhetorical language nonetheless they use different narrative techniques.; having the same resolution to the conflict; the death of the protagonist.

Alienation, is one of the underlying themes of Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener”, since it revolves around Bartleby; the protagonist of the story. The moment Bartleby is hired as a copyist; he is asked to do the regular task of a copyist and proof-read his work with the rest of his colleagues. When asked to part take in proof-reading, Bartleby would reply with “I would prefer not to” (The Norton introduction to Literature, 484). Bartleby, does what he ‘prefers’ and not what he is told to do; making him different then the other characters (Turkey and Nippers). The narrator’s opinion of Bartley is evident in the text after responding to Bartleby “…had there been anything human about him, doubtless I should have violently dismissed him from the premises” (The Norton introduction to Literature, 484). Melville uses repetition of “I prefer not to” (46 times) to create a barrier between Bartleby and the other copyist causing him to be alienated and seen as having inhuman behavior.

The narrator fabricated a ‘green screen’ to allow Bartleby to have privacy and still be part of the work environment; but in fact caused him to be even…

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