Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street Topics for Further Study
by Herman Melville

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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

Because of Bartleby's obvious maladjustment to society, many critics have used the character as a case study for psychoanalysis. How would you diagnose Bartleby's behavior? How would you diagnose the behavior of the lawyer?

Investigate the social conditions of New York City during the 1850s. How did class conflict play a role in the day-to-day life of most New Yorkers? What were conditions like for office workers on Wall Street?

Melville is considered by many to be a deeply philosophical novelist. Using the story of "Bartleby the Scrivener," examine Melville's attitude toward one of the following philosophical movements: the Enlightenment, transcendentalism, Romanticism, idealism, nihilism.

Research attitudes about conformity in American business life by relying on sociological studies or literary works. How have such attitudes changed over time?