The Inevitable Death Of Individualism Essay

1473 Words Dec 24th, 2016 6 Pages
The Inevitable Death of Individualism in Society The idea of individualism and the value placed on it has altered throughout American History. The birth of individualism first originated after the Puritan’s settlement in 1628. Puritans had many values within their culture such as the importance of religion, reputation, hard work, communalism, and individualism (class notes). Puritans believed in predestination, which means God has chosen a life for them and they must live up to this expectation. Each life is different, resulting in individualism. Even after people drifted away from Puritanism, many ideals continued to be prominent in society. This includes individualism. Several writers from Massachusetts incorporated this Puritan value into their work. One example is Herman Melville and his novella, Bartleby the Scrivener. This story encompasses an older lawyer working in Wall Street with fellow oddly named workers such as “Turkey,” “Nippers,”and “Ginger Nut.” The lawyer hires another quirky worker named “Bartleby,” who proves to be quite a challenge for the lawyer because of his calm but defiant behavior. Bartleby represents individualism in an unchanging society. He also exemplifies the lack of it when the story concludes with his death. Melville’s use of symbolism in Bartleby the Scrivener supports his belief in the inevitable death of the individual. Melville depicts the individual in the most mundane and aggressive world, Wall Street. All that matters within it is…

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