In democratic ages men rarely sacrifice themselves for another, but they show a general compassion for all the human race. One never sees them inflict pointless suffering, and they are glad to relieve the sorrows of others when they can do so without much trouble to themselves. They are not disinterested, but they are gentle.
- Alexis De Tocqueville
Compassion is an innate quality that is found within human nature, and is
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Bartleby is withdrawing from life. In order to relate to Bartleby, one cannot rationalize the situation, as it will not benefit Bartleby. Instead, the narrator should have given him unconditional love, which would have brought Bartleby back into the social world.
Melville, Herman. “Bartleby, the Scrivener.” The Norton Anthology of American
Literature. Ed. Nina Baym. New York: W. W. Norton & Company Inc.,
Seelye, John. Melville: The Ironic Diagram. Evanston: NorthWestern University