Bartleby The Scrivener, By Herman Melville Essay

888 Words Nov 16th, 2015 4 Pages
Bartleby the Scrivener, by Herman Melville, is a story of an employee who only performs the basic tasks required for his job. Bartleby begins his employment demonstrating exemplary work ethics. However, two days into his employment Bartleby shifts from an employee willing to pitch in as needed to a non-cooperative, non-responsive person. The remainder of the story Bartleby continues performing only required tasks refusing to take on additional work. Bartleby and his manager are able to find their own harmony of coexisting in a work atmosphere of chaos. Ironically, Bartley’s manager prides himself for playing it safe and not being a risk taker, yet the consequences of not firing Bartleby seemed to consume his daily routine.
The narrator describes how odd and strange Bartleby comparing to others in his field, that are none resembles Bartleby. “Who was a scrivener the strangest I ever saw”. This quote from the narrator is already passing his judgment to the reader about Bartleby prior to exploring his character. The narrator also implies that Bartleby is not worth the paper written on to describe his life story.
Bartleby’s famous saying is “I would prefer not to”. Bartley’s manager is absolutely clueless on how to react upon hearing this response from his employee. The motivation for Bartley’s infamous “I would prefer not to” is not explored in this short story. My own personal work experience also contains a Bartleby type of employee. A colleague at my current…

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