Literature and Composition 1
Thompson Rivers University
ENGL1001 Literature and Composition 1
Student #: T00552179
9 May 2016
Lois and Bartleby’s Isolation
Isolation… having more than one hundred friends on Facebook and feeling lonely, is very common nowadays. With time, our life style has changed so much and even if there are more than seven billion people on Earth we still continue to feel more and more lonely and isolated. Isolation is a theme which inspires a lot of writers. Margaret Atwood in “Death by Landscape” and Herman Melville in “Bartleby, the Scrivener” illustrate the topic of isolation. Lois and Bartleby, who are the two main characters ...view middle of the document...
Furthermore, the narrator explains in detail what he did to isolate Bartleby: “I placed his desk close up to a small side-window…I procured a high green folding screen, which might entirely isolate Bartleby...” (Melville 1090). Bartleby is extremely isolated, physically and socially. Now let us analyse why those two main characters are isolated.
In “Death by Landscape” Lois is isolated first because of the trauma she experienced when she was younger: the disappearance of her friend during a summer camp when she was a teenager, and the culpability she has lived because she was blamed for it. It was her choice to not let it go, and keep it in her mind all this time. After this loss, she decided to isolate herself as a punishment, and this bad experience made her frightened of the wilderness. Also the loss of her husband and the fact that her boys left home increase her isolation.
In “Bartleby the Scrivener”, the narrator does not tell us why Bartleby is so isolated. But we can assume that his physical traits described as “motionless” (Melville 1090) and “cadaverously” (Melville 1096) have pushed him to be excluded. Moreover, the conflict with his employer and the fact that he prefers not to do anything, show us that he is isolating himself because he looks very frustrated about how life is in Wall Street. He wants to fight the system.
Finally, as a...