Bartleby, the Scrivener

The Lawyer Character Analysis

We never learn his name, but The Lawyer, who narrates the story, tells us that he is a lawyer who owns his own law practice located on Wall Street in New York City. The Lawyer’s status as both a Christian man and a business owner often forces him into internal conflict. As when he debates about whether to keep Bartleby employed, he often exhibits a tension between capitalistic pressure and Christian charitable morality, a tension many Americans were facing in the urbanizing economic boom of the mid-1800’s. As with the character of Bartleby, the reader is told little to nothing about The Lawyer’s personal life or family history, leaving the reader open to put themselves in The Lawyer’s shoes. Like most reasonable people, The Lawyer’s charitable urges have a breaking point—he’s willing to tolerate Bartleby until Bartleby’s presence threatens to hurt his business. Whether The Lawyer’s line of charitable demarcation is right or wrong is up for debate, as The Lawyer puts up with far more than many reasonable bosses would (as can be seen by his relationship with Turkey and Nippers, neither of whom he fires despite each of them only putting in half of a good day’s work each day), but there is little doubt that Jesus Christ would have put up with more than The Lawyer does, and would even perhaps have suffered in order to try to save Bartleby. Additionally, The Lawyer showcases the inability of language to connect people, as every one of his attempts to get to know Bartleby fail. Further, even The Lawyer’s writing of this story itself—which delves into The Lawyer’s complex feelings for Bartleby—is an example of language failing to connect, as Bartleby himself is deceased, and therefore can never read the story in order to understand the way The Lawyer felt about him. This irony of the text has led some critics to argue that the story of Bartleby is itself a dead letter that The Lawyer has written to a dead man to tell him what he couldn’t say in life.

The Lawyer Quotes in Bartleby, the Scrivener

The Bartleby, the Scrivener quotes below are all either spoken by The Lawyer or refer to The Lawyer. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Bartleby, the Scrivener published in 2016.
Bartleby, the Scrivener Quotes

I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best.

Related Characters: The Lawyer (speaker)
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit aLorem ipsum dolor sit a

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Bartleby, the Scrivener quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

Nothing so aggravates an earnest person as passive resistance. If the individual so resisted be of a not inhumane temper, and the resisting one perfectly harmless in his passivity; then, in the better moods of the former, he will endeavor charitably to construe to his imagination what proves impossible to be solved by his judgment.

Related Characters: The Lawyer (speaker), Bartleby
Page Number: 28-29
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptatLorLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

To befriend Bartleby; to humor him in his strange willfulness, will cost me little or nothing, while I lay up in my soul what will eventually prove a sweet morsel for my conscience. But this mood was not invariable with me. The passiveness of Bartleby sometimes irritated me. I felt strangely goaded on to encounter him in new opposition… I might as well have essayed to strike fire with my knuckles against a bit of Windsor soap.

Related Characters: The Lawyer (speaker), Bartleby
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempoLorLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

… Ah, happiness courts the light, so we deem the world is gay, but misery hides aloof, so we deem that misery there is none.

Related Characters: The Lawyer (speaker), Bartleby
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“At present, I would prefer not to be a little reasonable,” was his mildly cadaverous reply.

Related Characters: Bartleby (speaker), The Lawyer (speaker)
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id es

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad mi

“…Good-bye, Bartleby, and fare you well.” But he answered not a word; like the last column of some ruined temple, he remained standing mute and solitary in the middle of the otherwise deserted room.

Related Characters: The Lawyer (speaker), Bartleby
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

It was the circumstance of being alone in a solitary office, up stairs, of a building entirely unhallowed by humanizing domestic associations…which greatly helped to enhance the irritable desperation of the hapless Colt.

Related Characters: The Lawyer (speaker)
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

…charity often operates as a vastly wise and prudent principle—a great safeguard to its possessor. Men have committed murder for jealousy’s sake, and anger’s sake, and hatred’s sake, and selfishness’ sake, and spiritual pride’s sake; but no man that ever I heard of, ever committed a diabolical murder for sweet charity’s sake.

Related Characters: The Lawyer (speaker)
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit

Yes, Bartleby, stay there behind your screen, thought I; I shall persecute you no more; you are harmless and noiseless as any of these old chairs… At last I see it, I feel it; I penetrate to the predestinated purpose of life… Others may have loftier parts to enact; but my mission in this world, Bartleby, is to furnish you with office-room for such period as you may see fit to remain.

Related Characters: The Lawyer (speaker), Bartleby
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.LorLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minimLorem ipsum dolor sLoremLorem ipsum dolor sitLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fug

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

…it often is, that the constant friction of illiberal minds wears out at last the best resolves of the more generous.

Related Characters: The Lawyer (speaker), Bartleby
Page Number: 44-45
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The yard was entirely quiet. It was not accessible to the common prisoners. The surrounding walls, of amazing thickness, kept off all sounds behind them. The Egyptian character of the masonry weighed upon me with its gloom. But a soft imprisoned turf grew underfoot. The heart of the eternal pyramids, it seemed, wherein, by some strange magic, through the lefts, grass-seed, dropped by birds, had sprung.

Related Characters: The Lawyer (speaker), Bartleby
Related Symbols: Walls
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sun

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit aLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur

Dead letters! does it not sound like dead men? … Sometimes from out the folded paper the pale clerk takes a ring:—the finger it was meant for, perhaps, moulders in the grave; a bank note sent in swiftest charity:—he whom it would relieve, nor eats nor hungers any more; pardon for those who died despairing; hope for those who died unhoping; good tidings for those who died stifling by unrelieved calamities. On errands of life, these letters speed to death. Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity!

Related Characters: The Lawyer (speaker), Bartleby
Related Symbols: Dead Letters
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute ir

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehLoreLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecLorem ipLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis

Get the entire Bartleby LitChart as a printable PDF.
Bartleby the scrivener.pdf.medium

The Lawyer Character Timeline in Bartleby, the Scrivener

The timeline below shows where the character The Lawyer appears in Bartleby, the Scrivener. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Bartleby, the Scrivener
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The unnamed narrator (who we will refer to as The Lawyer ) introduces himself as a “rather elderly man” and establishes that he has had much... (full context)
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
The Lawyer then states that he is a lawyer, and describes his business as focusing around “rich... (full context)
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The Lawyer goes on to describe his employees before Bartleby’s arrival. First he delves into Turkey, a... (full context)
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Next, The Lawyer details his employee Nippers, who is also a scrivener. Nippers is about twenty-five years old,... (full context)
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
However, despite these issues, The Lawyer considers Nippers a useful employee as a scrivener, as he is a good dresser, which... (full context)
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The last of The Lawyer ’s employees is Ginger Nut, a twelve-year-old office helper being paid one dollar per week.... (full context)
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
After exchanging words about his qualifications, The Lawyer is happy to hire Bartleby, because he hopes that Bartleby’s “singularly sedate” nature might help... (full context)
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
At first, Bartleby provides The Lawyer with an enormous quantity of writing, working nonstop all day and not pausing for lunch.... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
In the past, The Lawyer says that he has helped with correcting copy himself, and one of the reasons he... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The Lawyer stews in silence, and initially thinks he has misheard Bartleby. He repeats the request, and... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
However, after staring at Bartleby and watching him write for a while, The Lawyer can detect no such intention, and so, though he finds Bartleby’s behavior “very strange,” he... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
A few days later, The Lawyer convenes a meeting in his office, calling in Turkey, Nippers, and Ginger Nut, as Bartleby... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The Lawyer stands there, unsure what to do. Finally he advances toward the screen, and asks Bartleby... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The Lawyer feels as if Bartleby is not being curt with him. He feels that Bartleby has... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The Lawyer asks Turkey what he thinks of the situation, and Turkey says that he believes The... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The Lawyer notes that they managed to correct the papers without Bartleby’s help, with Turkey commenting on... (full context)
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Some days pass, and The Lawyer says that due to Bartleby’s odd behavior, he has started watching Bartleby’s habits more closely.... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
The Lawyer then delves into Bartleby’s attitude, which he refers to as “passive resistance,” saying that nothing... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
However, despite The Lawyer 's resolve to accept Bartleby as he is, one day The Lawyer is overtaken by... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The Lawyer states that Nippers has changed his opinion since the last time he asked about Bartleby,... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The Lawyer then sits at his desk, and after some thought, calls out for Bartleby, who doesn’t... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
As days pass, The Lawyer becomes increasingly accepting of Bartleby’s habits. He enjoys Bartleby’s work ethic (aside from the occasional... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The Lawyer notes that, as is customary, there are several keys to the door that opens his... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
The Lawyer , though frustrated, follows Bartleby’s request and walks around the block, noting that it is... (full context)
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Once he’s alone in the office, The Lawyer determines that Bartleby must be eating, dressing, and even sleeping in the office. The Lawyer... (full context)
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The Lawyer is suddenly struck with a deep melancholy, causing him to ponder the nature of happiness... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
The Lawyer recalls all of Bartleby’s curious habits and mysteries—his lack of speaking except to answer, the... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
Rather than going to church as he had intended, The Lawyer decides to head home, and on the way he resolves to ask Bartleby about his... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
The Lawyer ruminates on how he should handle this situation. Despite his resolution to dismiss Bartleby should... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Nippers enters the office, overhears Bartleby’s words, and calls him a stubborn mule. The Lawyer says he would “prefer” that Nippers withdraw from the room, which he does. The Lawyer... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The next day, The Lawyer notices that Bartleby has done “nothing but stand at his window in his dead-wall reverie.”... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
A few days later, with the other employees absent, The Lawyer asks Bartleby to carry letters to the Post Office, but Bartleby declines, forcing The Lawyer... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
Six days later, Bartleby remains in the office. The Lawyer offers Bartleby the 20-dollar bonus and tells him he must go. Bartleby replies that he... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
As The Lawyer walks home, he becomes more and more confident that Bartleby will comply with his order... (full context)
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
On his way to the office, The Lawyer debates back and forth in his head whether Bartleby has stayed or left the office.... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The Lawyer is somewhat shocked that Bartleby is still there, and mutters to himself on the street.... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
The Lawyer asks Bartleby if Bartleby will leave, to which Bartleby replies that he’d prefer not to.... (full context)
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
Sitting at his desk, The Lawyer ’s resentment of Bartleby grows, but a Christian impulse overtakes him, reminding him that it... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
Some days later, after reading two religious texts, The Lawyer decides that Bartleby has been thrust into his life via predestination from eternity, and God’s... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
First, The Lawyer simply suggests to Bartleby that he leave. After he thinks about it for three days,... (full context)
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
The Lawyer moves offices the next week, emptying the office of furniture. When everything is gone, The... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
Several days pass, and The Lawyer thinks he has finally been ridded of Bartleby. However, a week or so later, The... (full context)
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
The Lawyer rushes out of the building, ignoring anyone who tries to stop him. He decides that... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
That day, The Lawyer heads to the prison to attest to the fact that Bartleby is an honest, but... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
The Disconnected Workplace Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
On his way out, a man (The Grubman) stops The Lawyer and asks if Bartleby is his friend. The Lawyer says “yes,” and the man says... (full context)
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
The Lawyer and The Grubman chat about Bartleby being odd, and The Lawyer says he is somewhat... (full context)
Passive Resistance Theme Icon
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
Some days later, The Lawyer returns to the prison, and finds Bartleby asleep in the yard, surrounded by walls “of... (full context)
Isolation and the Unreliability of Language Theme Icon
Charity and Its Limits Theme Icon
The Lawyer cuts off his narration, saying that there is “little need for proceeding further,” as the... (full context)