Response to Melville
Create an MS Word document and attach it to the Assignment Feature in Blackboard Vista.
For this response, you are required one short essay. Select one of the questions below and write a two page response (approximately 500 words), using evidence from the text to support your response and analysis of the Melville text.
Cite your sources in the essay (including Melville's text or texts) using APA or MLA citation format.
Include a Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA) section after the essay providing the publication information on your Melville
1. Although it appears that Melville saw parallels between Plato's Dialogue, The Symposium, a piece of classical philosophic literature, and his personal experiences in London and at a New England paper mill upon which he based the two sketches, it is not necessary even to be aware of Plato to comprehend what is going on in the two-part "Paradise" and "Tartarus" diptych. So why drop in the hints about Socrates and Cupid in the sketches?
Comment on the usefulness or uselessness of such allusions or structuring devices in literature. Is there a point to letting the reader see the parallel besides showing off?
2. Some critics see the lawyer-narrator in "Bartleby" as resembling St. Peter in his denial of knowing Bartleby when he is asked, just as Peter denied knowing Jesus at one point in the New Testament gospel.
Also, the narrator says that Bartleby is asleep "with kings and counselors," which is an allusion to the Book of Job in the Old Testament.
In neither case, I submit, is Melville saying that Bartleby is Jesus or Bartleby is Job. So what is the point in developing the thematic material in "Bartleby the Scrivener" of such allusions? Comment on the point of these and other allusions in the story.
How does Melville use them in shaping the reader's understanding of the narrator's moral concerns?
3. Choose William Budd, John Claggart, or Edward Fairfax Vere as a character from the novel Billy Budd by Herman Melville, and analyze the character, developing a profile.
Who is this person and what purpose does he serve in the novel? Document your analysis of the character with several quotations or reference to the text.
Although you may have offered your opinion on some of parts of this matter earlier during one of the discussions, feel free to restate your ideas here, but develop them more fully.