Bianca's Reviews > Bartleby, the Scrivener

Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville
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Aug 02, 11

Read in June, 2011

A short and insightful novella that reminded me of Waiting for Godot and Kafka's The Metamorphosis. This tale is not about the beginning or the end, but a statement on how we treat people who may be perceived as an inconvenience. It reminds me of a metaphor on the elderly in society. Bartleby is employed by a lawyer and Bartleby prefers not to engage in any other activity other than to copy documents. Then he says he would prefer not to perform this act anymore, and lives in the lawyer's office, never leaving. The lawyer decides to move to rid himself of Bartleby, and still he remains in the offices. The new renter implores the lawyer to remove Bartleby, after the lawyer attempts to remove Bartleby, he believes he does not need to act any further. Bartleby eventually is thrown in prison, and dies. We know nothing of Bartleby's history or his motivations for not leaving the office - but I felt profoundly sorry for this character. A great novella on modern society even though it was written a while ago.
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