Sunday, September 7, 2008
I, though worried at first by the comments made at the end of class the day before I read this, thoroughly enjoyed reading the story "Bartleby the Scrivener" It, befitting Melville, is slow to progress and the climax is hidden in that slow build, but it is the descending action of the story which pumps blood into its heart. The last paragraph opens it all up for interpretation. This individual is locked in the middle class, his job before is a wonderful metaphor for this. Working with dead letters, letters which will never reach and end and instead burn, describes the lives of many at the time and even now. How many desk jobs do we all proclaim early on we will never want? How many of us want to make a difference in the world? Jobs like this, copying down legal documents, are the exact opposite and so many people then were stuck with them just so they could survive. The other two scriveners are great examples of this, they, when put together, form two very average kinds of people. Either one immersed in his work or one who is angry, though still working, never rebelling. Bartleby, in my opinion, stuck with this job, this dead letter job, realized that simply surviving in the world may not be enough. What did it matter if he copied down the documents, who would be affected when, if he refused to do it, so many others would be more than willing. Bartleby was not insane, far from it, he was enlightened and then at a loss. How else would you act if you realized your world, all that you matter for, doesn't really matter, how does one recover from that? I don't think it is possible to go on pretending, the best one can do is look out the window for some hope. I lament for those incapable of seeing any hope, instead they see a blank, white wall. To quote The Departed, "We all are (on the way out). Act accordingly."