Bartleby, the Scrivener, Herman Melville, narrator
In Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener", the narrator is confronted with a very difficult and unusual situation. A scrivener hired by the narrator, Bartleby, has stationed himself in the narrators' office and gradually becomes more and more difficult and increasingly stubborn. At first willing to perform his main function as a scrivener - copying documents - Bartleby eventually stops working and "prefers" to do nothing at all. Unwilling to respond to extensive requests by the narrator to perform basic office functions, to seek alternative employment, or communicate at all, Bartleby transforms into a fixture that obstinately stands in the office and does not move.
[...] Additionally, the narrator decides that he will give Bartleby a chance to take money and move on. Instead of call the police, forcing him out physically, or devising some sort of ruthless plan, the narrator decides that he will just leave money on the table, ask Bartleby to kindly leave the office, and then spends a great deal of time ruminating on whether or not his plan will work: After breakfast, I walked downtown, arguing the probabilities pro and con. [...]
[...] Once again, the narrator has no obligation, as an employer who hired Bartleby for a specific purpose, to even do this much. The narrator would be fully justified in just getting rid of Bartleby without actually giving him anything at all, but he feels sympathetic enough and can still find it in his heart to at least try and help the poor man. Although his efforts are unsuccessful—Bartleby does not move but continues to stand around the office—the effort on the part of the narrator is something many others would not consider taking. [...]
[...] At one point, the narrator, realizing the unusual nature of the situation that he was facing, decided that he would do his best to relate to Bartleby and to make him feel comfortable. The narrator never shouted at him or made harsh remarks—he merely tried to reason with him and understand what it was that was bothering him to such an extent. He wanted to know the story behind the prefer not comments, and he wanted a productive employee that would do his job. When the narrator invites Bartleby to his office, he begins to speak with him. [...]
[...] In this instance, the narrator has absolutely no obligation to further assist Bartleby once he is no longer a nuisance to him. Nonetheless, out of his own kindness, the narrator goes out of his way and uses his own money to somehow ensure that Bartleby is taken care of and does not starve. The narrator's fascination with Bartleby and his extensive refusal to take harsh measures in order to get rid of him testify to the fact that the narrator was a considerate individual who truly cared about and sympathized with Bartleby. [...]
[...] Throughout the story, the narrator is focused on Bartleby and makes constant efforts to help him. As an employer, the narrator does not have any responsibility to see to it that Bartleby is taken care of in every area of his life. When he tries to reach out to him and understand him, Bartleby does not respond, and the narrator is left with no choice but to deny his services and ask him to leave the office. After all, he is a gloomy and depressing figure who arouses questions from the narrator's associates. [...]
using our reader.