Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville.

Essay by indians1877High School, 11th gradeA+, December 2002

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In Herman Melville's work entitled Bartleby the Scrivener, the narrator is an elderly lawyer who works in his office on Wall Street. He proves to be intelligent, even-tempered, and conscientious. The unnamed lawyer possesses a good business mind and appears quite successful. Another trait of the narrator's personality is his ability to interact and deal with people. This attribute is greatly tested when he meets Bartleby and his passive oppression. The lawyer displays an unbelievable amount of patience when dealing with Bartleby. Most bosses would have fired the pitiful scrivener the first time he refused to work. The narrator does not terminate Bartleby mostly because he is so puzzled by the behavior of the strange man. When the lawyer discovers that Bartleby has been living in the office, he demonstrates a great deal of sympathy. Eventually, the narrator portrays an unbelievable amount of compassion by changing offices and allowing Bartleby to live in his old office.

When this does not work, the lawyer asks the pathetic scrivener if he would like to live with him. These extreme acts of kindness illuminate the type of character the narrator is.

Melville chooses to tell the story through the disposition of the lawyer in order to add complexity and interest to the tale. If the narrator was like most bosses in business, he would have fired Bartleby, kicked him out of the office, and that would have been the end of the situation. Since the lawyer was so compassionate and interested in the personality of Bartleby, he allowed the pitiful man to stick around. The mysteriousness of the scrivener is what really grabs the reader's attention. The fact that the narrator is calm and even-tempered proves that his view of Bartleby is pure and unaffected by mental problems. Another interesting...