This is a collection of three short stories from Melville that I listened to last night. I was telling a colleague at school how seniors in the second semester remind me so much of Bartleby that I felt like I should reread and revisit the story, as it’s been almost ten years since I last saw it. High school seniors in their final semester are often energetic and intense and so ready for the next steps. I know I was (not by my own virtues so much as a product of my own need to expel and use the stored energy within me at all time). Right now, here, it is two days before Spring Break. It’s awful. They have a 100 point (about 1/5 of their 9 weeks grade) essay due and they are just like “No thank you.”
Ahhhhh! I am someone who is always terrified of giving bad grades. A little chaotic good English teacher, so it’s really frustrating. Trying to motivate them is like trying to motivate a dog to move from your spot on the couch.
Anyway, Bartleby reminds me so much of them because of the strange amount of energy and effort put into doing nothing and being recalcitrant in this nothingness.
The other two stories I have also read before. One is about a lightning rod salesman. The story itself is a funny little parable about selling something based in fear and also something that attracts the cause of that fear. It’s almost like selling an idea used to ward off but also attract the very idea itself.
And I will be honest, I zoned off during the “Bell Tower” and forgot what it was about. Bells, I assume.