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

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In the story "Bartleby the Scrivener" by Herman Melville, what is the significance of the setting? What could be some examples of a thesis about analyzing the setting of the story?

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Melville's title itself, "Bartleby the Scrivener:  A Tale of Wall Street" indicates the significance of the setting as well as characterizing it.  For, the lawyers chambers look upon a white wall of the interior of a spacious sky-light shaft and a lofty brick wall, while the other chambers have little if no views.  Bartleby works in a corner by the folding doors behind a screen and has a window that "commanded at present no view at all.   After Bartleby works under these conditions for some time, he begins to say "I would prefer not to" when asked by his employer to perform certain tasks.  Eventually, the "inscrtable scrivener" retreats whenever possible "into his hermitage" of folding wall and viewless window. 

Even when the lawyer moves to another office and the screen is folded leaving him the "motionless occupant of a naked room," Bartleby does not move.  He haunts the building until he is taken the the Halls of Justice.  There at the prison, Bartleby merely stands...

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In "Bartleby the Scrivener" the setting is a dull office with nothing but the barest of furnishings. The setting never changes. The significance is that it is very impersonal. There is nothing of the people who work there in the office. No personality. Like Bartleby.