Reading Murray’s argument using Hayot’s template of Uneven U Structure

November 8th, 2016

One of the motivating moves by which Murray opens up his discussion of “Bartleby the Scrivener” is by framing his analysis in a way that shows how studying the specific case of Bartleby can provide a radical understanding of autistic presence. The fact that Murray picks a story that was written when autism wasn’t even recognized as a medical condition, points to the fact that even though Bartleby case may seem tangential at first glance, it is in fact the opposite; the story points to corporeality of Bartleby and how he cannot be reduced to a metaphor which is one of the main points of this chapter as whole.

I thought the Uneven U structure of a paragraph which Hayot describes was quite straightforward in the beginning, but it proved harder then I expected. Placing the entire argument of Murray’s into a fractal structure that Hayot describes was even more perplexing. But I will try. Murray’s claim can be divided into two sections which we can label as A and B with each section having their own set of subsections. Murray claims that Bartleby provides an example of autistic presence. This is our A. And once Bartleby’s essential difference is accepted, various narrative readings can be applied to understand the story.

The first paragraph of subset a, opens up with a combination of level 3 and level 2 statement. When Murray says “firstly, the details of Bartleby’s fictional autism” he is making a claim that Bartleby is autistic and also he is also establishing his claim in such a way so to provide direct evidence in the next line. He quotes in the next line which makes it a level 1 statement. Throughout this paragraph he is relying on concrete evidence from the text to assert his claim about Bartleby. I found that most of the paragraph didn’t necessarily followed the uneven u structure. Like in this example the paragraph didn’t open up with a general level 5 statement that slowly progressed to more concrete claims. So it was kind of confusing just categorizing each statement or paragraph and how it fit into the larger section A.

Similarly in subset of section B, Murray tackles with the fact how in narrative terms, the story is open to multiple interpretations.

 


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