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            Since he will not quit me, I must quit him." (Page 140, Herman Melville) This is the key to Bartleby, written by Herman Melville, for it indicates that Bartleby stands as a symbol for humanity. This in turn functions as a commentary on society and the working world, for Bartleby is a seemingly homeless, mentally disturbed scrivener who gives up on the prospect of living life. However, by doing so Bartleby is attempting to exercise his freewill, for he would "prefer not to" work. His relationship to the narrator is thus significant, for as he attempts to exercise his freewill he is breaking from the will of the narrator and the normal progression of life. However, this attempt to exercise his freewill and break loose from the confines of typical societal functions, isolates Bartleby from society, which in turn places him in a state of depression and soon there after, death. Ultimately, by having Bartleby "prefer not to," Melville is commenting on the role of humanity in the work force. If man attempts to break free of his role and exercise his own freewill then he is severing himself from humanity which in turn will lead to depression and perhaps death, for he will have nothing but a wall always obstructing him. From the beginning Bartleby is isolated within the confines of his work place. "I procured a high green folding screen, which might entirely isolate Bartleby from my sight, though not remove him from my voice."( pg 111) In this quotation the narrator put Arnold, Page 2 up a screen to separate his office from Bartleby's, which isolates him from the other members of the staff which thus isolates him from humanity. However, this is not the end of the isolation for he is not only detached from those around him, but society as well. "I placed his desk close up to a small side window, a window that had originally afforded a view of certain grimy backyards, but which commanded at present, no view at all.

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