Plot[ edit ] The narrator, an elderly, unnamed Manhattan lawyer with a comfortable business, already employs two scrivenersNippers and Turkey, to copy legal documents by hand.
For many people in a What a bartleby world society particularly one based on ideas espoused by men like Benjamin FranklinWhat a bartleby world is hard to understand what is "wrong" with Bartleby.
This inability to understand Bartleby on an instinctive level is part of what makes his story so sad -- to many readers, the solution is so simple: We learn more about the narrator and his other office workers Turkey, Nippers, and Ginger Nut than we ever do about Bartleby.
The subtitle, "A Story of Wall-Street", is telling because it provides the specific setting and also introduces a word that resounds throughout the story: Instead, we are informed that we are reading "a few passages in the life of Bartleby"the strangest scrivener ever known. Our narrator admits that he only knows what his "own astonished eyes saw" because Bartelby was "one of those beings of whom nothing is ascertainable, except from the original source" and thus, the narrator freely admits that his entire story is based on observation, rumor, and conjecture.
It is revealed that Bartelby may have "been a subordinate clerk in the Dead Letter Office at Washington, from which he was suddenly removed by a change in the administration" Bartleby lost hope and waited to die.
But the final line of the story clearly indicates a link between the scrivener and the rest of the world: Despite all appearances, Bartleby is not alone.
Almost immediately the narrator reveals that he is not one of those lawyers that yearns to redress great wrongs, seeing that as an indulgence. Instead, he prefers the cozy snugness of handling paperwork, not people. He describes himself as renowned for his prudence and his safe, methodical approach to life and seems quite proud of such a characterization.
He also compliments himself repeatedly on his even-temperedness. Instead, he plans to build up his "good credit" by allowing Bartleby to continue in his position despite the fact that he fails to produce according to the required expectations.
As the story progresses, it becomes glaringly obvious that the narrator has particular ideas about himself and his own role in society -- he is the benevolent employer who never has an unkind, unreasoned word for anyone.
And because of his "kindness" toward Bartleby by not relinquishing him to the streets and "some less indulgent employer"the narrator perceives himself as a good person. Once he ceases production and captures public notice for his laxity, he becomes a liability that draws undesired attention to the narrator who hopes to slip through life with a minimum of fuss.
The bond of a common humanity now drew me irresistibly to gloom. When the narrator realizes that Bartleby has been living in the office, he feels momentary sympathy, but because his understanding is too painful for him to bear, he decides to send Bartleby away: I might give alms to his body; but his body did not pain him; it was his soul that suffered, and his soul I could not reach.
Strangely enough, it is also the fear of public censure that forces him to take definitive action by quitting the office himself; the professional whisper disturbs the narrator so much that he decides to rid himself of "this intolerable incubus.
Turkey is almost 60, the same age as the narrator. He apparently drinks a bit too much around lunchtime, resulting in a face that blazes "like a grate full of Christmas coals" and a disturbing change in work habits.
Instead of the quick and steady worker that the narrator desires, Turkey becomes "inflamed, flurried, flighty" and leaves distressing blots on his copies.
He also becomes noisy: I am getting old. Surely, sir, a blot or two of a warm afternoon is not to be severely urged against gray hairs. The only other information we receive about Turkey involves his unkempt appearance: While Turkey works well in the morning, Nippers performs best in the afternoon.
His primary flaws seem to be related to ambition because he is impatient "with the duties of a mere copyist" and indigestion evidenced by "occasional nervous testiness and grinning irritably, causing the teeth to grind together over mistakes.
He is kept on because of his usefulness in the afternoons and his gentlemanly manners. Ginger Nut is 12 years old, and his only job seems to be running snack-related errands for the office. This reductive view of Bartleby at least offers a view as opposed to Turkey and Nippers who alternately want to ignore Bartleby and beat him into submission depending on the time of day.
But Bartleby knows where he is and refuses to speak to the narrator who was his last connection to humanity and hope. He refuses to speak, he refuses to eat, and eventually, he simply curls up and dies.
It is ironic that no one notices at first because he has been virtually invisible through his silence -- the only one who knows is the narrator, the man who allowed this to happen in the first place.
As a copyist, Bartleby creates nothing of his own, nothing truly innovative, and although he is very good at what he does, he absolutely refuses to "check" himself against the original. Through his passivity, he rebels against the system that refuses him creative freedom.
Another view sees Bartleby as the American worker whose productivity determines his or her sole worth. Yet another approach considers the similarities between Bartleby and Melville; two men whose creative urges were squashed by a capitalistic society that values production in terms of quantity rather than quality.
Many critics see Bartleby as a Christ figure, degraded by a system that he is unable to fight against. Unable to change the institution as Christ was unable to change the Roman systemBartleby is sacrificed by the "Wall Street" mentality.
Interestingly enough, the "disobedient" person in the story at this point is Bartleby, but it is the narrator who becomes the pillar of salt.HERMAN MELVILLE LECTURE NOTES (BARTLEBY FOCUS) But the final line of the story clearly indicates a link between the scrivener and the rest of the world: "Ah Bartleby!
Ah humanity!" (). But Bartleby knows where he is and refuses to speak to the narrator who was his last connection to humanity and hope.
He refuses to speak, he . Published in , "Bartleby the Scrivener" is one of American writer Herman Melville's most often-read and studied works (which is really saying a lot, considering that the guy also penned numerous classics, including Moby-Dick and Billy Budd).
"Bartleby" is a departure from the sea-faring adventures that Melville often presented to readers; in fact, this is a story in which the most exciting thing that happens is .
Bartleby Thoughts on management and the world of work, in the spirit of the “scrivener” of Herman Melville’s novel Older workers and . "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street," composed in , is perhaps Herman Melville's most famous short story.
It's certainly his most inscrutable. Melville's account of how the eponymous scrivener, whose job is to produce multiple copies of legal documents, slowly and deliberately withdraws from everyday life with the sole explanation, "I would prefer not to," has continued to resist interpretation.
Feb 15, · Free Essays from Bartleby | World War I:Total War Europe since pre-Roman times has been marked by conflict.
Warring tribes often did battle in small.
Bartleby will detach from the world in stages, beginning with this first statement. With each time he reiterates the statement, he is renouncing one more piece of the world and its duties. The final renunciation will be of living itself, characteristically arrived at indirectly by the preference not to eat.