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Bartleby the Scrivener

Bartleby the Scrivener

by Herman Melville

Foil

Character Role Analysis

The other clerks to Bartleby

Turkey, Nippers, and Ginger Nut seem to serve little other purpose in this story than to act as foils to Bartleby. While all of the human characteristics – including flaws – are removed from the latter, the former three characters are all seemingly made up of nothing but flaws. Turkey is characterized by his drunkenness, Nippers by his bitterness, and Ginger Nut by his simple mindedness. Together, they're kind of like the Three Stooges – they provide occasional comic relief, but very little else. They certainly don't contribute substantively to our understanding of the story, but their presence highlights just what is so alien about Bartleby – his utter lack of personality.


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