The Impacts of Choices in Our Lives in Bartleby, The Scrivener, a Short Story by Herman Melville

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 451 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Dec 11, 2018

Words: 451|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Dec 11, 2018

In Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, The Scrivener,” the author implies the major theme as the choices made in our lives, impact how we live our life. Both the narrator and Bartleby make choices that impact what happens to them in the present and the future. The narrator’s characteristics play a large role in the choices he makes and their outcomes, as well as Bartleby’s sustaining stubbornness.

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The narrator wants to be kind to Bartleby and let him stay in his office, until he decides to leave. Day in an day out, he proposes to him that he can leave, but Bartleby persists in wanting to stay. The narrator’s choice in choosing not to force him to leave his house makes it harder to make him leave. Bartleby’s response to every question is “I would prefer not to”. This line spoken shows up many times during the story and reflects Bartleby’s choice to not answer any questions, or do anything at all. Even when the narrator exhibits his generous characteristics, Bartleby chooses not to listen. "The time has come; you must quit this place; I am sorry for you; here is money; but you must go." (672) The narrator is offering money to get Bartleby back on his feet, but he is refusing everything. With not making the choice at the beginning of making Bartleby leave, he is bringing upon himself a guilt for him. He wants Bartleby to leave, but he would not feel right letting him go and leaving him.

The narrator makes a choice to move out of his office, and into a new one, leaving Bartleby where he is. His business partners later tell him that Bartleby is roaming the complex and is disturbing them during the night. The narrator’s decision of choosing not to get rid of Bartleby sooner, has put him in this situation. Something must be done about him, and the narrator sends him to jail. Bartleby dies in jail and the theme of the impact of choices is brought out. The narrator feels guilty for not being able to help Bartleby, but if he would have gotten rid of him sooner, this could have possibly not happened. On the other hand, if Bartleby would have left the office, he would not be dead and would possibly have a job and money.

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With choices made by the narrator and Bartleby, they shaped the story from beginning to end with this major theme. Every decision made by anyone, even today, has a strong and lasting impact on themselves and other people. Good or bad choices make us the unique individuals we are with their impacts on us and and the people around us.

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The Impacts of Choices in Our Lives in Bartleby, the Scrivener, a Short Story by Herman Melville. (2018, October 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from
“The Impacts of Choices in Our Lives in Bartleby, the Scrivener, a Short Story by Herman Melville.” GradesFixer, 26 Oct. 2018,
The Impacts of Choices in Our Lives in Bartleby, the Scrivener, a Short Story by Herman Melville. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
The Impacts of Choices in Our Lives in Bartleby, the Scrivener, a Short Story by Herman Melville [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Oct 26 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from:
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