1. Explain why Melville ends “Bartleby” with “Ah, humanity!”
2. Analyze the controlling symbol of the wall in “Bartleby.”
3. Explain how “Bartleby” reflects Melville’s rebellion against the literary establishment.
4. Evaluate the role of these minor figures in the plot of “Bartleby”: Turkey, Nippers, Ginger Nut, the landlord, and the grub-man.
5. Illuminate the concept of Christian charity as it applies to the lawyer’s underlying motivation and behavior.
6. Contrast Bartleby with other misfits from literature, such as Lenny Small in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Benjy in William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Frankie Addams in Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding, E. A. Robinson’s Mr. Flood from the poem “Mr. Flood’s Party,” Hazel Motes from Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood, or Sherwood Anderson’s grotesques in Winesburg, Ohio.
7. Debate the source of impulses that keep the narrator involved with Bartleby’s misfortunes.
8. Compare the office and the Tombs as settings.
9. Explain what Bartleby’s failed clerkship at the Dead Letter Office reveals about the theme of communication.