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Word Count: 740
Herman Melville Bartleby the Scrivener The narrators life in Herman Melvilles Bartleby The Scrivener was dramatically changed by his encounter with Bartleby The narrator thought he was hiring a harmless scrivener but later learns that he has gotten much more than he bargained for Bartleby had come to the narrator by answering a classified advertisement The narrators initial opinion of Bartleby was that he was pallidly neat pitiably respectable and incurably forlorn 238 Bartleby did exceptional work for his employer He was quick and efficient coming in before and leaving after the other employees Everything started to change when one day the narrator needed to have copies of a document examined for errors He calls to his other scriveners then to Bartleby and much to his surprise Bartleby replied with a singularly mild firm voice stating I would prefer not to 239 Of course the narrator is appalled In thinking that perhaps he had heard wrong he asked again and was greeted with the same response He should have turned Bartleby out on his ear for such subordination but instead he just learned to live with it changing their relationship forever For every task that his employer asked other than the copying duties of a scrivener Bartleby replied with the same response of I would prefer not to 240 This perplexed the narrator immensely He says nothing so aggravates an earnest person as a passive resistance 241 Throughout the entire piece Bartleby has been passively indignant making it incredibly hard for the narrator to dismiss him This disturbs the narrator endlessly How can he be cruel to someone who so nicely turns down work He tosses over and over in his head the solutions on overcoming this obstacle The turning point occurs one Sunday on his way to church the narrator decides to stop by his office and is shocked to find that his key will not work in the lock Bartleby is inside
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