In Bartleby the Scrivener, what is the narrator forced to do to save his law office when he cannot fire and evict Bartleby?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The narrator is a kind-hearted man, but he cannot get Bartleby to budge from his offices or do any work. He first tries to coax him to leave. He also tries to bribe him with money, but Bartleby always returns it. As the narrator puts it, "Bribes he leaves under your own paperweight on your table."

Since the narrator thinks it would be cruel and heartless to have Bartleby carted off to jail as a vagrant, which is the only other way he can think of to get rid of him, he decides to move his offices to another building. He gives Bartleby advance notice of what is happening so that Bartleby will have time to make other arrangements. He also determines that he will tell Bartleby that if Bartleby shows up in his new offices, he will have him treated as a trespasser. He says to Bartleby as he leaves that he hopes God will find some way to bless him, and he tries to give Bartleby some money, but Bartleby simply lets it drop to the floor. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial