Herman Melville Essays

Bartleby the Scrivener

"Strangely huddled at the base of the wall, his knees drawn up, and lying on his side, his head touching the cold stones, I saw the wasted Bartleby. I felt his hand, when a tingling shiver ran up my arm and down my spine to my feet" (1173).

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Bartleby the Scrivener

The characters of many poems, stories, and other works of art act as critics or representations of the author's society. American writers Benjamin Franklin and Herman Melville both commented on their respective eras using this method. Franklin...

Bartleby the Scrivener

The narrator and Bartleby - principle characters of Herman Melville's Bartleby, the Scrivener - are opposite sides of the same coin. Their perspectives and connections to life seem to be similar. However, the narrator thrives in the...

Bartleby the Scrivener

In Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” the setting contributes to the tone, the style, the theme and particularly the characterization of Bartleby, a scrivener working for the narrator. The parallelism between the setting and the...

Benito Cereno

Before the truth surrounding the strange fate of Benito Cereno becomes apparent, Herman Melville effects an intriguing juxtaposition between Don Benito and Babo while the latter adheres to the toilette of his "master." Captain Delano, while...

Billy Budd

To read Herman Melville's Billy Budd is to experience feelings of intense agony and helpless injustice. Billy Budd, a "Handsome Sailor," adored by his shipmates for his intrinsic goodness, is condemned to death by a seemingly formalistic and...

Moby Dick

Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, attacks the views of the Transcendentalists by portraying Moby Dick, the white whale, as the personification of evil. This completely opposes the Transcendentalist idea that there is only good in the...

Moby Dick

Among the numerous themes and ideas that author Herman Melville expresses in Moby Dick, one of the less examined is the superiority of the primitive man to the modern man. As an undertone running through the entire book, one can see in Moby Dick...

Moby Dick

In Fay Weldon's opinion, a good writer does not always need to conclude his story with a joyous flourish in order to satisfy his reader. "The writers, I do believe, who get the best and most lasting response from readers are the writers who offer...

Moby Dick

With his novel Moby-Dick, Herman Melville uses the voyages of a New England whaler as a metaphor for the expansionist society in which he was living. Completed in 1851, the novel condemns America's values during the middle of the 19th century....