Bartleby, the Scrivener

Bartleby, the Scrivener

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Bartleby, the Scrivener   

 

Bartleby, the Scrivener was a most interesting story. The characters were very interesting to the intuitive reader. The narrator is an interesting man who is difficult to completely understand. The narrator's thoughts seem unclear even to himself. The narrator seems to have a sincere wish to help Bartleby in whatever way he can. His sincerity, though, is questionable. Every time the narrator tries to assist Bartleby, he seems to do it only to gratify himself. After the narrator informs Bartleby that the office must be vacated, he says to himself, "As I walked home in a pensive mood, my vanity got the better of my pity." The narrator is glad to have gotten rid of Bartleby, but only it seems, because he gave Bartleby money. This quasi- sincerity does seem to take a turn, however, towards the end of the story. After all the trivial attempts to help Bartleby, the narrator seems to have an instant of true feeling for Bartleby. After moving, and being rid of Bartleby, someone comes to him on Bartleby's behalf. The narrator goes to the prison to check on Bartleby only because he cares and knows that nobody else does. He knows that if he does not check on Bartleby's well- being, no one will. This shows that he is truly beginning to care. This man, the narrator, is also a very weak willed man. He seems to put up with nearly everything. He tolerates the tempers of both Turkey and Nippers day after day. Both these men appear to be alcoholics, as for instance, when Turkey returns from lunch he is not able to write without blotting the paper. When the narrator suggests that the two scriveners work only half a day, they refuse. And so, the narrator allows the behavior to continue. Also, when Bartleby first starts work, the narrator says that he placed him behind a screen so that he, ' Might entirely isolate Bartleby from my sight, though not to remove him from my voice." This wall served no real purpose other than to set himself apart from the scriveners, that is, to make himself feel more important. Also, when the narrator asked Bartleby to do something, Bartleby said simply that he, "would prefer not to." The narrator allowed this behavior and offered no discipline. Bartleby did whatever he felt like doing. Again later, Bartleby quit working altogether.

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The narrator allows this and Bartleby ends up just living in the office. Bartleby's previous job also held some importantsymbolism. Bartleby worked in the dead letter's office. Dead letters, of course, never reach their destination; they just exist without any real purpose, much like Bartleby did. Even the title of this story is well thought out; Bartleby the Scrivener, A Story of Wall Street. On Wall Street, there is no room for caring. Everyone goes on with their business without noticing the people around them. There is no room for individuality; the prevailing attitude seems to be one in which those who cannot exist alone must get out. Bartleby is an example of a person in this environment who simply could not exist normally. So, of course, he was just cast away, alone to survive with whatever affliction he suffered of . I also liked the story because it was told as if the events really occurred. Even when the narrator talks about his office, he leaves out the numbers, as if to maintain some confidentiality. He says, "My chambers were upstairs at No. - Wall Street." This imagery attempt of not disclosing the exact address gives the reader the notion that the events really occurred at some specific place, when in fact, none of it actually did.

 
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