In Bartleby the Scrivener, how does the Lawyer's description of himself serve to characterize him? Why is it significant that he is a lawyer?
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It characterizes him first as an authority, by establishing how long he's been in the profession and how many scriveners he's seen. It establishes him second as a different kind of authority. That is to say, he says he's the kind of lawyer who does not appear in court. Therefore, while learned and experienced, he is not given to ego. This report is, in its way, research rather than drama.
Third, it shows he has self-knowledge and a kind of cynical humility. This can be seen when he refers to how much he prefers an easy life.
And finally, his statement that he likes safety will make Bartleby's actions all the more impressive.
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