Analysis Of Judith Butler's Precarious Life

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At some point in people’s lives, individuals experience loss: whether it means losing a pet, a relative, a friend, a personal belonging, etc. This loss provokes a sense of vulnerability and plays into the process of mourning. In the nonfictional novel, Precarious Life, by Judith Butler, following the events of 9/11, she brings awareness to the issue of politics and censorship and how it affects people’s view on the value of human life. Specifically, in her chapter, Violence, Mourning, Politics, Butler discusses how loss and vulnerability plays an important role in preserving the world’s humanity, especially during times with so much violence and destruction. This relation between mourning and violence is portrayed through devices such as repetition…show more content…
Towards the beginning of the chapter, Butler opens her discussion with a series of questions in relation to “recent global violence” that inquires the value of humans and human life; thus, introducing her first point, “what makes a life grievable” (Butler 20)? The use of rhetorical questions in her opening paragraph introduces Butler’s main points she will be discussing. Although she goes into depth about the topics of her questions, Butler does not literally answer them and rather leaves it up for interpretation. Its effect encourages the reader to contemplate these questions and answer them on their own, emphasizing the importance of awareness Butler wants people to value; when one falls into a state of vulnerability due to loss, their once conscious minds are now clouded causing people to no longer think clearly about the effect their actions can have. Similar to her opening questions, Butler, again, asks a series of questions towards the middle of her chapter, in which she introduces a new topic. Butler describes grief as a sudden hit of waves that cannot be seen in advance and it's heart wrenching effect takes a hold of people; thus, Butler begins questioning this unknown force that “claims [people] at such moments” causing people to no longer be “masters of [themselves]” (Butler 21). The questions illustrate a pause in Butler’s essay in which the reader evaluates and analyzes what she is talking about. Its effect is similar to how Butler urges individuals to take the time to reevaluate their actions before acting on impulse and causing harm to others to mask their own pain. Mourning leads to vulnerability and during this state of exposure, individuals are at risk of later becoming instruments of performing acts of violence on to others. It is a never ending

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