Death Instinct Manifested through Passive Aggresiveness and Its Social Effects in Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener"


  • Nestiani Hutami Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Ampel Surabaya



death instinct; passive aggresiveness; behavior; effect


Death instinct is a lifeless drive in human mind that certainly can affect behavior. This instinct can be manifested through passive aggressiveness that is not easily noticed but will slowly bring loss to everyone involved. In deeply understanding this matter, this paper attempts to analyze the death instinct manifested through passive-aggressiveness by depicting a short story entitled “Bartleby the Scrivener.†To do that, this paper will first examine Bartleby's behaviors that indicate passive aggressiveness. Furthermore, it will explore how Bartleby's passive aggressiveness affects people around him. The result of this analysis shows that Bartleby's death instinct which leads him into death is caused by his persistence to have a static life. This form of passive agrresiveness kills his social life and brings anxiety, confusion, and anger to people who interact with him.


Barry, P. (2002). Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory (Second Edition). Manchester: Manchester University Press.

“Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street.” (1998). Retrieved December 1, 2016 from

Chalquist, C. (2001). “A Glossary of Freudian Terms.” RetrievedFebruary 21, 2017from

Desmarais, J. (2001, Spring). Preferring not to: The Paradox of Passive Resistance in Herman Melville’s “Bartleby”.Journal of the Short Story in English, 36.Retrieved January 4, 2017 from

Francis, A., Pincus, H.A. & First, M.B., (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV (Fourth Edition). Washington: The American Psychiatric Association.

Goldson, J. (2015). How to Deal with Passive Aggressive People. Retrieved January 25, 2017 from

Hall-Flavin, D. K. (2013). What is Passive-Aggressive Behavior? What are Some of the Signs?Retrieved February 7, 2017 from

Kelly, D. (2010). Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder.Retrieved February 21, 2017 from

Omur, A. (n.d.).12 Ways Your Passive-Aggressiveness is Slowly Killing Your Relationships.Retrieved February 19, 2017 from

Vrticka, P. (2013). Evolution of the ‘Social Brain’ in Humans: What are the Benefits and Costs of Belonging to A Social Species? Retrieved December 16, 2016 from




How to Cite

Hutami, N. (2017). Death Instinct Manifested through Passive Aggresiveness and Its Social Effects in Melville’s "Bartleby the Scrivener". NOBEL: Journal of Literature and Language Teaching, 8(1), 1-8.



| Abstract views: 0 ,

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.