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A Character Comparison of Harold Krebs and Bartleby the Scrivener Earnest Hemingways Soldiers Home and Herman Melvilles Bartleby the Scrivener are both short stories written about characters who have problems dealing with or being a part of society Harold Krebs in Soldiers Home and Bartleby in Bartleby the Scrivener have two completely different reasons for their inability to function in society Harold Krebs came home from Germany years after the war had ended and long after all of the other soldiers had been welcomed home Surprisingly he did not want to talk about the war When he decided to talk about the war no one was interested in his stories On the contrary Bartleby a Wall Street scrivener isolates himself behind a screen in an office and never desires to communicate even to the extent of refusal if enticed No matter what their reasons both of these main characters share the refusal of work a diminished will to live and an ultimate rejection of society The protagonist in both stories appears rather withdrawn and depressed Both of their environments serve as a sort of isolation from the outside world Bartlebys isolation perhaps is not by choice on the other hand Krebs seems to be more in control of his environment Krebs mother pressures him to get a job by arguing that There are no idle hands in Gods Kingdom to which Krebs responds Im not in his Kingdom Hemingway 143 all page references are to class text The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature 5 th ed Mrs Krebs tries to get her son to pray with her but he cannot pray because he has lost his faith Krebs has no desire to work and be a part of a society in which he has no faith Conversely Bartleby has no choice except to work He is so poor eventually the narrator discovers him living in the office
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