"Bartleby, the scrivener" by Herman Melville

Essay by xiaoxiaoyuxieCollege, Undergraduate July 2007

download word file, 3 pages 3.0

Downloaded 46 times

Have you ever tried to provide help for someone who refused it at the end? There is no doubt that the help becomes meaningless, even though the person is really eager to give a hand. In the short story "Bartleby, the scrivener" by Herman Melville, the narrator, a lawyer, who was considered as an "eminently safe man" (56). He dealt with the business that took few risks and believed that the easiest path in life was always the best. The lawyer was such a peaceful man, but Bartleby exerted a strange power over him. The narrator's attempts to learn about and help Bartleby were always unsuccessful, because of the failure to connect.

The lawyer's ignorance about Bartleby was one of the reasons that they failed to connect. Bartleby was a "pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, incurably forlorn" person whom the lawyer supposed to balance upon Turkey and Nippers (61).

When Bartleby was asked to proofread a legal document, he refused by saying "I would prefer not to" (63). The lawyer wondered that why his employee chose to not do the work that supposed to be done. Yet he gave up at this time due to the hurried business. Bartleby was a isolated character that needed warmth from people. If the lawyer tried to deal with the problem immediately, Bartleby might open his heart to him. The lawyer did not face the problem right away when it happened, so that Bartleby definitely would do it again in the future.

Bartleby's complete refusal to the lawyer was another reason of the problem. The lawyer found Bartleby had given up working altogether. His responsibility and compassion as an employer decided to respect Bartleby; because he saw that the ginger nut cakes that the office boy brought seemed to be what Bartleby lived...