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Necropolitics Is the Use of Social and Political Power

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Necropolitics Essay

Necropolitics is the use of social and political power to dictate who gets to live and who gets to die. The reasoning behind this decision can be an infinite number of reasons for there is no one single answer as why. Necropolitics is a theme that is commonly used throughout media such as books and movies, however in some cases the theme of necropolitics is not chosen to fit a fictional story but instead is a coincidental theme to events that happened in real life. There are many examples of this the book Persepolis being one. Persepolis may be the best candidate that shows how the theme of death is one of the most powerful and scariest things that one can experience.

Death itself is a scary and controversial topic, not everyone likes to talk about it, but it is something that we all experience in one way or another. Death is something that is final, you cannot come back from it which is part of why it is so scary because once it happens there is nothing else that can be done. Whether it is the loss of someone close to you, the death of a character to your favorite show and or book series, also a failed attempt of suicide, the important detailed being failed because no one has ever died and lived to tell the tale. Necropolitics is surrounded by the idea of death, as mentioned the decision as to decide who gets to live or die can be any number of things. In many cases death is used as a sign of power either to gain or to lose power, however that is not always the case.

In the graphic novels that have been read in class so far, only the ones that touch on necropolitics, two out of three of them have been biographies. In both Maus and Persepolis the theme of necropolitics is shown because of the real events occurred in their stories. In Maus, Art Speigleman interviews his father about his experience in WWII, to be more specific he wanted to write about Vladek’s experience through the holocaust. The holocaust is one of the biggest real-life examples of necropolitics to happen. To determine who lived and who died is generally simple, if you were Jewish in this time you would be sent to concentration camps where you would eventually be killed in any various of ways. Yes, there are more details that went into this decision but that doesn’t change the fact that it was one of the greatest tragedies to ever happen. However, not everything will be as tragic as the holocaust, which is why this can not be ruled as the best example for this theme.

In Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi writes about her childhood and all her experiences, the most important part being that she grew up during a revolution and a war. Death is a constant theme through out the whole book and is expressed in many ways. There are times where death is shown throughout the book but the reasons behind them are not all the same. Marjane’s family had a friend named Mohsen Shakiba was found and murdered not long after being liberated from prison. It was labeled a murdered because he was found dead with only his head underwater in the bathtub, it could not have been a suicide. The one who killed him where from the government who did not like that he was a communist and disagreed with the Shah. Her was not the only one that they targeted for soon they went to find another man who was liberated and when he was not there his sister was killed in his place. The Shah wanted to get rid of those who disagreed with him, this was the main reason when it came to who lived and who died.

As I said earlier death is power, one could control who dies and one could just have knowledge on the subject but either one can result in being superior than another. The Shah had the ultimate say as to who got to live and who was to be killed and this is because he had power, no one would dare to try to stop him. However, knowledge of it is power too. There have been cases in movies, shows, and book where the villain plots the death of the highest superior to achieve that power. To know the actions needed to achieve that power is important knowledge that makes that villain superior, but in there are a few cases where it isn’t that extreme. When Marjane was living in Austria she made a group of punk friends, among theme was a man named Momo who was fascinated by the subject of death. However, when it came to any conversation about it against Marjane she would always have the final say. She had more knowledge because back home she had witnessed it many times, not because she wanted but because death was everywhere she was, and she learned more and more about it as time went on.

Marjane had to experience many forms of death the first being the death of her uncle. He was released from prison as well and stayed with her and her family until he was ultimately sent back and later executed. Marjane admired him, she often thought of him as a hero and always wanted to hear stories from him. When he was sent away Marjane was devastated because she immediately knew what it meant, that it would lead to his death. She was heartbroken that she would never see again this man that she admired. However, that is not the only case where she lost someone she cared about. When she was about thirteen years old her street was bombed, Marjane was out shopping with a friend when it happened and as soon as she heard that it near her home she ran as fast as she could to get there. To her luck nobody in her family was hurt for the bomb went past her house and hit her neighbors but that did not make it any better. Marjane was good friends with her neighbor Neda and when Marjane and her mother walked past the rubble to get out of the street Marjane couldn’t stop herself from looking to see if her neighbors were home when the bomb hit. Marjane was horrified to see Neda’s bracelet still attached to the arm of its owner. Death is terrifying, to be able to decide some one’s death is a horrible thing because no one’s life should be ended other that natural causes. This included suicide, to kill oneself is something that I will never understand. Yes, it is that persons decision, but it shouldn’t be something that could also be done so simply, well in most cases. Marjane wrote about a time where she tried to commit suicide. After returning home she fell into a state of depression where she couldn’t find any meaning to her life again, she reached out for help from therapy and she was given antidepressants, but they did not help her as well as she wanted. She eventually decided to try to commit suicide, the key word is try. She originally tried to slit her wrists and bleed out in a bath tub, but she couldn’t bring herself to cut her self for fear of blood so instead she tried swallowing the rest of her antidepressants. She swallowed the pills and went to sleep expecting never to wake up, only to wake up three days later and with major hallucinations. She along with her therapist were confused for those pills should’ve killed her without any problems but she lived. Marjane took this as a sign and decided to reinvent herself after this experience.

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