In "Bartleby the Scrivener," find two passages that explain Bartleby's scars affecting or causing his strange behavior.

In "Bartleby the Scrivener," Bartleby demonstrates his scars when he tells the lawyer, “No more.” This passage suggests that Bartleby can’t take anymore damage. Another passage that links Bartleby’s scars and behavior is the Sunday morning scene. Bartleby’s scars seem to be so extensive that he can’t get away from them. He has no choice but to reside in the location of his trauma.

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In some of Herman Melville’s stories, the characters’ scars are explicit: In Melville’s Moby Dick, Captain Ahab’s scar is overt and obvious. The whale Ahab was hunting tore off his leg. In "Bartleby the Scrivener," the eponymous character isn’t missing a leg (or any other body part). Yet he does appear to be significantly scarred or damaged.

As you probably remember, Bartleby is a scribe. He spends his days copying documents and letters for a lawyer. Perhaps the constant mechanical work scarred or damaged him. Maybe it turned Bartleby into a machine. Although, it probably hasn’t turned Bartleby into a complete automaton. He still has some agency. He can still resist. Remember, Bartleby tells his employer, “I would prefer not to.”

One poignant passage of resistance that seems to single out Bartleby's scars is when the lawyer exclaims, “Why, how now? What next? Do no more writing?”

Bartleby replies, “No more.”

The “no more” might betray the extent to which Bartleby has been scarred. He’s been damaged enough by the lifeless work. He can’t take anymore trauma.

Yet it might be reasonable to wonder why Bartleby doesn’t leave. If Bartleby is as injured by the work as he seems to be, perhaps he shouldn’t stick around the office. With that being said, you might argue Bartleby’s scarring is so vast that he can no longer separate himself from his scars. For an example of how Bartleby turns his scars into a kind of home or shelter, you might want to review the scene in which the lawyer finds Bartleby at the office on a Sunday morning.

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