Sometimes you've got to give a little

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Bartleby, the Scrivener - Herman Melville.

Let's take a look at paragraph 172.  Now I find the entire thing fascinating as this is where the narrator finally gives in the Bartleby, but this particular line stands out "Since he will not quit me, I must quit him."  Here, after many attempts to get Bartleby to leave, the narrator finally says I'm through and picks up and leaves his own premises to rid himself of the man that does not perform tasks he does not "prefer" to.

I found the last page to be a little odd.  After all the complaints about how Bartleby did nothing and was causing turmoil in everyone around him, the narrator describes his sleep "with kings and counsellors" (para. 249).  Just previous to that he describes the area Bartleby is in as Egyptian.  Perhaps our narrator was not as troubled by Bartleby as we suspect.  He places Bartleby with the kings in death - so what did Bartleby do to deserve this?  
One could argue that he provoked thought in others, which is why so many people say the word "prefer" now.  It's interesting to ponder the reasons why Bartleby politely refused to perform menial tasks as well as why the narrator ends up respecting him so much by the end of the bibliographic record.

1 Comments

Kayla Lesko said:

I kinda viewed the relationship between the narrator and Bartleby to be a love/hate kind of thing. Also, maybe because the narrator knew nothing about Bartleby, he decided to apply his own description which included mysterious and foreign things.

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