Bartleby, from Herman Melville's short story "Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street," embodies the characterization of the "introvert" in various ways. In fact, the reader is quickly informed by the story's narrator, the lawyer for whom Bartleby has come to work as a scrivener, that "While of other law-copyists I might write the complete life, of Bartleby nothing of that sort can be done." An introvert's trait of not routinely engaging in small talk can be inferred from the narrator's observation.
Similarly, introverts prefer working alone and will often refrain, if at all possible, from working on assignments in groups. While Bartleby initially completed long and dull copying projects efficiently on his own, joining others to participate in even quick tasks was not an option for him. This is seen not only later in the story, when Bartleby will not join the rest of the office in reviewing a document, but even early on, when Bartleby is asked to "examine a small" paper with only the lawyer:
In this very attitude did I sit when I called to him, rapidly stating what it was I wanted him to do—namely, to examine a small paper with me. Imagine my surprise, nay, my consternation, when without moving from his privacy, Bartleby in a singularly mild, firm voice, replied, "I would prefer not to."
"I would prefer not to" becomes, throughout the story, Bartleby's most consistent and effective refrain, enabling him to engage or, more accurately, not engage according to his preference.
Also, introverts typically prefer solitude or will seek out solitude, especially after social interactions. Bartleby epitomizes this characteristic to the extreme. When describing his horror at discovering that Bartleby is in fact living in his law offices, the lawyer concludes,
His poverty is great; but his solitude, how horrible! Think of it. Of a Sunday, Wall-street is deserted as Petra; and every night of every day it is an emptiness. This building too, which of week-days hums with industry and life, at nightfall echoes with sheer vacancy, and all through Sunday is forlorn. And here Bartleby makes his home; sole spectator of a solitude which he has seen all populous—a sort of innocent and transformed Marius brooding among the ruins of Carthage!
Not being an introvert himself, the lawyer cannot fathom, so much so that his language exudes hyperbole, the misery of one who would choose such a "forlorn" existence.
Finally, and perhaps a most discouraging fact of introversion, is that those who are not typically socially engaged are often thought of in unfavorable ways. Bartleby's passiveness and lack of verbal forthrightness is mistaken by the lawyer for "haughtiness":
And more than all, I remembered a certain unconscious air of pallid—how shall I call it?—of pallid haughtiness, say, or rather an austere reserve about him, which had positively awed me into my tame compliance with his eccentricities.
Bartleby, like many introverts, does not have the social resources, nor the inclination, to adhere to societal expectations. He is truly a fascinating character, and perhaps his introversion is one of the reasons why!