Bartleby the Scrivener

Changed for the Better? College

It’s been said that people come into our lives for a reason. They bring change in ways we least expect. “Bartleby, the Scrivener”, by Herman Melville, is the story of a lawyer who hires a new scribe for the office. At first, everything seems to go well aside from the fact that Bartleby exclusively transcribes because he “prefers not to” do any other work. Soon after, Bartleby refuses to do any work at all. He eventually uproots his entire firm to another building attempting to leave the whole Bartleby situation behind him; however, the problems still follow. Eventually, the police are called; Bartleby is removed from the office and put in a prison where the narrator finds him starved to death because he “prefer[d] not to” eat. The narrator of this story embodies the tragic hero created by Camus. In “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, the narrator also has trouble with another character: his brother. This short story tells of the absurd hero, a teacher whose brother was busted for drug possession and use. He never really understood his brother and his dream of being a jazz pianist; he never really tried to understand until after the narrator’s daughter died. When Sonny got out of jail, the narrator invited him to stay at his house...

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