On the Necessity to Exist: Analysis of Marcus Sakey’s “No One”
The modern era places the individual in a kind of political double-bind which is apparent in the “simultaneous individualization and totalization of modern power structures” which leads one to promote new forms of subjectivity which is essential to the refusal of an imposed individuality (Foucault 424). A consequence of the creation of new identities apart from the one prescribed by culture is the individual’s failure to conceive a unified structure of the self thereby leading to the problems resulting from identity formation which further leads to the creation of a gap between reality and illusion. The gap stands as a consequence of the individual’s failure to create a unified account of the self and of existence itself. Marcus Sakey’s “No One” presents an instance wherein such a gap occurs.
Sakey’s “No One” reveals the thoughts of an egoistic individual who failed to realize the gap between his perceived truth and truth per se which led him to murder his partner, Sara. The egoism of the individual here lay not so much in his belief upon himself but on his belief of what he possesses. Note for example, that he compared his partner, Sara, to an action figure. After recalling what his classmate did his action figure he notes “after Brian tore the arm off my action figure, I threw it away. It was spoiled” (Sakey 388). He did the same thing to Sara. He murdered her. At another level, one might note that the persona’s egoism may be traced to his need for recognition which will enable him to exist. She enabled him to be freed from his anonymity. He notes, she “let the sun shine in so I would never be alone in the dark again” (385). Sara, was one of the most popular students in the University since she cast her attention to him he was freed from anonymity thereby allowing him to exist. As he recounts the events of his actions, in the initial part of the text, note how he states, “They say God is always watching…God wouldn’t have made her go…God wouldn’t have abandoned me in the shitty basement apartment” (Sakey 383). Existence, for the persona, may thereby be understood as being equated with the recognition of others, a fellow human being who would affirm his existence.
His desire for the affirmation of his existence is evident in his method of murdering Sara. Although, he did not explicitly state it, one is able to deduce that the body of the unidentified pregnant woman “found in the bird sanctuary in Lincoln Park” was Sara’s body (Sakey 388). In the beginning of the text, he describes the time when both of them were in the nature sanctuary. He states, “Both of us (were) bare as the day we were born. There was no one around, but there could have been, see… (It is) exhibitionism without a risk” (Sakey 383). One may state that the importance he gives on the possibility of another individual witnessing the act may be attributed to the tension he felt in the possibility that someone may trace Sara’s death to him. However, it is important to note that as he was describing this scene he was not yet aware that her body was found. In addition to that, his description of his action as a form of “exhibitionism without a risk” fails to coincide with the idea that he was agitated at the thought of someone else seeing them. It seems that he yearned for someone to see them. This yearning may be understood if one realizes that the persona was referring to a different kind of exhibitionism here. He was not referring to the exhibit of body parts; he was referring to the exhibit of his love for himself as he conducts his final act of the affirmation of existence by killing Sara. By taking the life of the person who enabled him to be recognized by others, he was able to conduct the ultimate form of life affirmation. One cannot kill someone unless one is alive. In this sense, one might state that for the persona, it was not enough, that he is, it is necessary that others his being. Since what he conceives of as Sara’s abandonment will once again lead to his non-existence, it was necessary on his part to end hers as well.
It is important to note that before murdering Sara, he initially tried to hold on to her by murdering the person that he assumed to be Sara’s lover. He notes, “May roaches lay eggs in his eyes” (386). This leads one to the assumption that Mark, Sara’s classmate, was in the position that something like that might happen to him. In addition to this, one might also state that the persona murdered Sara out of jealousy caused by the thought of her having another lover and not out of jealousy as the person who made him exist was enabling another individual to so. One might argue that the persona recognizes that he needs to confess. In the text he states, “I need a different sort of confession booth…Bless me void for I have sinned” (Sakey 384). However, one should also note that later on in the text he states that “confessions…eases the pain” (Sakey 386). One might state that it eases the pain of the loss of a loved one, however, it is also important to consider the manner he described Sara in the text. From being the “best thing that ever happened to him” she turned into a “bitch”. She was only referred to as his Sara when he found out that she was pregnant with his child. His reaction to her pregnancy, however, did not lead him to regret his action instead it led him to reminisce about the first time he saw her, the first time he was recognized by someone who mattered in the reality that he wanted to penetrate.
In the end he notes, “The red is creeping back into my vision…It’s time for me to do the same. To press Send and lay down to remember Sara the way I first saw her…My Sara” (Sakey 387). As he pressed send he was sending his confession to “no one”. In the beginning of the text he states, “Sara broke my heart so I’m telling no one. [email protected]…I’ll type it all here…I’d like to think it will keep bouncing back and forth…an endless digital whisper telling how much I love her” (Sakey 384). Given the context above, one might note that this further shows the persona’s egoism. In a sense, he was no one, a person who is not recognized by society. By sending his account of the events into “the void…bouncing back and forth into an endless digital whisper” he is able to suspend her death and enable his existence. The story ends as he recounts the first time he met her. In the void, this story will never end thereby enabling his continuous existence. Sakey’s “No One” may thereby be seen as portraying the manner in which the character development within the story may be equated with the process of identity formation and reaffirmation of existence for the persona within the text itself.
Foucault, Michel. “The Subject and Power”, Art after Modernism: Rethinking Representation. Ed. Brian Wallis. New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1984.
Sakey, Marcus. “No One.” Chicago Blues. Ed. Libby Fischer Hellmann. New York: Bleak House Books, 2007.