Bartleby the Scrivener

2030 Words Feb 2nd, 2018 8 Pages
Because both Bartleby and the narrator lose their professions during the course of their lives despite their desire to make an adequate living, the story exposes capitalism’s apathetic and harsh treatment of its subjects. Towards the end of the story, we learn that “Bartleby had been a subordinate clerk in the Dead Letter Office at Washington, from which he had been suddenly removed by a change in the administration” (American Literature). Bartleby, a capitalist subject who, at the beginning of the story, eagerly attends to his duties, was stripped of his job simply because of a new administration. Melville reveals how capitalism as an ideology essentially chews its subjects up only to leave the majority of them without high-paying positions; it is an ideology that perpetuates the failure of many while advantaging few. Even the narrator, a supposedly astute Wall Street lawyer, loses one of his professions before Bartleby’s entrance into his life: “I consider the sudden and violent abrogation of the office of Master of Chancery, by the new Constitution, as a…