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Bartleby The Scrivener Essay

898 words - 4 pages

In ID’ing my fear, I imagined graduating in May with my Masters and entering the real world. I have many worries about this, but one of them has burdened me the last two years. While thinking about this specific fear, a short story came to mind from high school that may have placed the seed for this terror.
Herman Melvin’s Bartleby the Scrivener tells the story of a new employee of a Law Firm on Wall Street. Everything in this story embodies my fear of my future profession. A scrivener is someone who serves as a scribe. Bartleby is a new scribe to this law firm and works day and night handwriting copies of legal documents. The lawyer describes Bartleby as an excellent worker whose work ...view middle of the document...

Bartleby is arrested and placed in prison for his refusal to leave the office. The lawyer hears months later that Bartleby died in prison. When asked to eat, his response was “I’d prefer not to.”
Although much time was spent summarizing this story, I found it important in truly expressing my fear. I have constantly argued with myself if I will be happy 20 years down the road with my career. I can only worry if I will find purpose in my career and not fall ill to the same fate that burdened Bartleby. Throughout the story, the lawyer describes his employees solely by their tendencies and work output. Ginger Nut’s primary purpose is to get cakes, similar to staff auditor’s significance in picking up dinner during busy season. I always hear about sacrificing your younger years or work life balance to focus on your career, but it worries me at what happened to Bartleby. His self imposed isolation was evident by living out of the office. What worries me most is the analysis of the Sparknotes website,
“Mortality plays a role in "Bartleby," but not in the usual sense. Death pervades the story, not as the event in time that finishes a life, but as a kind of poison permeating every aspect of the world we live in. The act of living is the real death. Living is a tiring and arduous process, full of numbing compromises and submission to meaningless tasks. Our mortality is unavoidable, and our...

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