This major essay requires students to conduct an in-depth analysis of Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener.” By “analysis,” I mean that students are expected to carefully review Melville’s story and develop an argument about its purpose and meaning: in other words, why did Melville write the story, and what was he hoping to express in it?
A major expectation for this essay is that it will include extensive textual evidence; students are expected to paraphrase and quote from Melville’s story and discuss these passages in depth. This text-based analysis will provide the major source of evidence for your argument.
In addition, students are expected to integrate two scholarly sources into their argument. “Scholarly” sources are defined as peer-reviewed arguments written by and for academic readers. Students are advised to use JSTOR and Academic OneFile—these are databases that provide access to exclusively scholarly sources. These are known as secondary sources because they are arguments about a primary source. In this case, “Bartleby the Scrivener” is the primary source, and the two scholarly articles you find about the story are secondary sources.
Students should be prepared to provide the following elements in both drafts of their essay:
A clear and specific thesis statement.
Body paragraphs that feature in-depth analysis of specific passages from Melville’s story.
In-text citations and a works cited page in MLA style.
A concluding paragraph that restates the major argument and ends on a resonant note.
The essays should be written in MLA Style: 12-pt. Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, uniform double-spacing, and page numbers in the upper-right-hand corner of the page. In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, provide the following class information: Student Name, Class Number and Section, Instructor Name, Due Date, and Word Count. Please give your essay an original and descriptive title!