Herman Melville\'s Wall Street

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Herman Melville's Wall Street

The Lawyer embraces life and does everything in his power to help his fellow man.  This is what I see in this individual.  Herman Melville's short story \" Bartleby the Scrivener, A Story of Wall Street\" is one in which the main character is virtuous by nature.  The Lawyer is so tolerant of Turkey and Nipper's unusual behaviors that he showers them with kindness.  His kind nature is tested even further by Bartleby's behavior.  It seems perfectly obvious that the Lawyer goes out of his way to be sensitive to Bartleby's needs.   The Lawyer at first allows Bartleby to hold off performing certain duties and then from all duties.  Soon the Lawyer allows his office to become Bartleby's sleeping quarters and then even invites Bartleby to live with him at his own house.  The Lawyer tries to be a true Christian throughout the story and is very understanding and compassionate to those around him.
Here is a man whose goal is the well being of his friends in the office.  Turkey at sunrise would be calm and hard working.  It is in the afternoon that he is reckless when handling the Lawyer's papers.  The Lawyer describes him, \"In the morning, one might say, his face was of a fine florid hue, but after twelve o'clock, meridian-his dinner hour-it blaze like a grate full of Christmas coals\" (Melville 452). So as not to cause any problems, the Lawyer decides not to give his \"important papers\" to him in the afternoon (Melville 454).  He even gives his own coat to Turkey.  This is not a man who doesn't care but one who tries to understand the needs of others.  Nippers would receive \"certain ambiguous-looking fellows in seedy coats\" (Melville 454).  Here is the Lawyer who allows Nippers to receive his seedy clients.  The Lawyer also maintains a dignified demeanor when a moistened ginger cake is clapped on to one of his mortgages for seal.  While Turkey has his temperament in the morning Nippers is placid.  When Nippers is enraged Turkey is calm.  Fortunately for the Lawyer he never had to deal with both temperaments at the same time.  He could have easily fired Nipper and Turkey and hired someone more qualified.  The Lawyer's compassion seemed endless.
A conflict should have arisen between the Lawyer's best interest and Bartleby's.  However, the Lawyer put Bartleby ahead of himself.  He allows Bartleby to remain in his office knowing full well that he is not doing any work.  He is hoping that Bartleby would change his behavior and do something productive, but Bartleby refuses to do anything.  It is this rejection of everything however that brings the Lawyer closer to Bartleby.  The Lawyer feels even more responsible in helping Bartleby.  Most other people faced with this problem would have displayed less patience and compassion.  The Lawyer does not hand over the problem to the authorities because he knows they would handle him roughly.  The Lawyer even offered him assistance obtaining another job but Bartleby refuses to be helped.  The Lawyer finally accepts his ever presence and urges Bartleby to live with him.  This is the ultimate charity a man can give but Bartleby still refuses to compromise.  The Lawyer then literally moves away and leaves him there to stay.  Bartleby is eventually sent to prison by the new tenants.  Even in prison the Lawyer looks after him.  He attempts to buy Bartleby food while at prison.  Even though Bartleby has contempt feelings towards the Lawyer, the Lawyer still continued to see him while he was at prison. This proves that he is a caring man and he sees everyone as a \"son of Adam\"(Melville 463).
This Lawyer is an incredible man.  This man's office had the strangest and most distressing group of office workers and he tolerated all of them.  I cannot understand how some people believe that this lawyer \"represents the selfish capitalist society\" after all he has done (Mitchell 2).  People  \"disregard Bartleby's peculiar strength, his baffling ability to trouble and foil a conventionally successful Wall Street attorney\" (Furlani 1).  I see that the Lawyer does everything humanly possible to reach out to his fellow man but Bartleby would have nothing to do with it.