Bartleby the Scrivener

Theme of doubling in Bartleby

In what ways is the theme of doubling used

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Doubles make for an important thematic device. Through doubles, Melville suggests our connection to other human beings. Nippers and Turkey are like two faces of a coin, as are, finally, Bartleby and the narrator. With Bartleby, Melville is constantly evoking him as a kind of phantom double. The descriptions of him frequently cast him as either a ghost or a corpse. At the end of the story, Bartleby's significance expands, and he becomes not only a double for the narrator but also a kind of double for all of humanity.


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