All posts by Melasha Barr

Claudia Rankine – Citizen

The first thing I noticed about how this was written was that it was everyday scenarios that happen to people in real life. I had to reread these sections a couple of times just to make sure that I knew what I was reading.

The scenario that stood out to me the most was the story about the therapist and the patient (18). This is something that happens often to everyone in the world because a lot of the times, a name and a voice don’t match the face. A perfect example is when I thought that Claudia Rankine was a white woman, but I discovered that she was instead Jamaican after reading her bio.

Another scenario that really stood out to me was about the woman whose son didn’t get into college (13). I hate people that think that they have a sense of entitlement when their family went to the same college. Even if they have affirmative action, it doesn’t guarantee that a minority will get into a college just because they’re a minority. Comments like this make me think that as a black young woman, if I did apply to a school that was predominately white for my Master’s degree, would I get in because of my credentials, or just to meet a quota.

The picture of the goat was another thing that stood out to me, not only because it was disturbing, but because it had a picture of a sad black person on it (19). The lamb tends to be a symbol of innocence, but black people are not always innocent because they tend to play the race card when in conflict with white people. Oddly enough, I do feel bad for the white people because just like how all black people are not ghetto, eat fried chicken and drink Kool-Aid, not all white people are racists and have malicious intentions with their actions. It’s just the really racist and hateful ones that mess it up for the whole group.

Overall, there is a struggle on both sides. Do you agree?

Bartleby, the Schrivner – Morality

One of the themes expressed in Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Schrivner” is morality. Melville challenges the reader to think about the “right conduct” when it comes dealing with other human beings. Throughout the story, we see many instances in which the morals of the narrator, the Lawyer, have been tested.

The first instance was when the Lawyer discovered Bartleby in his chambers under dressed (307). After returning to his chambers, The Lawyer was astounded to find that Bartleby has eaten, dressed, and slept in his office without a plate, mirror or bed (307). It was at that point, that he realized that Bartleby was homeless and took great pity on him. The Lawyer was faced with the decision to either let Bartleby stay in his office, or get rid of him. He ultimately lets him stay.

The second instance occured when Bartleby was unable to do anymore writing because of his impaired vision (311). At first the Lawyer felt bad for Bartleby, but that turned into anger when Bartleby wouldn’t do anymore writing if his vision improved. As a result, the Laywer asked Bartleby to leaved and gave him the last of his pay (312). Surprisingly, the Laywer came back the next day that Bartleby was still in his office. He was placed with the decision of whether or not to get Bartleby thrown out of his law firm, but instead, chose to just move his law firm to another place since Bartleby was scaring the clients with his presence (315-316).

The last instance was when the Lawyer offered Bartleby a place to stay at his own home after he finds out that the new lawyer occupying his old space was going to “get rid of Bartleby” (317-318). After Bartleby refuses his offer, the Lawyer just leaves Bartleby to be removed from the space by the police.

Throughout all these instances, we see the Lawyer trying to do the right thing by giving Bartleby a place to stay rather than kicking him out on the streets. As we can see, it becomes harder and harder for the Lawyer as the situation becomes more difficult. Although there wasn’t much that the Lawyer could do, he still demonstrated a great care and concern for Bartleby.