Response # 7

Bartleby, The Scrivener: A story of Wall Street by Herman Melville

What does Bartleby want?

I believe Bartleby wanted to live out his life the way he saw fit without having to explain himself.  Bartleby wanted several things, such as a place to sleep, something to eat, to be surrounded by people he wanted to be around, and a wall.

The office became a place where he could be comfortable enough to sleep and be confined to, even though he never asked the narrator if he could stay and pay some sort of rent.  He was able to be confined to a personal space that had a partition where he wasn’t disturbed. Whereas when he was at the Tomb it became a location that he didn’t seek out and didn’t want to leave but voluntary agreed to go to. Food was the second thing he wanted, but again it was something he wanted. He was willing to buy ginger cake from Ginger Nut. Regardless if that was the only the narrator saw him eat. As least he was eating whereas in the Tomb, the narrator paid the grub man to feed him dinner something Bartleby said, “I prefer not to dine to-day. It would disagree with me; I am unused to dinners.”

Another thing he wanted was to be surrounded by people he wanted to be around, Narrator, Turkey, Nipper and Ginger Nut. Whether he actually like them or just simply tolerated them. Day and night there were barely any interaction among the four men and the young man. Turkey and Nipper only spoke to him when the narrator asked them their opinion about what Bartleby did or what they overheard while the narrator spoke to him. Bartleby did not speak only when spoken to, and everyone already knew the response they were going to receive. Once he is kicked out of the office, Bartleby is surrounded by the new tenants of the office followed by the crowd of people watching him get carted off to jail, and the people who were in the tomb once he was there. I will say Bartleby’s reaction to the narrator when he first visited him proved that Bartleby was aware of his actions and was aware he wanted to be in a comfortable surrounded by someone he liked when he said, “I know you, and I want nothing to say to you.” In both the office and the tomb, He was able to maintain one thing, having a wall to face and stare at. He could continue on doing something he wanted without any more change or disturbance.

I mentioned before I think Bartleby wanted to live out his life the way he wanted to, but everyone he came into contact with could not understand because of his lack of engagement which seemed odd, especially because he never explained his purpose or shared anything personal about himself. I think that’s why he wasn’t rude and only said, “I would prefer not to.” I believe he knew everyone would view him to be “eccentric” as the narrator thought or “luny” as Ginger Nut once said, because his soul was so low he didn’t care that much to explain. I believe he was losing the will to live and he decided to do and say as little as possible until that time came. Bartleby he had a pale and unhealthy appearance, was losing his vision, and he stopped writing.  The narrator said, “The poor scrivener, when told that he must be conducted to the Tombs, offered not the slightest obstacle, but his pale unmoving way, silently acquiesced.” To me it illustrates a man who is waiting out his time to live.


The Liberal Solution to Police Violence by Jose Carmona

What is Carmona’s main point? And what do you understand Carmona to want?

In “The Liberal Solution to Police Violence” Jose Carmona discusses how the violence between the police and people of color poses the question to how the police and people can build trust, leading to better inaction among each other. Also discussed was the report made by a Task Force made up of “law enforcement officials, community activists and academics” that was appointed by the president to figure out the problems and create solutions of police violence.

I believe Carmona wants to show the so called solutions that would be provided by the task force, does not actually resolve any of the problems between the police and the people because no one wants to address the racism on the part of some of the police officers. The solutions only address as Carmona says as “quick fixes” which are the police use of body cameras and the use of weapons that are not as lethal as guns, a 50 year old solution. Another point is the police are hiding behind the idea of having legitimacy in the law enforcement institution because they truly want more power than what they already have so the general public will comply and obey the law even more. Carmona calls the reform laws superficial, which they are because they do not address individual police officers and how they treat black and Hispanic people. Carmona says, “The task force was not designed to lessen police violence, nor to reduce Black people’s encounters with the police and entry into the criminal justice system.” I believe He wants to present the thought of how police authority can ever be legitimate if the police are constantly exploiting people of color. I think Carmona also wants to point out the police force are more concern about their appearance than why people of color don’t respect or trust them. Lastly I think I he is trying to explain in this essay that if the true reasons why the police are not trusted are not addressed, then the reforms don’t mean anything and everything remains the same between the police the people.

Compare and contrast what Bartleby wants to what Carmona wants. Tell us how they are alike (if at all) and different.

I could make a correlation or a similarity to Bartleby’s want and the law enforcement’s want because they both want to go about doing whatever they want regardless of how it appears and they both do not want to acknowledge it in any way shape or form. Bartleby and the law enforcement just want to continue with their ways. In my opinion, I believe there is more a difference than similarity to Bartleby and Carmon’s want.

Bartleby and Carmona wants are different because Bartleby wants to withhold the reasons why he behaves the way he does, whereas Carmona wants to expose the way the task conducts their research does not address how the police enforcement conducts themselves towards African Americans and Hispanics. For the entire story the narrator makes plenty of attempts to get Bartleby to open up but he is unsuccessful.  As for Carmona he explains that the task force does not examine the racism that the police implement in their institution.

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3 Responses to Response # 7

  1. Abigale says:

    Very good explanation on the Carmona reading! That was exactly my point. No one wants to point out the blatant injustices committed against citizens by the police force, but there are discussions on how to better the relationship between police and civilians? How when there are no conversations about how the relationship was tainted to begin with? It doesn’t make sense. Good job.

  2. Jvega says:

    You did a great job with the comparison

  3. You put a lot of thought into this response, especially your comparison. Great job

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