Why did the author appoint Bartleby as his scrivener? What features of Bartleby did impress the author?
Answer: The author of the story Bartleby the Scrivener, engaged a man named Bartleby as his copyist. Bartleby’s sober disposition impressed the author. Above all, the author was glad to engage Bartleby because Bartleby might operate beneficially upon the flighty temper of Turkey and the fiery one of Nippers.
The author is a lawyer, aged about sixty years, but unlike other lawyers unambitious, who never addresses a jury, or draws down public applause. He profoundly believes that the easiest life is the best. He has already two copyists in his employment, but he needed a third one due to the increase of his business. He put up an advertisement, and in answer to it, one morning a motionless young man stood upon his office threshold. “A motionless young man one morning stood upon my office threshold, the door being open, for it was summer. I can see that figure now pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, and incurably forlorn! It was Bartleby”. He was the strangest of the scriveners that the writer had ever seen. He was glad to have among his corps of copyists a man of so singularly sedate an aspect.
Besides Bartleby’s sobering disposition, the author was glad to engage Bartleby because he thought that Bartleby would have a sobering and good influence on his two other copyists—Turkey and Nippers. They needed such influence as they had some eccentricities in their habit, and nature. Turkey and Nippers show different temperaments during the twelve hours of a day. In the morning, Turkey was quiet and sedate. His face was of a florid hue. But after twelve o’clock he used to have a completely different nature. His face blazed like a grate full of Christmas coals, and continued blazing with a gradual wave till six p.m. Strangely enough, Turkey displaced his fullest beams from his red and radiant countenance, his business capacities began to be seriously disturbed, for the remainder of the twenty four hours. He was apt to be too energetic. There was a strange, inflamed, flurried, flighty recklessness of activity about him. At such times, his face flamed with augmented blazonry as if cannel coal, had been heaped on anthracite. He made an unpleasant racket with his chair, spilled his sand box, in mending his pens, impatiently split them all to pieces, and threw on the floor in a sudden passion, stood up and leaned over his table, boxing his papers about in a most indecorous manner. These were very sad to behold in an elderly person like him. The second clerk Nippers presented a completely opposite picture of himself. Though he was a temperate young man of about twenty five yearg, he seemed to be a victim of two evil powers—ambition and indigestion. The indigestion appeared in an occasional nervous testiness and grinning irritability, which caused the teeth to audibly grind together over mistakes committed in copying. In the heat of business he made unnecessary maledictions, hissed rather than spoke and continually expressed discontent with the height of the table when he worked. Among the manifestations of his diseased ambition was a fondness he had for receiving visits from certain ambitious looking young fellows in seedy coats, whom he called his clients. In a word, the nervous paroxysms of Turkey and Nippers appeared alternatively.
The author was not satisfied with the nature and temperament of his two clerks—Turkey and Nippers. Though his profession as a lawyer flourished, he thought it might ultimately suffer because of the unusual, unprofessional, and strange natures of his two clerks. As a result of the increase of his profession, he needed one more clerk, and put an advertisement for one. When Bartleby appeared as a candidate, he was seen to be a very sober and sedate person. The thought immediately occurred to him that if he appointed him as a clerk, his sober and sedate nature would act as a neutralizer of the temperaments of opposite nature of Turkey and Nippers. It would ultimately enhance his profession because he would have a corps of three clerks that would be suitable for his profession.