Discussion Questions

Discussion Question 8

Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

Directions:

Answer OBLY ONE of the following questions as thoughtfully as possible, after reading the lectures. Then post your answer to the English 207 Message Board by the deadline. Your answer is due no later than Thursday, May 3.

Your responses to other students' answers are due by midnight on Sunday, May 6. in order to get the full 20 points, you MUST respond thoughtfully to at least 2 other people's postings.

Please answer the question as thoughtfully as possible, after reading the lecture. Then post your answer to the English 207 Message Board by the deadline.

We will be using the Canvas Discussion Board for this class. Click on the link below to get to the Canvas portal, sign in, and then click on the box for this class. You will find the "Discussions" link on the left side of the screen:

Discussion Board

Remember: This discussion question is worth a possible 20 points. Late answers will receive 0 points. Points will be assigned according to the thoughtfulness of your answers, not by whether they are "right" or not, since sometimes there is no "right" answer. Just be sure your ideas are supported by the material in the readings.

Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

1. In Herman Melville: His World and Work, Andrew Delbanco says, "What Bartleby brings into view is the fact that all boundary lines between power and submission, mine and yours, right and wrong, too little and too much are finally nothing more than conventions to which we cling lest we lose our grip and tumble away into the infinity of unforeseen possibilities" (217). Do you agree with Delbanco's interpretation? Or do you see different themes and ideas in the story?


2. In Subversive Genealogy, Michael Paul Rogin comments on how often walls are mentioned in the Bartleby the Scrivener. What, in your opinion, is the significance of walls in the story?

--The mural on this page is called "Rural Highway." It's the mural painted for the Middleport, N.Y. Post Office by Marianne Appel in 1941. More information about this mural can be found at Western New York Heritage Press.

--During the Depression in the 1930s and early 1940s, the U.S. government commissioned a number of murals for post offices across the United States. Many of these were quite amazing. To read more about them, CLICK HERE.