In "Bartleby the Scrivener," why does Bartleby stare out the window or lurk behind a screen?

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Yes, it is interesting to note the way in which the enigmatic character of Bartleby is presented as always being hemmed in in some way. Consider how the office of the narrator only overlooks walls on every side, as the windows command "an unobstructed view of a lofty brick wall." Bartleby has his own little "hermitage" where he works, and the narrator tells us that he has the habit of staring at the wall out of the window blankly, in a "dead-wall reverie." Note how the narrator organises Bartleby's working space and the emphasis on confinement and lack of freedom:

I placed his desk close up to a small...

(The entire section contains 320 words.)

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