Bartleby the Scrivener

Consider the range of scriveners that show up in Melville’s tale. Drawing on details from the story itself, consider why Melville chooses to put scriveners at the center of his tale?

In the opening lines of Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” the narrator notes that nothing he knows of has yet been written about scriveners, or law-copyists, “what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men.” Although he soon makes Bartleby, the “strangest I ever saw or heard of,” the focus of the story, the narrator’s more general interest in scriveners as a set or class of men arguably remains throughout.

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