Bartleby is a kind of clerk, a copyist, who obstinately refuses to go on doing the sort of writing demanded of him. During the spring of 1851, Melville felt similarly about his work on Moby Dick. Thus, Bartleby can be seen to represent Melville's frustration with his own situation as a writer, and the story itself is about a writer who forsakes conventional modes because of an irresistible preoccupation with the most baffling philosophical questions. Bartleby can also be seen to represent Melville's relation to his commercial, democratic society.
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