What is the lawyer's attitude toward Bartleby and how does it change in "Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street"?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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In "Bartleby the Scrivener, A Tale of Wall Street," the lawyer's initial attitude toward Bartleby is one of optimism and good will. He recognizes a proficiency and skill in Bartleby's clerical abilities that perfectly suit the needs he has. In addition, he recognizes in Bartleby a quietness and sobriety of spirit that suits him, therefore he positions Bartleby's desk in his own portion of the offices on his side of the partition to have Bartleby within easy summons for special tasks.

After Bartleby undergoes his change, sits in reveries staring at the dead wall out his window, and prefers not to do any copying or proofreading, the lawyer's attitude changes to one of confusion and bewilderment toward Bartleby. The lawyer has already firmly established that he doesn't give in to anger nor does he "indulge in dangerous indignation at wrongs and outrages," so he never descends to anger at Bartleby, even through the worst of the peculiarities leading up to Bartleby's arrest for vagrancy and his subsequent death.