Analysis of the Changes in the American Society as established by the “spring and All” by William Carlos Williams, and a Herman Melville's “Bartleby”
The changes in the American society implied a paradigm shift in the social, economic and political ways of life. Modernity is such a good thing to have happened to the world, and society can evidently see the impacts that have resulted due to human indulgence into different technological lines. Changes in the social and economic orders of the society were so good and were welcomed from all divides. For instance, the changes in the society led to milestone transformations in the treatment modes, besides a further change in the way the society would handle aspects of production.
Despite these transformations, the changes equally attracted a fair share of challenges that at some point generated real problems among the people. Thus, technological changes and social advancements in the society did come with strife and consternation. This essay focuses on two works, the "spring and All” by William Carlos Williams, and a Herman Melville's “Bartleby.” These two works mirror the changes that had occurred in American society, besides the positive and negative impacts associated with such transformations.
The quest for transformation had already infiltrated the minds of many people in American society. Indeed, the previous generation did not have many discoveries, and life was mostly centered in the village. During the Agrarian revolution, a majority of people were involved in mundane agricultural practices, but things changed in the new generation. Industrial revolution defined progress in all spheres of human existence. For instance, production of goods became much efficient, and people could access food as well as basic services at their convenience. There were other many transformations that permeated through human life, whose effects had profound consequences to the people.
Back to the two stories, we can notice that the changes that were overtly experienced in the general society found its way into the service industry. To start off this argument, we will discuss how changes were represented in the "spring and All" by William Carlos. The journey to success was defined by the immense signs of progress that were witnessed in the hospital industry, particularly regarding the advancement of careers that were initially not existing in society.
The plight of William Carlos and the career advances that he made signify a major shift in the societal order. People like William became aggressive and got into their careers of choice, provided that it corroborated with their passion and interest. Principally, William was a pediatrician as well as a poet, who applied his career path well to impact society. Williams's poem is anchored on hope for a society that had lost its beauty and progress after World War 2.
At the beginning of the poem, William focuses on the reasons why people should have hope in life. It is because of hope and aggression that people can change the status quo. It is important to note that in the aftermath of World War 2, the world was seriously destroyed, and people suffered from various diseases, which became apparent due to the effect of war. Despite the effects of the war, we can see people like William take up the challenge and get seriously involved in treating the people who had suffered far too long. This change in career was a strong ray of hope that the society was on the right trajectory to progress.
Indeed, William relied on his new career to reach out to many people about their health, and even appreciate the modifications that were urgently needed in the hospital sector. For instance, when he gets to work in this new sector, William refers to his environment as a “contagious hospital” implying that the conditions were not conducive (Carlos). However, after the cold season comes a season of warm weather and brilliance. This was the only hope that Williams spurred on many people who did not understand that American society was seriously embracing new techniques, and everyone was tasked to be part of the changes.
Throughout the poem, the speaker decides to adopt a metaphorical way of addressing the audience. For instance, he writes of the pool of water along the roads, dying leaves, and bushes turning to twigs; the tone discusses the real issues that have become part of the society. Meanwhile, the author presents a tone of optimism that the springs are about to come, and soon things would change. The transition from a society coupled with problems is just beginning to be seen, and this is apparent in the author's new-found career in the hospital sector.
Principally, Williams combined two careers to create a breakthrough into the social problems that had for a long time bedeviled the society. As a poet, Williams present one side of success, and the other side is evident from his new role as a pediatrician. As a writer, William uses real-life scenarios to create a sense of hope to people, besides motivating the members of the society to be part of the change.
During World War 2, the world's economy had been devastated, but the new frontier efforts taken up by William signified a change of tact to tackling these problems. This poem is rich in the use of imagery, and the author adopts terms such as cold, twiggy, and patches of standing water to refer to the state of affairs in the society that is trying to set a foothold in different life auras (Carlos).
Despite the outstanding signs of progress implied in the springs, especially because of the career development and changes, certain limitations are inherently persistent amidst such changes. For instance, the pool of standing water is still apparent on the roads, meaning that the progress has not yet hit society. Moreover, William refers to the health facilities as contagious hospitals. This statement potentially means that most hospitals are overcrowded, and lack the necessary order.
Besides, these hospitals can easily become an agent of spreading disease. On the same note, the number of people visiting these hospitals was overwhelming, meaning that the available facilities were hardly enough to meet the high demands of the people. For example, William reiterates that being in the hospital was neither appealing for the doctor nor the patient. Amidst such problems, the anticipated changes can be termed to be having a serious shortfall that could not be bridged by the available workforce offered by people like William.
Just like William’s poem, Herman Melville's “Bartleby” gives the life of a working class in American society. The narrator of the Bartleby professes law as his field of practice, besides working as an active writer. The emergence of these careers was reminiscent of the growth that had been experienced by people in the society. As a lawyer, the narrator represented clients on issues like processing of title deeds, accelerating the bond maturity among other duties.
The old man was so busy and employed other people who assisted him in his career. Once again, we can see that urban life was a reality in American society, especially with the emergence of legal service companies in aid of clients who needed such help. On the same note, such firms offered employment to many people, meaning that there was a general shift where people went about migrating to the urban centers to secure meaningful employment. The narrator's office employed two scriveners namely Turkey and Nippers. Later, the company employed Bartleby, whose plight generates the main theme of this story. Notably, the old man’s law firm is doing well, despite the specific problems exhibited by the three members of the staffs. Bartleby had been a clerk in the dead letter of Washington (Melville 81).
Furthermore, the career life of the narrator mimicked the typical job life in American society in the postwar era. The staffs were apportioned different responsibilities and worked in line with the job demands and the professional standard required of their jobs. Bartley was tasked with the role of proofreading the documents, while other staffs delved in different lines of engagement within the office. The office life mirrored the state of affairs in American society, again signifying the changes that were happening.
Meanwhile, the changes that occurred in the career life of an American person did not mean all well to him of her. The focus of the story above gives a gloomy future for young men who had traveled to town to secure employment. When Bartley secured the job with the old man, his performance was good, but this kept deteriorating until it reached a time that he could not do anything. At some point in time, Bartley refused to handle any work, and his state worsened off when he decided to spend his time in the office. This behavior could have been psychologically influenced due to job demands. The narrator was very reluctant to fire Bartley and had to relocate to a new office, but the ghost of Bartley's defiance to work could not make him settle. The house owners repeatedly contacted the narrator to move swiftly and compel Bartley to vacate their premises; this did not work still. Finally, Bartley was forcefully evicted from the premises and taken to prison. Here, he refused to eat, leading to his untimely death. Indeed, the death of Bartley had a lot of implications to the old man, who liked him a lot.
In conclusion, the two literary works exhibit a major transition in American society. Initially, people used to reside in the villages, but this trend changed with technological advancements. New careers were developed, and many people secured employment in towns. However, the changes did not have universally good consequences, negative impacts equally ensued. Williams worked in the hospital, but the conditions here were not appealing to both patients and staffs. Moreover, the narrator of Bartley experienced the worst case of job-related stresses when one of his staffs succumbed to psychological distress.
Carlos William. Williams Spring and All by William Carlos Williams. N.d. https://poemanalysis.com/spring-and-all-by-william-carlos-williams-poem-analysis/
Melville, Herman. Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street. NSW, Austrialia: Objective Systems, 2006. Print.
Leave a Reply