Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street Questions and Answers
by Herman Melville

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Can someone please help me answering the following questions about "Bartleby the Scrivener": 1. Why do you think Turkey, Nippers, and Ginger Nut are introduced to the reader before Bartleby? 2. Describe Bartleby's physical characteristics. How is his physical description a foreshadowing of what happens to him? 3. What is the significance of the subtitle: "A Story of Wall Street"? 4. What motivates Bartleby's behavior? Why do you think Melville withholds the information about the Dead Letter Office until the end of the story? Does this background adequately explain Bartleby? 5. Do you think Melville sympathize more with Bartleby or with the lawyer?

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  1. Turkey, Nippers, and Ginger Nut are introduced before Bartleby to show how tolerant the narrator generally is of eccentric and somewhat unproductive employees. For example, Nippers is irritable in the morning hours, while Turkey is erratic and messy in the afternoon. Ginger Nut, the errand boy, spends most of his time procuring cakes for the office. Nevertheless, although the narrator has some quibbles with them and even tries to dismiss Turkey, he never does so because he desires the easiest life. Therefore, even though Bartleby is inert, the narrator takes some time to dismiss him, and it is obviously traumatic for the narrator to have to take any extreme steps.
  2. When Bartleby first appears, the narrator describes him as "pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, incurably forlorn!" His forlorn and decrepit nature will only worsen as the story goes on, and he is eventually thrown out of the narrator's firm.
  3. The story takes place on Wall Street in New York City, and the walls in the story are...

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