Sunday, September 21, 2008

On disappointment

Having sat through friday's class where we mostly rehashed points which were brought up in earlier weeks, and having gotten back my paper, I couldn't help but be disappointed with the paper I wrote.  My favorite story this year, contrary to popular opinion, has been Bartleby.  I thoroughly enjoyed that story and wanted to write my paper on it but didn't think that I would be able to write a 5 page paper on the topic I wanted to discuss.  Sitting there, though, it came to me that I probably would have been able to do so fairly easily, if not easily then with a little more work than what I put into the paper I did actually write.  I am disappointed in myself for not doing so; I'm disappointed, also, in the boring topic I did choose.  Bartleby simply hit home for me really well.  I'm at a point in my life where I'm really beginning to question "why?"  Bartleby did that and his realization was not an apathetic, "why not?" but a really taking to heart of the purposelessness of what many of us do.  I want to be a teacher, absolutely want to be a teacher because it is a profession that DOES something.  A scrivener?  What more pointless could life be than to write down boring documents.  I realized over summer, working my job as a food-server in a cafeteria, that everything I did was done to earn other people money and served no other purpose whatsoever.  Furthermore, my specific store didn't turn a profit, it failed to do its one purpose.  My job as an unskilled laborer was meaningless, I soon stopped trying at my job, though, and about this I am not proud, I was unable to entirely forsake it as Bartleby did.  I envy Bartleby.  I know this is an absurd statement, one that would raise arguments and tempers I am sure, but it's true.  He, in my opinion, though there isn't much evidence of this, laments for the world and all the hopeless people in it.  The people who will never learn purpose.  He, though, was able to ACT on what he believed in.  The enormous personal will to be able to ACT on a thought like that is absurd to me, it is so far away from what most people really are that I feel it's something to strive toward.  Not strive to be a nothing, but strive to be able to act on your convictions no matter how astounding they may be.  And in this I am further disappointed.  Disappointed that I was unable to act on my convictions, not only this summer pertaining to my awful job, but about many of the things I feel, about the paper topic on which I wanted to write.  Bartleby, as a story, has affected me more than any of the others, it is something about which I think fairly often, I just wish I had chosen to further analyze it, to make it more a part of me.  I will do this, just now I won't be able to enjoyably write about something enjoyable to me and get a grade for it.  I think we need to all take more to heart what Bartleby did and strive to be more like him, if not in his individual convictions then instead in his willpower to act on them.

1 comment:

Professor Crystal Benedicks said...

You know, Tim, NOT writing a (required, graded) paper on Bartelby may be the best way to honor him, after all.