In "Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street," how would you explain the appropriateness of Nipper's nickname?

1 Answer | Add Yours

kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

The definition of "nip" is to pinch or to steal. Apparently, Nippers has a couple of pastimes that have to do with taking a pinch of something and possibly dealing with people who take a pinch of something else. An established informal usage of "nip" is to mean to take a small amount of alcohol to drink, which Nippers does at lunch thereby steadying his nerves and his focus, which are apparently unsteadied by more than nipping t alcohol during the night. The "clients" who come to see him who look like "bill collectors" could be people he places gambling bets with thereby trying to nip a little good luck on the side. Based on these two circumstances relating to the meaning of "nip," Nippers is very well suited to his nickname.

We’ve answered 317,727 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question