Bartleby the Scrivener | Study Guide

Herman Melville

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Bartleby the Scrivener Study Guide." Course Hero. 15 Sep. 2016. Web. 9 Aug. 2022. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2016, September 15). Bartleby the Scrivener Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 9, 2022, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)



Course Hero. "Bartleby the Scrivener Study Guide." September 15, 2016. Accessed August 9, 2022.


Course Hero, "Bartleby the Scrivener Study Guide," September 15, 2016, accessed August 9, 2022,

Bartleby the Scrivener | Infographic

Share Embed
Click to copy code

Check out this Infographic to learn more about Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

bartleby-the-scrivener-herman-melvilleA Wall Street lawyer hires a new clerk, but after just three days Bartleby begins to politely decline requests. Soon he is doing no work at all but also refuses to leave the office. This enigmatic story of Bartleby, his boss, and his coworkers can be read as a critique of Wall Street and the workplace thatrather than fading away like its protagonist—is reflected in modern-day depictions of office characters and life.OccupyingWall StreetMAIN CHARACTERSShort StoryAuthorYear PublishedOriginal LanguageBartlebythe ScrivenerFictionHerman Melville1853EnglishBARTLEBYThemesResponsibilityThe lawyer debates his responsibility toward Bartleby when he is no longer useful.Dead LettersSymbolize mortality and hopelessnessWallsEmbody the isolation Bartleby faces in his office and, eventually, prisonBartleby, throughout the storywould prefer not to.Times Bartleby says, “I would prefer not to14Amount Melville was paid by Putnam's Magazine, which published "Bartleby" anonymously in two installments$85Months before his death that Melville finished his final novel, Billy Budd5Bartleby the Scrivenerby the NumbersPassivityBartleby quietly refusesto comply with requests, and his boss responds passively.IsolationBartleby slowly cuts himself off from everything, eventually even food.The author of the epic novel Moby-Dick, Melville is regarded as one of the greatest American writers. He wrote “Bartleby the Scrivener” amid a storm of criticism from the literary world, and its themes of capitalism, absurdity, and protest have long intrigued readers.HERMAN MELVILLE1819–91AuthorSymbolsBartleby The LonerEccentric employee; stops working and occupies the office indefinitelyTurkey The Office DrunkOld clerk; drinks at lunch and shirks his afternoon dutiesGinger Nut The InternErrand boy and carmans son; hoping to do better in lifeLawyer The Bumbling BossWell-intentioned but narcissistic owner of the law practiceNippers The Entitled MillennialYoung clerk; ambitious and self-important

Want to see more infographics? View All Infographics on Course Hero!

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Bartleby the Scrivener? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!