Study Guide

The Man from the Philosophical Intelligence Office in The Confidence-Man

By Herman Melville

The Man from the Philosophical Intelligence Office

This shifty dude isn't around for long, but he does make an impression. Boy, we never thought we'd be so irritated by someone who claims to believe that all peeps are redeemable through education. Maybe it's because he talks about people like they're creatures, or maybe because he's kind of smarmy, or maybe it's because all he chooses to offer those in his charge is servitude.

Whatever the case, we don't like the cut of this dude's jib.

You know who else doesn't like him? Pretty much everybody. "'Oh, respected sir,' whined the other, crouching a pace nearer, and, in his obsequiousness, seeming to wag his very coat-tails behind him, shabby though they were, 'oh, sir, from long experience, one glance tells me the gentleman who is in need of our humble services'" (22, 4).

Yeah, dude is a major suck-up, and it's not like people don't notice that. Gotta check that, man—play it cool, are we right?