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Self-representation in William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe and Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville

Project id 1000688
Subject area Writing
Document type Essay
Words 2842
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The stories William Wilson from Edgar Allan Poe and Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville are useful illustrations to discuss the difficulties of self-representation. Even though the narrator at Poe's story begs us to "I want to call myself, for the present, William Wilson" that the complex self-representation here is also widespread in the heart of Melville's narrative. West's Encyclopedia of American Law tells us that "courts typically discourage self-representation even attorneys are well advised to hire a different lawyer." Exactly the exact problems with self-representation happen in literature. The unnamed narrator in Melville's narrative indicates the complexities of self-representation through age, his relationship with Astor, anonymity, deceit and his complex values. Poe's narrator also shows much about himself; that his title is false, that he shares similarities to Poe and that he's a memory that is strange. The two stories are terrific examples of the complexities of literary self-representation -- and also how narrators, for example attorneys, shouldn't represent themselves. In Melville's tale, the narrator immediately declares that he has been "a rather elderly man" (p.1483). This introduction causes the readership to conclude he is a man of ability and esteem - centered on the common stereotype that era contributes to wisdom -- but because of the intricate nature of self-representation, it might also lead the reader to be sceptical on his narrative reliability; forgetfulness is yet another variable associated with seniority. The literal representation of itself here as older is clearly important. It is the very first line of this story he recounts. The narrator wants to impress the readers and function as a comparison to the "young" Bartleby whom he's yet to introduce. He wishes to appear as the entire opposit...

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