Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

ISBN 978-1-60857-013-3

Grammardog Teacher's Guide contains 16 quizzes for this story set in the early days of Wall Street.  All sentences are from the short story.  Figurative language describes Bartleby as a bit of wreckage in the mid-Atlantic and a millstone to his boss.  Allusions mention tycoon John Jacob Astor and geographical locations such as Broadway, Jersey City and Hoboken.

PLOT SUMMARY:  “Ah Bartleby!  Ah humanity!”  The Grammardog Guide to BARTLEBY THE SCRIVENER features sentences from the short story in 16 grammar, style and proofreading quizzes that reinforce plot, characters and themes.  This is an early literary tale about a man with untreated mental illness.  The story is narrated by a Wall Street lawyer who watches his clerk Bartleby sink deeper and deeper into clinical depression.  At first Bartleby is highly competent.  He works hard and is good at his job.  Then one day Bartleby refuses to leave the office at closing time, saying simply, “I prefer not to.”  Bartleby stops working at all and begins living in the office.  Faced with an ethical dilemma, the lawyer decides it would be easier on his conscience if he simply relocated his offices instead of evicting Bartleby.  After the lawyer moves out, the new tenant asks him for help in getting rid of Bartleby who now sleeps in the doorway of the building and refuses to leave.  Bartleby is finally taken away to prison.  The lawyer visits the prison and pays a guard to look after Bartleby.  Bartleby dies of starvation.  Afterwards it is discovered that for years Bartleby worked in the Dead Letter Office of the U.S. Post Office.  The lawyer’s theory is that working with undelivered mail brought on Bartleby’s depression. 

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