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

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

The last words of “Bartleby the Scrivener” can be seen as a lament for the sheer absurdity of Bartleby's existence. They come after the lawyer narrator, Bartleby's former employer, has heard a...

Latest answer posted August 20, 2020, 7:59 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

First of all, Bartleby does not exactly "refuse" his work; instead, he repeatedly insists that he "prefers" not to do it. At first Bartleby "gorges himself" on his work and labors "silent, palely,...

Latest answer posted November 11, 2019, 4:30 am (UTC)

4 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Walls repeatedly symbolize Bartleby's walled-in existence, representing his lack of anything in life to look forward to. Not only do they reflect his despairing mental state, they reinforce it. In...

Latest answer posted December 2, 2019, 5:58 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Without wishing to sound in any way evasive, I sympathize with both characters. I sympathize with Bartelby, because it's clear that there's something wrong with him; I also sympathize with his...

Latest answer posted February 11, 2019, 7:40 am (UTC)

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Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

"Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street" is a darkly comic short story that satirizes the nature of work and its role in ascribing meaning to our lives. The comedy in the story also raises...

Latest answer posted May 24, 2018, 11:21 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

The subtitle, “A Story of Wall Street,” appears to refer to the famous street in Manhattan, and would seem to support a particular reading of the story, in which Bartleby can be seen as an...

Latest answer posted May 4, 2016, 1:01 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Bartleby is neither lazy nor crazy. We are led to believe (though the lawyer stresses that he doesn't know with certainty) that Bartleby suffers from despair. He starts off in his job as a hard...

Latest answer posted January 16, 2020, 1:55 pm (UTC)

6 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

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....

Latest answer posted February 14, 2018, 2:37 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Turkey, Nipper, and Ginger Nut are introduced first to prepare us for why the lawyer is initially so delighted with Bartleby. We learn from the first three employees that it is apparently hard to...

Latest answer posted May 1, 2019, 1:28 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

As a "safe" and "prudent" man, the narrator positions himself to be a both a casual and unbiased observer of Bartleby. Indeed, in the first few paragraphs, his tone and diction indicate that he is...

Latest answer posted May 16, 2007, 11:35 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Yours is an intriguing question. However, I don't see how anyone can hope to make an accurate diagnosis of a fictional character. Bartleby is just a creation of Herman Melville. If Bartleby seems...

Latest answer posted November 9, 2014, 2:29 pm (UTC)

5 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Turkey, Nippers, and Ginger Nut are introduced before Bartleby to show how tolerant the narrator generally is of eccentric and somewhat unproductive employees. For example, Nippers is irritable in...

Latest answer posted September 1, 2017, 7:38 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

“Slippage” refers to the idea that meaning is not neatly contained by words but is always in a state of flux, subject to the arbitrary relationship between (for example) the word “tree” and what we...

Latest answer posted September 8, 2018, 1:18 pm (UTC)

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Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

This answer is perfectly legitimate, but ignores the deeper significance of Bartleby’s “I prefer not to.” Melville is trying to dramatize the difference between goal-driven action and personal...

Latest answer posted October 14, 2016, 4:11 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Near the end of Bartleby, the Scrivener, Bartleby dies in the Tombs prison, where has been sent because of his homelessness. Bartleby dies of starvation in prison because he prefers not to eat...

Latest answer posted April 29, 2017, 10:37 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

To start a good thesis, I'd suggest honing in on which parts of the story really speak to you. What message do you think the author is trying to deliver, and how can you present that as an...

Latest answer posted July 11, 2019, 3:16 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

At the beginning of the story, the lawyer describes himself as an older man and a person who has sought an easy path through life, although also one that makes him a good deal of money. He uses as...

Latest answer posted November 15, 2019, 1:20 pm (UTC)

5 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

One of the themes of this story revolves around urban society in that late 19th century. It was important then, as it often is now, to conform to a certain role in order to be recognized. Once...

Latest answer posted March 30, 2008, 10:37 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Melville chooses the lawyer who hired Bartleby to narrate Bartleby's story. The lawyer writes in the first person. I believe Melville made this decision because he wanted to convey an outsider's...

Latest answer posted February 8, 2018, 12:56 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Wall Street is of course the heart of New York's financial district, the epicenter of the global capitalist economy. Even in Herman Melville's day it was a thriving hub of commerce. In the midst of...

Latest answer posted April 27, 2018, 7:52 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

In many ways, Melville’s story "Bartleby the Scrivener" can be read as an allegory for the human condition. Man is fated to die, as are other animals. However, unlike other animals, man is aware of...

Latest answer posted December 28, 2019, 8:42 pm (UTC)

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Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

It can be argued that Turkey, Nippers, and Ginger Nut are introduced to readers before Bartleby for two key reasons. First, the author wants to demonstrate why the narrator is initially drawn to...

Latest answer posted October 10, 2017, 6:05 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

The lawyer narrator describes himself as a pillar of salt long before he refers to Bartleby either as a "fixture" or as a "column" in a "ruined temple." The pillar of salt comment comes as Bartleby...

Latest answer posted November 11, 2019, 11:23 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Early in the story the tone is "normal" and reflects the work setting. The scene is set in a typical office with typical workers, albeit each with idiosyncrasies. In short, it is a normal office...

Latest answer posted May 13, 2015, 4:02 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

We never find out definitively why Bartleby shuts down and decides he "prefers not to" do any work whatsoever. However, the sympathetic and kind-hearted lawyer employer who takes an interest in him...

Latest answer posted October 8, 2019, 11:45 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

In Chapter 21 ("XXI,") as the men make their way to the cell known as "One Hundred and Five, North Tower," the mood is tense and spooky. They enter the room, and here's the narrator's direct...

Latest answer posted April 14, 2016, 7:33 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

These individuals, who range in age from 12 to almost 60, are Bartleby's coworkers. The lawyer who hires Bartleby at first hopes this new employee, because of his "singularly sedate" personality,...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2018, 3:25 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

It's Bartelby's story. He is the main character, and what happens in the story is all about him and what he does or doesn't do. This most singular of characters is unusual in that he's both the...

Latest answer posted September 13, 2018, 9:57 am (UTC)

3 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

One could certainly argue that the titular character in Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener: A Tale of Wall Street” is representative of the alienation of modern life. Bartleby works himself...

Latest answer posted July 17, 2018, 7:28 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

The first paragraph of the story has a lot of information in it, but most of the information has to do with things we infer about the narrator from the way he writes, rather than what he actually...

Latest answer posted March 17, 2016, 12:18 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Yes, it is interesting to note the way in which the enigmatic character of Bartleby is presented as always being hemmed in in some way. Consider how the office of the narrator only overlooks walls...

Latest answer posted June 30, 2011, 9:23 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

The narrator is a kind-hearted man, but he cannot get Bartleby to budge from his offices or do any work. He first tries to coax him to leave. He also tries to bribe him with money, but Bartleby...

Latest answer posted April 29, 2017, 10:56 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Because "Bartleby the Scrivener" is told by a first-person narrator with a strong sympathy for Bartleby, we can't accept all the judgments in the story as reliable. The narrator himself, Bartleby's...

Latest answer posted February 25, 2019, 10:23 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

It may well be that the narrator of this tale, a rather successful Wall Street business man, had hired Bartleby at the very end of Bartleby's ability to cope. Indeed, Bartleby did, at first, work...

Latest answer posted November 10, 2009, 1:44 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

The lawyer, who feels sympathy and compassion towards Bartleby, nevertheless wants him to leave the office for good after Bartleby repeatedly states that he "prefers not" to do work anymore....

Latest answer posted October 2, 2020, 5:00 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

To address the first question, the narrator believes that Turkey and Nippers provide a good natural arrangement for him because of how their daily routines complement each other. Though both clerks...

Latest answer posted June 16, 2021, 4:41 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Bartleby has a strange effect on the narrator, a lawyer who employs Bartleby as his scrivener (a person who copies documents). The lawyer increasingly falls under Bartleby's spell as he comes to...

Latest answer posted April 23, 2019, 5:06 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Herman Melville was writing for the educated elite literary audience of his day. These were the individuals who had a sound background in classics and a compelling interest in political affairs of...

Latest answer posted January 28, 2010, 1:48 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

The story's narrator puts up with his negative opinions about Bartleby for some time. Finally, however, when the fired Bartleby refuses to leave and remains a statue-like fixture in the office, the...

Latest answer posted February 25, 2019, 11:00 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

It is interesting to note that the narrator remains unnamed, even though the other characters have either names or nicknames. This makes the narrator a bit of an everyman, and allows the readers...

Latest answer posted October 17, 2007, 11:54 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Bartleby is, quite simply, looking for a job when he goes to Wall Street. What Bartleby sees that the lawyer does not is a meaningless to life. While working in the dead letter office, Bartleby...

Latest answer posted December 3, 2007, 9:44 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

Bartleby’s response does upset his lawyer employer, although his fellow employees, Nipper, Turkey, and Gingernut, are hardly without their eccentricities as well. It always struck me as odd that...

Latest answer posted March 4, 2018, 1:57 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

From the start of Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street," the scrivener is presented as a man of extreme "motionless;" he is pallid (or pale), pitiable and forlorn. Pallid is...

Latest answer posted May 24, 2013, 2:17 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

In the first few paragraphs of "Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street," Melville paints a picture of the lawyer as an elderly, orderly, calm, successful though not professionally energetic,...

Latest answer posted May 17, 2010, 12:48 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

In "Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall street," by Herman Melville, there are several passages in which the narrator would seem the main character with his internal struggle of how to best deal...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2011, 11:35 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

To understand the term slippage, one will have to understand the terms signified and signifier. The signified can be defined as the meaning or general idea of a given sign. The signifier can be...

Latest answer posted April 15, 2021, 3:32 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

The lawyer who narrates the story has long been puzzled over Bartleby's behavior. Why did his scrivener, whose job it was to spend his days copying out and then checking the accuracy of legal...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2017, 11:02 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

The lawyer who hires Bartleby as a clerk is at first pleased with his diligence and good work habits. He later becomes becomes frustrated and perplexed as Bartleby begins picking and choosing what...

Latest answer posted September 16, 2017, 4:03 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

The words "Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!" equate Bartleby's situation with humanity's: we all are subjected to the kind of grief, loss, and isolation Bartley experiences because our attempts to...

Latest answer posted July 17, 2020, 11:44 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street

I am not convinced by this approach. Non-violence as in the way it was utilised by Ghandi and Civil Rights protestors was a conscious assertion of power and might to protest. Bartleby just can't be...

Latest answer posted September 23, 2011, 8:31 pm (UTC)

5 educator answers

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