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A Study on Bartleby’s Resistance in Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener-A Story of Wall Street”

Kwangjin Lee 1

1숭실대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper attempts to present a new interpretation by addressing to the most basic, but hitherto neglected elements of the story: business, office, leader-member relationship. It applies Leader Member Exchange Theory (LMX)—a theory of Organizational Behavior of Management—which analyzes the dyadic relation between leader and a new member. The narrator, the leader of his own organization, helps Bartleby, a new member, to undertake a new task that Bartleby never did before. Applying the LMX theory, this paper suggests that when Bartleby said “I would prefer not to”, it means his rejection of the leader’s LMX, and it also implies his rejection of business and organization. In addition, based on the fact that the narrator describes Bartleby as apparition or ghost, it argues that Bartleby stands for something that the American society which was changing its system to industrial capitalism lost in the process.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.