The Lawyer begins by noting that he is an "elderly man," and that his profession has brought him "into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men the law-copyists, or scriveners. Bartleby is, according to the Lawyer, "one of those beings of whom nothing is ascertainable, except from the original sources, and, in his case, those were very small.
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.
An increase in business leads him to advertise for a third, and he hires the forlorn-looking Bartleby in the hope that his calmness will soothe the irascible temperaments of the other two. An office boy called Ginger Nut completes the staff.
At first, Bartleby produces a large volume of high-quality work, but one day, when asked to help proofread a document, Bartleby answers with what soon becomes his perpetual response to every request: The narrator makes several futile attempts to reason with Bartleby and to learn something about him; when the narrator stops by the office one Sunday morning, he discovers that Bartleby has started living there.
Tension builds as business associates wonder why Bartleby is always there. Sensing the threat to his reputation but emotionally unable to evict Bartleby, the narrator moves his business out.
The narrator visits Bartleby and attempts to reason with him; to his own surprise, he invites Bartleby to live with What a bartleby world, but Bartleby declines the offer. Later the narrator returns to find that Bartleby has been forcibly removed and imprisoned in the Tombs.
Finding Bartleby glummer than usual during a visit, the narrator bribes a turnkey to make sure he gets enough food. When the narrator returns a few days later to check on Bartleby, he discovers that he died of starvation, having preferred not to eat.
The book was published anonymously later that year but in fact was written by popular novelist James A. Melville biographer Hershel Parker points out that nothing else in the chapter besides this "remarkably evocative sentence" was "notable". During the spring ofMelville felt similarly about his work on Moby Dick.
Colt case in this short story. The narrator restrains his anger toward Bartleby, his unrelentingly difficult employee, by reflecting upon "the tragedy of the unfortunate Adams and the still more unfortunate Colt and how poor Colt, being dreadfully incensed by Adams [ Based on the perception of the narrator and the limited details supplied in the story, his character remains elusive even as the story comes to a close.
As an example of clinical depression[ edit ] Bartleby shows classic symptoms of depression, especially his lack of motivation. He is a passive person, although he is the only reliable worker in the office other than the narrator and Ginger Nut. Bartleby is a good worker until he starts to refuse to do his work.
Bartleby does not divulge any personal information to the narrator.
As the story proceeds, it becomes increasingly clear that the lawyer identifies with his clerk. To be sure, it is an ambivalent identification, but that only makes it all the more powerful".
He portrays himself as a generous man, although there are instances in the text that question his reliability. His kindness may be derived from his curiosity and fascination for Bartleby.
Throughout the story, the narrator is torn between his feelings of responsibility for Bartleby and his desire to be rid of the threat that Bartleby poses to the office and to his way of life on Wall Street.
Both Edwards and Priestley wrote about free will and determinism. Edwards states that free will requires the will to be isolated from the moment of decision. He has the ability to do whatever he pleases. Critic John Matteson sees the story and other Melville works as explorations of the changing meaning of 19th-century " prudence ".
The case Brown v. His fate, an innocent decline into unemployment, prison and starvation, dramatizes the effect of the new prudence on the economically inactive members of society.
Themes[ edit ] Bartleby the Scrivener explores the theme of isolation in American life and the workplace through actual physical and mental loneliness.
Although all of the characters at the office are related by being co-workers, Bartleby is the only one whose name is known to us and seems serious, as the rest of characters have odd nicknames, such as "Nippers" or "Turkey", this excludes him from being normal in the workplace.
Bartleby never leaves the office, but repeats what he does all day long, copying, staring, and repeating his famous words of "I would prefer not to", leading readers to have another image of the repetition that leads to isolation on Wall Street and the American workplace.
He does not make any request for changes in the workplace, but just continues to be passive to the work happening around him. Although the narrator sees Bartleby as a harmless person, the narrator refuses to engage in the same peculiar rhythm that Bartleby is stuck in.
The story has been adapted and reinterpreted by Peter Straub in his story "Mr. It was also used as thematic inspiration for the Stephen King novel Bag of Bones. Literature[ edit ] Bartleby: The boy unwittingly mimics Bartleby when he declares he would "prefer not to".
In his book Everybody Lies: The characters share similar traits and the movie uses some themes found in the work.
Reading a novel of Bartledanian literature, he is bewildered to find that the protagonist of the novel unexpectedly dies of thirst just before the last chapter. Arthur is also bewildered by other actions of the Bartledans, but "He preferred not to think about it"."Bartleby the Scrivener" is one of Melville's most famous stories.
It is also one of the most difficult to interpret. For decades, critics have argued over numerous interpretations of the story. "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.
A summary of "Bartleby the Scrivener" (cont.) in Herman Melville's Melville Stories. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Melville Stories and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.
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. 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 . We scour the world for brainiac educators, many with masters and PhDs in their respective fields from fancy universities across the world.
Solve They dig into textbooks and craft solutions that are tested by subject-matter editors for verification before hitting bartleby's vast e-library shelves.