The Fate of a Dead Letter is the Same as One of a Dead Man

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"Dead letters! does it not sound like dead men? Conceive a man by nature and misfortune prone to a pallid hopelessness, can any business seem more fitted to heighten it than that of continually handling these dead letters and assorting them for the flames?" (page 21 last paragraph)



The US Postal service started this dead letter service to establish a method of dealing with mail in which the owner could not be identified and in turn the mail could not be delivered.  By Melville assigning this as Bartleby's former employer and revealing it at the end, it allowed the reader to have more insight on how Bartleby truly felt inside.  This undeliverable mail was stripped of all of its purpose and value when it arrived at the Dead Letter Office. It did not know of its destination and was therefore destroyed to secure the owner's privacy, which is very analogous to Bartleby's fate.  After reading this passage the reader got the sense that somewhere along his life he lost his purpose and felt he had no value, just like the Dead Mail he worked with everyday.  I wanted to also add that I am sure he felt a weird connection with this undeliverable mail.  So by losing his job, he also lost his only outside connection and in turn felt even more lost. 





Dead Letters, just like a Dead Man

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