Is the narrator of "Bartleby the Scrivener" a victim of the same misery that has undone Bartleby?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I believe it was Herman Melville's intention to draw a sharp contrast between Bartleby and his employer. Bartleby is a loner, an introvert. He wants to work alone and to be left alone. The narrator seems to be a jovial and sociable kind of man who likes working with people and is curious about people. The narrator's character seems to shine forth in the tone of his story. He obviously has a sense of humor, which he shows in describing the other men who work for him and even in describing some of his own behavior. The story he tells about Bartleby is both funny and sad, and this is largely because of the character of the narrator and his tolerant perspective. He seems to be the kind of employer who attracts eccentric men to work for him. He even tries to put up with Bartleby, but this proves to be impossible.

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