January 12, 2009
Bartleby, The Scrivener
By Herman Melville
Bartleby, The Scrivener by Herman Melville is a story people still cannot exactly figure out. The lawyer, which is the narrator, goes out of his way to help a person whom he knows nothing about. The lawyer allows Bartleby to get paid without working, live in his building, and is the only person who visited Bartleby in prison. People just do not understand what would drive someone to go out of their way to help a stranger.
The lawyer lets Bartleby come in and do nothing while the other workers do his work. It started with Bartleby saying that he would not do a small task and then he just stopped working all together. Every task given to him he would just respond “ I would prefer not to”. The layer pays the other workers extra for doing Bartleby’s work but even though they are being paid, it does not make them happy that they must take on his work also. Letting Bartleby be paid without working is one thing but letting him live in the building while not working is another.
One day the lawyer decides to stop by his office and is appalled to find that his keys do not work. Bartleby comes to the door and asks if he can come back a little later. The lawyer walks around for a while and comes back just like he is asked. He tries to give Bartleby money to leave but Bartleby refuses the money and continues to come to work to do nothing. Most people would have probably shunned Bartleby after this but the lawyer is for some reason compelled to visit him in prison.
The lawyer realizes that Bartleby will not leave the on his own, so he decides to just move his practice to another building. Bartleby stays in the building and eventually the new owner call the police on him. Bartleby is thrown in jail and refuses to speak to anyone. The lawyer goes to visit Bartleby but he fails in his attempt to speak to him. The lawyer arranges for Bartleby to be fed good food in jail. Bartleby refuses to eat and just...