Kari Nixon
Scholar of Medical Humanities and Victorian Literature

bartleby

Copy of Article Format

Summary:

In this article, I consider why the narrator’s attempts to help bartleby are inevitable failures. In so doing, I show that the narrator’s efforts fail because he fails to ask bartleby to articulate his own needs, and instead attempts to assist bartleby in conforming, rather than making space for his difference.

Publication Info: “If You Don’t Know Me By Now: The Failure of Care in ‘Bartleby, the Scrivener.’” Disability Studies Quarterly 34.4 (2014).“If You Don’t Know Me By Now: The Failure of Care in ‘Bartleby, the Scrivener.’” Disability Studies Quarterly 34.4 (2014).

Full Text available here: http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3631/3798  


Text-type Considered:

Short Story


Texts included:

“Bartleby, the scrivener”


Conceptual Influences:

Disability theory

 

Excerpt:

 

“The narrator's insistence on conformity and his refusal to accept Bartleby's difference unless he can understand it and prescribe his own solution for it, choke out any potential for the reticent Bartleby to begin to communicate his needs. Clouded as his vision is by a socially constructed idea of difference and deviance as disability, the narrator cannot see Bartleby's personally determined needs, and he never fully allows Bartleby to speak for himself.”

Full Text available here: http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3631/3798