Commentary on "Bartleby the scrivner"

The character of the narrator might be identified as a rather self-centered
man who would rather \'prefer not to\' undergo a confrontation with any of his
employees. This is evident in his decriptions of the employees and his so-called
good intentions when he sets himself as a tolerant, conducive man. It is obvious
that his intentions and actions are only for his own self interest and his
wanting to be thought of as helping those who are not as fortunate as he. All
along what he hopes to achieve with his charity is to help sooth his own vision
by improving the physical state of others. His avoidance of confrontation is
quite evident when he actually moves out of his office instead of having
Bartleby physically removed by the authorities. His character is tested with
Bartleby\'s passive-aggressive attitude though I can not agree totally that he is
"softened" by his acquaintance with Bartleby because in some regards
he was already soft. Bartleby is definetly cut from a stronger cloth although he
certainly has his own mode of communication. He does not give into the Wall
Street hardness and does not do anything that does not suit him. He takes life
for what it is worth...nothing more and nothing less. Even though he literally
does not ask for anything, he sends his message loud and clear: I will do what I
feel necessary to survive and everything else, " I would prefer not
to." It is somewhat comical that in the strong corporate atmosphere of the
business world, you have a boss that would \'prefer to\' no sooner pack it up and
get away from an employee than to have to deal with him. All in all, the
narrator is not cold and does end up with a conscience which is evident by his
checking on Bartleby both at the old office and the jail. I think Barlteby
challenged him in a way that he had never been challenged before and quite
honestly he did not know exactly what to do with him. Jamie Finkelman

I 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 the
author, is under the command of the author, and is getting paid to do what the
author says to do. Although Bartleby is very polite and unconfrontational when
refusing to do a job the author requests, Bartleby IS refusing. If he\'s not
doing what his boss says as pertaining to his job, he shouldn\'t get paid. The
job is not getting done. If there was a situation like this that happened today
in most any workplace, I would think that the uncompliant employee would be
terminated from his/her position that day. The author however, just allows
Bartleby to act in whatever way he chooses even when Bartleby is doing
absolutely no work whatsoever. An employer today would view this behavior as a
damage 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 as
to why he would not do anything.

Jennifer, I think the strange relationship between

Bartleby and the employer is supposed to seem

unrealistic. it makes the reader, especially modern

ones, think exactly the way you did in your post. The

fact that employers would not or should not put up with

this kind of insubordination is exactly true. It makes

you wonder what is it about Bartleby that makes the

employer sympathetic to his "needs". The boss seems to

understand that there is something intrinsically wrong

with Bartleby, an underlying sadness that he cannot

determine the cause of, and I think he cares for him a

great deal and also pities him as well. This is why he

does not fire him or take extreme measures until he

absolutely has to.

Jen, I see what you mean about Bartleby’s relationship with the author. It
does seem very strange. I got the same feeling. I also found it weird that
Bartleby was refusing to do the jobs that the author asked him to do. You’re
right though he really is pretty considerate and respectful when denying the
fact that he has a job to do for his employer. This is the way that this
procedure goes the employer tells the employee what to do and when to do it. The
weirdness in the matter is that Bartleby is refusing to do so. Your very right
Jen, today this type of treatment towards your