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1- Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville
- Bartleby the Scrivener is Herman Melville’s pessimistic depiction of humans and their relationships. The unnamed narrator, the lawyer, finds himself stuck in a situation that he cannot figure how to get out of. Most of us cannot imagine ourselves not figuring a way to get rid of Bartleby, so we perhaps cannot sympathize with him. But what do we make of Bartleby? Some critics have said that he is suffering from depression, but is that it? What makes him decide to refuse to work one day? What do you make of his “I would prefer not to”? What does this novella say to you about modern society and those that “live” in it? We will be discussing all this in the forum, but think about what it means as you read it.
- As I said in the lesson lecture, Bartleby can be representative of modern man in much the same way as Prufrock and the Underground Man are. Analyze his trademark statement “I would prefer not to.” Why can’t his boss get rid of him? What message does this story leave us with about modern society?
2- Ivan is brought to an awareness of IT.
- Ivan is brought to an awareness of IT. What is IT? How is IT significant to Ivan but not to anyone else? Can you feel the suffering and isolation of the dying Ivan
3- J. Alfred Prufrock
- How would you characterize J. Alfred Prufrock? Use specific quotes from the poem to show how you came to your conclusion.