Bartleby The Scrivener And Paul's Case: A Literary Analysis

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Sebiga Lee AP Lit Ms. Conforti October 11th, 2014 Using any three stories, discuss how a central symbol is established and developed. Assess the relative importance in each story. The Yellow Wallpaper, Bartleby the Scrivener, and Paul’s Case contain symbols that represent significant themes in the text. The authors of all three stories provide signs of forbearance before the incidental events in order to establish the main points and themes of the stories. The symbols represent crucial messages regarding the authors’ contemporary settings to the reader. Melville’s message of materialism during the mid 19th century manifests itself through the portrayal of Bartleby’s loneliness and disillusionment with the monotony of everyday…show more content…
The disparity between the rights of women and men prevented women from fully harnessing their wisdom and maturity, keeping them callow. On the other hand, men became arrogant and assumed their superiority over women, patronizing and dominating their wives to follow their orders. The main character believed that the wallpaper changed shapes and a woman was behind it, trying to escape the entrapment of the yellow wallpaper. The whole room was surrounded by it and made the main character feel as if she were stuck in an inescapable asylum. She says “there are a great many women behind [the wallpaper], and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over.” The woman behind the wallpaper represents the main character herself, desperately fighting to escape the domestic mundane life that entrapped her, which is represented by the yellow wallpaper and the fungus-like pattern. The nursery is analogous to a cage and a prison; there is no way to escape, because of the bars in the windows that were previously mandated for the safety of children. When she finished tearing down the wallpaper, she was allowed the “freedom” that she wistfully longed for. Now that she was “free”, she could…show more content…
She also talks about the consequences of deviation from a conformist world, represented by Paul’s homosexuality and red carnations. Paul, a suspended high school student from Pittsburgh High School , didn’t understand why he was part of a family from a lower working class. He assured himself that surely there was a mistake, and he was born to be part of the opulent upper class. In order to get away from the reality of being a commoner, he used the arts as a scapegoat. Art was an addictive drug for Paul, making him “sigh in relief,” freeing “potent spirit within him,” and giving him a “sudden zest of life” whenever he was around it. However, his pleasure was just an illusion because he was ignorant and had no aesthetic or intellectual capabilities to understand the arts. The symphonies played in Carnegie Hall did not mean “anything in particular to Paul,” but rather provided him instant satisfaction he received from music, plays, and paintings. Paul also misunderstood the power and function of money. When Paul heard his father and his friend talking about how poor men were able to work their way up the ladder into the world of luxuries, he only wanted the end result of hard work and had no care for the blood and sweat it demanded during the “cash-boy stage.” He didn’t realize that it took effort to earn money and could not be appreciated by just

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