Bartleby, The Scrivener is an interesting story representing corporate discontent. Bartleby is a freak, an outcast and a profoundly depressed and lonely man, who seems completely unable to find work that will satisfy him. Life itself is weary to him and he seems like he cannot find a place in the world for himself. His prior job at the Dead Letter Office at Washington that is mentioned at the end of the story gives some insight as to why Bartleby has such a weird behavior and acted the way he did. He is a poor scrivener for a Wall Street lawyer, and his function in his workplace is the focus of this story. Melville uses many different ways to explain the process of the elimination of humanity from the workplace. The most important of these are his use of the scenery, his description of the type of labor performed, and the personalities of his characters. Throughout the story, however, Bartleby was seen by the head of the law office as someone deprived of everything, which made him feel a sense of urgency throughout the story to do favors for the less fortunate scrivener, but the scrivener's unwillingness to "prefer" to do anything the owner wished of him forced the owner to leave him by changing offices. .
There is a lot of play on the word "prefer" throughout the story. Because of Bartleby's constant use of the word, the narrator seems to sense it is becoming a part of both him and his colleague's vocabulary, which seems to be a turn for the worse. Melville's wonderful use of imagery through his description of the duties performed by Bartelby and his comrades displays the loss of independence and the boredom of the work in which they are employed. .
The description of the office is very depressing, and the landscape of Wall Street is completely unnatural. The work environment is spotless and miserable. Yet most adapt to it, with irregular levels of accomplishment. Melville often describes the world by telling descriptions of the environment.