The lawyer who narrates the story is initially glad to have Bartleby as an employee because he does good work and does it for long hours, but the lawyer wishes Bartleby had a less gloomy demeanor.
When Bartleby stops doing most types of work, insisting that he " would prefer not to," the lawyer is at first annoyed. However, rather than fire him, the lawyer tolerates him coming to work and refusing work:
With any other man I should have flown outright into a dreadful passion, scorned all further words, and thrust him ignominiously from my presence. But there was something about Bartleby that not only strangely disarmed me, but in a wonderful manner touched and disconcerted me.
Bartleby becomes an increasingly perplexing problem for the lawyer, who simply does not comprehend why Bartleby will neither work nor leave. Eventually, he has to sever himself from Bartleby, but he continues to have compassion for him. Bartleby, to him, is not simply a widget who can be disposed of the moment he...
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