The Worst (Fictional) Jobs in Literature

Every week in a competition of wits The New Yorker asks a question of the Twitter-verse. Its most recent contest asked followers to reply to the question, “What’s the worst job in literature?

Although James Joyce’s proofreader appeared several times in the list, most tweeters stuck to the fictional theme. In the end the job The NY found worse than Hamlet’s motivational coach and Jay Gatsby’s poolboy was the winning entry “Narcissus’ girlfriend.” There were, however, so many gems within the bunch that we had to round up a Top Ten for you.

Think your job’s unbearable? Check out the hilarious responses below:

1. Captain Hook’s harpsichord key repairman

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

2. The reception committee for Godot

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

3. The chiropractor of Notre-Dame

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

4. Gregor Samsa’s exterminator

“The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka

5. Public relations for Lisbeth Salander

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

6. Richard III’s physiotherapist

William Shakespeare’s Richard III

7. Hester Prynne’s stylist

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

8. Huck Finn’s elocutionist

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

9. Ophelia’s swim instructor

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

10. Oedipus’s shrink. Or ophthalmologist.

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles


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