Bartleby And Civil Disobedience

The Free essays given on our site were donated by anonymous users and should not be viewed as samples of our custom writing service. You are welcome to use them to inspire yourself for writing your own term paper. If you need a custom term paper related to the subject of Civil War or Bartleby And Civil Disobedience , you can hire a professional writer here in just a few clicks.
The extremely simplified definition of civil disobedience given by Webster s Dictionary is nonviolent opposition to a law through refusal to comply with it, on grounds of conscience. Thoreau in Civil Disobedience and Martin Luther King in Letter from Birmingham Jail both argue that laws thought of as unjust in one s mind should not be adhered to. In Herman Melville s Bartleby, a man named Bartleby is thought of by many to be practicing civil disobedience. His actions are nonviolent, and he refuses to comply with anything his boss says. But his behavior has nothing to do with morals. Bartleby is merely a lonely guy who does not wish to work and has nothing to do with civil disobedience. Thoreau says that if injustice is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say break the law (Jacobus 134). He is personally giving permission for an individual to ignore anything he or she finds morally unacceptable. However, in Bartleby, Bartleby s boss places no unjust laws and assigns no unjust work. He simply asks Bartleby to do easy tasks such as, when those papers are all copied, I will compare them with you , or, just step around the Post Office, won t you? And see if there is anything for me (Melville 116). The boss, who is also the narrator, never requests Bartleby to perform any difficult chores. Martin Luther King, Jr. s interpretation of an unjust law is, a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself (Jacobus 159). The injustice described here by King also does not match the characterization of Bartleby s boss. Bartleby needs no civil disobedience since nothing could be considered unjust in the boss s management. Even if an unjust act were placed against Bartleby, he would not have had any cares about the injustice. He was a man who needed a place to live and chose to be a law-copyist. He has no desire to do any work and no desire to interact with other humans. Anytime an order was given, the same response would reply from Bartleby s mouth: I would prefer not to (Melville). Bartleby did not weigh the issues of morality and immorality in his assignments. He just does not want to deal with others. When asked to look over some work with Turkey and Nipping, he refuses. His boss offers him a home, and he refuses this as well. The ending footnote to Bartleby states that Bartleby s previous profession was a subordinate clerk in the Dead Letters Office in Washington. The dead letters he handled had no asso

Our inspirational collection of essays and research papers is available for free to our registered users

Related Essays on Civil War

Arguement Definition

Right Intentions Wrong Choice In an earlier story that was reported, one Samuel Mohammed burnt down a house in his West Palm Beach community. However, the question is not if Mohammed burnt ...

Civil Trials

Civil Trials and Criminal Trials In order to fully understand the difference between civil trials and criminal trials you must understand the different aspects of the laws that comply with them ind...

Civil War & Disease

HI 378_Towns_Week 3 Why was disease the major killer of soldiers in the civil war? In the early years of the Civil War it became apparent that disease would be the greatest killer. Twice as...

The Civil War

Symposium Why did the Civil War Happen? Can any of you remember when you were 14 or 15 years old, and you wanted to do something but your parents would not let you? Well, this was the exact same ...

Civil Disobedience

Civil Disobedience: An Essay Civil disobedience helps democracy because it provides a means to insure that which is just and that which is right will prevail. Democracy, founded on the principle ...

Civil Engineering

The need for Civil Engineers is rapidly growing from day to day. Civil Engineers are vital to the advancement of society. Civil Engineering is the combination of common knowledge and practica...