Using specific passages, how can "slippage", a feature of deconstructionist literary criticism, be seen in Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener?

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“Slippage” refers to the idea that meaning is not neatly contained by words but is always in a state of flux, subject to the arbitrary relationship between (for example) the word “tree” and what we might think of as a tree (one might think of an oak or a palm, for instance). Meaning therefore becomes based on a kind of “negative space” or difference—trees are trees not because of any innate “treeness” but because they are not bushes. The letters that make the word “tree” have no actual connection to the thing itself; they are arbitrary signs we English speakers agree point to a collection of images we have of tall, woody plants.

The character of Bartleby can also be thought of as a kind of “tree.” That is, he is defined by what he is not. In fact, his whole existence, to the extent the lawyer understands it, is based on what he “prefers” not to do. The lawyer’s struggle to explain Bartleby is, in effect, a struggle against the slippage of language. It’s...

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