The Role of the Dead Letter Office in "Bartleby the Scrivener"
While Melville only mentions the "Dead Letter Office" in the last paragraph, he portrays its significance throughout the story. Melville reveals Bartleby previously worked in a Dead Letter Office, where he handled the monotonous task of burning undeliverable mail. Because the narrator views Bartleby as a mirthless man, he feels pity for Bartleby working at a place devoid of happiness. By employing a theme of lost hope, Melville describes the dead letters as mail, which fails to reach its destination with its encouraging message or item of value. Melville associates the melancholy present i…
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