Significance Of The 'Dead Letter Office In Bartleby'

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Understanding the significance of the dead letter office in the story also helps to explain Bartleby. At the end of the story the narrator reveals the only piece of information he ever obtained in regards to Bartleby was the possibility he was previously employed at the dead letter office. This piece of information leads the narrator to establish a correlation between Bartleby and dead letters. This is seen when he states, “"Dead Letters! does it not sound like dead men?” (Melville 321). Suggesting that Bartleby’s character can be seen as a dead letter is a way for Melville to emphasize human existence. Letters that are labeled as “dead letters” essentially means the letter will never reach its intended destination. The concept of failing to connect or be delivered relates to “the difficulty humans have in reaching each other” (Mitchell). In the story this is represented through the challenges the…show more content…
Also, it is represented in Bartleby’s isolation and failure to establish Schattinger 7 social relationships. In addition, the story of Bartleby can be seen as a dead letter. From the beginning of the story the reader is aware the narrator doesn’t truly have enough information in regards to Bartleby’s life and is recollecting based on his personal experience with Bartleby. The purpose is telling Bartleby’s story despite the lack of information is the narrator’s way of preventing Bartleby’s story from becoming a dead letter. Mitchell explains this idea best stating, “Unable to forget Bartleby and unwilling to tell a more self-flattering or more conventionally undisturbing story to edify his readers, the narrator chooses to be the first to write
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