Discuss the narrators responsibility for conflict in "Bartleby the Scrivener"

Essay by Jade5055University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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The narrator in "Bartleby the Scrivener" is a highly respected, successful, and highly self-righteous lawyer. He has several employees who work for him in his offices, each with their own quirks. He tends just to let them all do as they wish, as it is easier for him this way. He does not like to deal with conflicting situations.

The conflicting character, Bartleby, does his job very well at first. In fact, the owner feels that he will not be causing any problems. However, shortly after Bartleby starts displaying warning signs and actions that he has issues to deal with. The narrator nicely tries to deal with him, rather than calling the police and having him removed. Since Bartleby will not leave, the narrator decides just to move into a new building, thus, new tenants call the police and have Bartleby removed.

The narrator contributes to the conflict in that he does not want to have to deal with any situation himself.

Rather, he tries to justify Bartleby and his actions. From appearance to Bartleby's presence, the narrator uses his self-righteousness to try and use these instances as Christian charity.

"Here I can cheaply purchase a delicious self-approval. To befriend Bartleby; to humor him in his strange willfulness, will cost me little or nothing, while I lay up in my soul what will eventually prove a sweet morsel for my conscience. [. . .] billeted upon me for some mysterious purpose of an all-wise Providence, which it was not for a mere mortal like me to fathom."

These excuses only show the cowardly character of the narrator, who is simply unable to deal with a conflicting and uncomfortable situation. In this respect, he is to blame for the demise that befalls Bartleby.

In the narrators' life,