Bartleby the Scrivener is the story of an aging Wall Street lawyer who must hire a third scrivener to deal with an increase in business. Bartleby, the scrivener hired toward this end, is at first extremely skilled and productive. He slowly retreats from work, though, using the phrase "I would prefer not to" as a stock refusal when entreated to perform a task. Bartleby drives the lawyer near to despair before finally being arrested for vagrancy and dying in prison of self-imposed starvation.

Summary of Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

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