In anticipation of making this blog post, and creating a presentation for my group’s project, I was slightly concerned that I would not benefit from this project as much as my groupmates. However, to my surprise, upon stitching together the quilt of our experiences I’ve managed to create a cohesive slideshow that resulted in a unique experience of my own. Our group was very good at communicating right from the start, and over thirty emails later we accomplished something pretty solid. I was assigned to be the presenter. Patrick and Kat were the editors. Kelly, Raven, and Julia were the readers. That was established quickly, and we immediately started throwing ideas out there.
As the presenter, I simply asked everyone to make notes of the creative decisions we were making on a shared document. My groupmates went above and beyond in terms of the communication of ideas and creative choices made. I’d like to give a special thanks to Katharina for creating individual sound files for my presentation as well! What ended up making my role in the project so unique was my need to pick everyone’s brains about their experience. By having everyone express what they have encountered as they worked, it invoked their interest and passion within the text. It was almost enlightening to hear them discuss the different social issues of modern-day and how they were expressed in Melville’s piece published way back in the late fall/early winter of 1853.
Through conversations with my partners, It sparked my own interest and caused me to investigate the text myself. Like mentioned and depicted above, Bartleby exposes issues within the workplace between 1853, all the way up to 2018. He represents the working class in a way that makes him replaceable with a woman in the workplace, as well as with a person of color within the workplace. Prior to creating this audiobook and presentation, Bartleby was just another short story I had read multiple times across several classes. However, reading it with this new lens has given me a greater appreciation for the first time ever. As someone who is going through life as a biracial (non-white passing) male, I dig deep into race issues within literature, education, and the workforce. The narrator as we know him is an extremely condescending lawyer of high status, working on the well known Wall Street in the year 1853. He is the epitome of corporate American issues in the way he runs his office. He had a blatant disregard for the condition of his employees. For example, Turkey’s drinking problem. The higher up did not care as long as the work got done.
This also cuts into the issue of working conditions for marginalized workers by people in higher positions of power. Bartleby’s working conditions were less than ideal, but who was he to argue with the big boss? Overall, the audiobook assignment was a positive experience. However, I feel as though if the group had the opportunity to select a text of our own to create an audiobook for, it may have provided the class with a larger platform for discussion across several genres.