Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street Annotations

After reading the annotations on Slate for Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street, I feel I have a better understanding of what online annotations can do. Before, I thought annotations were simply there to help the reader better understand the poem (i.e. looking up definitions, noting what is confusing to them). Online annotations seem to be more thought out and more self aware in the sense that they are one interpretation of a reading that is meant to guide other readers to better understand the text. The annotations on Slate I found helpful for the most part. As this is an older text there is a lot of context I might need to better understand it and the sorts of annotations that appeared on Slate would start out by informing the reader of something and then draw the reader towards how this may affect an interpretation of the poem. For example, there was an annotation about “Columns” that really helped me think of the characters in a military hierarchy concept with Bartleby as the solitary one. Initially the annotations on genius seemed like an eyesore to me. The way everything is highlighted over and the second the cursor runs over it becomes bright yellow. I found that distracting because it draws me to read the annotations right away. However, the content of many of the annotations I found insightful and of high quality. There was an annotation on genius having to do with reform to simplify the legal process and how that is significant in terms of themes of conformity and the special case of Bartleby. These annotations overall were helpful and I think will help me update my own online annotations as I have a better sense of what they should be like and what they can do for a reader. Specifically, my annotations will point out some information about something but they don’t really help to color the overall sense or meaning of the poem so I hope to work on that this week.