Bartleby a “character” in the

January 10, 2017 General Studies

Within the story “Bartleby, the Scrivener”, Bartleby’s character plays a major role within the story. Bartleby’s character had an affect on the people he worked with and his surroundings added to the dullness of his character. “I think, sir, he’s a little loony,” replied Ginger Nut, with a grin” (466). Bartleby is an isolated character, his window stares at a wall, which causes him to frequently stare into his “own world.” He chooses to not work and become the not so “typical” person. Bartleby was a scrivener, or a legal copyist. He is incredibly passive, quiet, and never once became angry. Bartleby is an uncompromising character. He finds life itself to be pointless. His trademark sentence, “I would prefer not to,” marks his continuing disconnection from the world. Each time Bartleby states it, he is refusing not only a task, but one of the formal procedures that make up a normal life. Bartleby does not want to do anything; the fact of trying to live tires him. .

Bartleby continues to surprise the people around him; his isolated character shows how he often creates a disconnection. When Bartleby is asked to help proofread one of the documents he copied, he answers simply, “I would prefer not to.” It is the first of many refusals. To the shock of the narrator and the irritation of the other employees, Bartleby takes part in fewer and fewer duties around the office. He doesn’t seem to want to be that “typical” laborer. The narrator makes several attempts to reason with Bartleby and learn about him, but Bartleby always responds the same way when asked to do a task or give out information about him: “I would prefer not to.” The narrator often puts up with Bartleby’s behavior. Bartleby’s personality typically would get him in trouble with any other boss or job he would take part in. His persistent comments on “preferring not to” perform his tasks at his job makes him the character he is. “With any other man I should have flown outright into a dreadful passion, scorned all further words, and thrust him ignominiously from my presence.

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