Commentary on “Bartleby, the Scrivener”: The character of thenarrator might be identified as a rather self-centered man who would rather’prefer not to’ undergo a confrontation with any of his employees. This isevident in his decriptions of the employees and his so-called good intentionswhen he sets himself as a tolerant, conducive man.
It is obvious that hisintentions and actions are only for his own self interest and his wanting to bethought of as helping those who are not as fortunate as he. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-* Copyright DueNow.com Inc. *Category:Book ReportsPaper Title:Commentary on “Bartleby, the Scrivener”Text:The character of the narrator might be identified as a rather self-centeredman who would rather ‘prefer not to’ undergo a confrontation with any of hisemployees. This is evident in his decriptions of the employees and his so-calledgood intentions when he sets himself as a tolerant, conducive man. It is obviousthat his intentions and actions are only for his own self interest and hiswanting to be thought of as helping those who are not as fortunate as he. Allalong what he hopes to achieve with his charity is to help sooth his own visionby improving the physical state of others.
His avoidance of confrontation isquite evident when he actually moves out of his office instead of havingBartleby physically removed by the authorities. His character is tested withBartleby’s passive-aggressive attitude though I can not agree totally that he is”softened” by his acquaintance with Bartleby because in some regardshe was already soft. Bartleby is definetly cut from a stronger cloth although hecertainly has his own mode of communication.
He does not give into the WallStreet hardness and does not do anything that does not suit him. He takes lifefor what it is worth…nothing more and nothing less. Even though he literallydoes not ask for anything, he sends his message loud and clear: I will do what Ifeel necessary to survive and everything else, ” I would prefer notto.” It is somewhat comical that in the strong corporate atmosphere of thebusiness world, you have a boss that would ‘prefer to’ no sooner pack it up andget away from an employee than to have to deal with him. All in all, thenarrator is not cold and does end up with a conscience which is evident by hischecking on Bartleby both at the old office and the jail.
I think Barltebychallenged him in a way that he had never been challenged before and quitehonestly he did not know exactly what to do with him. Jamie FinkelmanI find the relationship between the author and Bartleby to be a very strange,unrealistic one, at least in today’s society. Bartleby, an employee of theauthor, is under the command of the author, and is getting paid to do what theauthor says to do. Although Bartleby is very polite and unconfrontational whenrefusing to do a job the author requests, Bartleby IS refusing. If he’s notdoing what his boss says as pertaining to his job, he shouldn’t get paid. Thejob is not getting done. If there was a situation like this that happened todayin most any workplace, I would think that the uncompliant employee would beterminated from his/her position that day. The author however, just allowsBartleby to act in whatever way he chooses even when Bartleby is doingabsolutely no work whatsoever.
An employer today would view this behavior as adamage to his wallet and would therefore waste no time firing the employee. I,personally, would have fired Bartleby because he would not even give a reason asto why he would not do anything.Jennifer, I think the strange relationship betweenBartleby and the employer is supposed to seemunrealistic. it makes the reader, especially modernones, think exactly the way you did in your post. Thefact that employers would not or should not put up withthis kind of insubordination is exactly true. It makesyou wonder what is it about Bartleby that makes theemployer sympathetic to his “needs”.
The boss seems tounderstand that there is something intrinsically wrongwith Bartleby, an underlying sadness that he cannotdetermine the cause of, and I think he cares for him agreat deal and also pities him as well. This is why hedoes not fire him or take extreme measures until heabsolutely has to.Jen, I see what you mean about Bartlebys relationship with the author.