Sometimes the best thing that we can do for people who are suffering, is to help take them out of their pain. This act can allow these continuously tortured individuals to hopefully gain some sort of peace and solace. I feel that this idea relates to the passage we analyzed in class, from Zone One. In my opinion, the protagonist, Mark Spitz, equates this idea to the skels that he is forced to put down. “They deserved release from their blood sentence. He was an angel of death ushering these things on their stalled journey from this sphere” (Whitehead 15). Mark acts in a sort of merciful way, by helping to release these already dead people from their second, consuming lives as skels. It seems like Mark does not view his job as a duty to make the city a better place for the future, but instead as someone who is acting to give these people the true peace they deserve after death. Typically in our society, when a person passes away, we wish that they “rest in peace”. In this situation, hopefully Mark’s seemingly savage-like actions are allowing these people to gain this peace.
The last part of this passage “Not a mere exterminator eliminating pests” remains very powerful to me. Textually, this helps demonstrate that at least Mark, does not view himself as a mere sweeper “exterminating” people thoughtlessly, like his teammate, Gary. Instead, he sees these skels more as victims and not as a common enemy. When Mark comes across these infected individuals, he sees his friends or his teachers in the faces of these victims.
Similarly, we often see our loved ones who have battled through untreatable illnesses, eventually end up in hospice- care facilities. They usually have lived a very jovial life, which is drastically different from their second, hospice-stricken life. Ultimately, many families act with the same thoughts in mind as Mark, and question whether or not to let their loved ones continue to suffer or help them seek that peace which they deserve.