Throughout history males have perpetuated a hedonistic patriarchal society, never considering the side of the distressed female. Melville’s The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids amplifies male’s half-blindness through the exploitation of the uncomprehending male and the subversive female.
Melville splits, The Paradise Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids, into to pieces, The Paradise of Bachelors coming first and The Tartarus of Maids coming second. With this setup, Melville intends to display the dichotomous life of the two sexes, one consisting of “flower-beds, and a river on the side” and the other consisting of “blank air… and comfortless expression”. Melville’s polar comparisons continue throughout the tale as the narrator express “But where are the gay bachelors” (1269) displaying his idiocy, since he cannot comprehend the fact that there is another side to his “Apartment…up toward heaven” (1261). Apart from the obvious contrasting qualities of lifestyle, Melville intertwines a sarcastic tone throughout the piece, mocking the men’s ignorance, “how could they suffer themselves to be imposed upon such monkish fables? Pain! Trouble!” (1264) showing that these men have no willing to understand the other side of heaven, and why should they care when they have plenty of “sherry”!
Although one may think that in the end the narrator learns a lesson, he departs abruptly, never caring for the events that took place in the factory. Upon further analysis, the narrator is seen as never caring for the girls, since he is more compassionate for his horse’s health “blanketing my horse…So that the wind might not strip him bare” (1270) rather than the well being of the “supernatural with unrelated misery” (1270) or, the shivering girl. Even though he witnesses the pale girl deteriorating from the frost, he never considers giving his horse’s blanket to her. This absence of remorse for the girls continues, “poor Black, my horse, all cringing and doubled up with the cold” (1279) showing the narrator express remorse for his horse rather than the girls, whom of which he just saw being mistreated. Lastly, Melville introduces Cupid, a caricature of the male reaction to the misery of females; he smiles while they suffer.
Conclusively, Melville displays the true nature of the male, as long as his cup is filled, why care for the health of the one who fills it.