Bartleby, The Scrivener short summary & analysis

Bartleby, The Scrivener


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Bartleby, The Scrivener - Herman Melville

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Bartleby, The Scrivener Analysis

Bartleby, the Scrivener is the novel of Herman Melville, published in 1853. This short seventy-five-page novel is the kind that absorbs the reader.

Bartleby, The Scrivener Short Summary

The short summary of the book is as follows:

The gentleman who owns the sealing office, the narrator of the book, starts to look for a clerk who will work with him when the work gets more and more and three clerks working with him are not enough. The next morning, someone appears like a ghost at the door. He says he came for the clerk job. And he is immediately accepted due to his calm appearance. They learn that his name is Bartleby. Bartleby begins to work non-stop. He copies the longest texts one after another. He comes to the office at the earliest, and he leaves at the latest.

One day, our office owner, and also narrator, calls Bartleby, who works in the chamber separated from his room with a folding screen, to dictate the four long texts he wrote that morning. The answer he received was calmly said, "I prefer not to." Our terrified narrator gets the answer "I prefer not to do it" when he asks why. Other clerks get upset at this. After all, they will control Bartleby's papers. But his bosses do not want to get upset about this. The polite voice and unchanging facial expression Bartleby uses while challenging the given task prevents him from getting angry.

In the following days, Bartleby starts to answer "I prefer not to do" not only to dictate the texts he wrote but also to go to the post office or to bring a desired item. Although his boss is angry at this, he tolerates Bartleby's work because he works day and night.

On a Sunday, our narrator decides to stop by the office when he comes to town for a job. When he inserts the key in the lock, he realizes that something is obstructing. Bartleby is not available; he says stop by later. Confused, the sealer still goes back and returns soon. Bartleby is gone, but he left his things behind. The sealer is angry with this, he should not use the office like a house without paying rent. When he comes to work the next day, he finds Bartleby in place. He tells him to find another place to stay, but his response is "I prefer to stay". After a while, Bartleby starts doing nothing, and after all of sealer’s effort he does not leave, so sealer decides to move his office. Since they have few items, they move the office to another place the next day. Although he has not heard from Bartleby for a while, one day the owner of his old office comes up. Bartleby remained at the office, and when he forced him out of there, he did not leave the building. He says that Bartleby had been working in his office for a while, but then he was fired. The owner goes away and returns a few days later. They will complain Bartleby to the police. He says that it will be appropriate to speak for the last time since he knows him best. The sealer speaks to him for the last time but still cannot convince. Then they send Bartleby to prison.

The sealer visits Bartleby in prison, but Bartleby makes a few accusations against him, and then prefers not to talk to him. According to the guard, he doesn't eat any food. During his next visit, our narrator finds Bartleby dead with his knees on his stomach and lying on the ground in the courtyard of the prison.
Oh Bartleby! Oh humanity!


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