Bartleby the Scrivener


detail the path that bartleby's life takes as a scrivener in his current copying office.

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Bartleby doesn't really take a path in the novel. He's hired at a law office as a scrivener, a scribe if you will, and it's his job to make copies. Bartleby's catch phrase is "I would prefer not to," and this is about all we get from him throughout the novel. His character doesn't come full circle, and yet I believe that it was Melville's intention that he didn't.

We know very little about Bartleby, except that his stock answer removes him from most situations. He leaves himself blameless and gives no one cause to move against him, not withstanding the fact that the response exasperates his employer. All in all, the taken path relates more to the lawyer than it does his scribe.


SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Melville Stories.” SparkNotes LLC. n.d.. Web. 18 Oct. 2011.