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Bartleby is an efficient copyist for a successful lawyer at an office building, but he is a quiet and anti-social man. Though he continues to work well as a copyist, he refuses to help or do any other tasks for the office people, and/or repeatedly says “I would prefer not to” (10). Bartleby is always in the office either working or looking out of “dim window” (19) in the sad, and dark world he lives in. The workers then find out that he lives at the office, and his refusal to do nothing but work grows at a much larger scale. As this problem grows, Bartleby announces that he will no longer work as a copyist, and then prefers to stay and live in the office building and do no work. Finally, he is strictly and firmly asked to leave by the lawyer and his workers, but, he still does not leave. Rather than taking more severe measures to get Bartleby out of the office, the lawyer moves his operation to a different office. After that, another practice moves into the building and they find out that Bartleby, the copyist from the previous practice is still living there. The new people complain, but the new people are told that Bartleby does not seem to be able to leave. After trying to deal with Bartleby staying there, they call the police to arrest him and bring him to prison. The story concludes with Bartleby refusing to do anything and not eat in prison, and Bartleby dies from starvation. To conclude things, the narrator/lawyer informs his readers/workers that Bartleby was previously a clerk in a dead letter office who sorted through the mail, leaving readers wondering if these dead letters somehow influenced Bartleby.


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