Friday, 26 September 2008

Bartleby the scrivener or how to refuse doing tasks

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist and poet. He is nowadays very famous because of his novel Moby Dick.

I just have read Bartleby the scrivener. It is a short story about an elderly lawyer who has employed two scriveners. The first one is Turkey who is sober in the morning and gets drunk in the afternoons. The second one is Nippers, who suffers from indigestion in the mornings and is calmed down in the afternoons.

The lawyer is the narrator of the story and tells the readers this stuff before going to describe Bartleby, who is the third scrivener he hires. Bartleby is a very quiet man indeed. He almost doesn't move from his desk.

One day the lawyer asks his third scrivener to examine a paper with him but, to his surprise, Bartleby replies, "I would prefer not to". With this sentence, he refuses to that task and leaves his employee and his colleagues astonished.

I will not give further details of the story. I think it is a worthy reading. Click on the image to download the written work.

© Cristina Fuster Bertrand


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