In Bartleby, the Scrivener, the narrator introduces three other workers: Turkey, Nippers, and Ginger Nut. What are they like?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pertaining to the three employees of the narrator of Bartleby, the Scrivener, their nicknames are Turkey, Nippers and Ginger Nut. Turkey and Nippers are copyists. Turkey is approaching 60 years old and Nippers is about 25 years old. Ginger Nut is an office boy and apprentice law student of twelve years old.

Turkey is the one the narrator has the most to say about because Turkey is the oldest and presumably in his employee the longest. In the morning Turkey is diligent and an earnest worker who is an exceptional copyist (producing flawless handwritten copies of legal documents). But after stepping out at noon to eat lunch (or dinner, as they called it), he invariably comes back flushed and in a nervous hyper-energetic condition, the result of which is ink blotches on important legal documents. The narrator values his service and is accommodating (overly accommodating) of Turkey's strange afternoon behavior, even offering to let Turkey work half a day, a suggestion Turkey rejects. The narrator comments, "...he would not go. So I made up my mind to let him stay."

Nippers, the second copyist, also of remarkable skill, is anxious and agitated in the morning (while Turkey is calm) and wages an on-going battle with his scrivener's desk in attempt to make it comfortable and conducive to productive work--a battle he never wins though he may try ever so hard. After lunch, Nippers is calm and productive--when he chooses to be--and battles less with his desk (while Turkey gears up for blotting all the documents in hyper-activity).

Ginger Nut, the office boy and law student, mostly cleans, ignores his desk and studies, and goes on errands to fetch cakes and apples for Turkey and Nippers. So he is a student who doesn't really want to be one.

Then enters Bartleby whom the narrator hopes will influence the other with his quiet industrious ways but whom we learn "would prefer not to." And the narrator doesn't know how to free himself of any of these individuals!

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