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Nekropolis NOTES.pdf

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Mike Johnstone

McHugh, "Nekropolis" Reading Notes - "Nekropolis" "explores the varieties of bondage and control at the intersection of gender, race, and class in a traditional society that uses futuristic technology to maintain its social hierarchy" - the main character is an indentured servant biochemically "jessed" to a master - "harni" is a word for a bioengineered clone in the story - McHugh explores boundaries between natural and artificial loyalties, dominance and passivity, resistance and resignation - the narrator is 26 years ld and was sold into servitude - she has been with her present master, a restaurant owner, since she was 21 years old - she was a good student, and so she was purchased to oversee cleaning and supplies - she describes herself as rather plain, and says that she does not rely on looks - her name is Diyet - at the beginning of the story she thinks about asker her master to sell her - Diyet likes her job and she likes her master, and she doesn't even mind theAI used in the house, but she does not like the biological construct, the "harni", that runs the men's household - Diyet is religious - a jessed servant is bound by affection and duty, not by chains - the master cares for her - the master's wife is not as fond of Diyet - the Nekropolis, where Diyet grew up, is a very conservative neighbourhood - the wife is very extravagant, and likes to buy things just for the sake of buying them - Fadina is the wife's body servant - the "Mashahana" is some part of Diyet's religion - she must wear ribbons around her arms when she goes out - the harni doesn't understand why anyone would choose to be jessed, and feels that it has no choice in what it does - it thinks that Diyet is sad, but she does not agree - the Nekropolis is a poor area, where mourners gather - she grew up in a death-house - Diyet's mother made and sold funeral decorations when Diyet was growing up - Diyet is ordered to take the harni with her to the Nekropolis to visit her friend Kari - the harni's name isAkhmim - Diyet is upset thatAkhmim acts like a person, especially in her area, which is so old-fashioned - Kari begins "flirting" with the harni and this makes Diyet angry - he does human things, like help pick out earrings, but Diyet cannot see him as a person - the harni is good at bargaining, and Diyet thinks this is because he has no compassion - Diyet admits that the harni looks very much like a person -Akhmim tries to be friends with Diyet, but she won't have it--when he asks why she doesn't like him, she admits that it is because of what he is--he isn't human, but he tries to be -Akhmim avoids her after this - Diyet describes her tasks: she oversees the cleaning, and sets the cleaning machines loose when it is not inconvenient for the mistress - Diyet is jessed to Mardin, the master, but she mainly serves the mistress - she is glad she isn't jessed to the mistress, because the mistress is unreasonable - "bismek" is a virtual reality game that the mistress and her friends play - Diyet normally cleans on Friday afternoons, however this particular day she notices that the bismek game is still turned on - the cleaning machine does not work when the bismek is on, so Diyet turns it off - the mistress is still there, and gets mad at Diyet - Fadina says that she told Diyet that the mistress would not be out - Diyet denies this - Diyet gets punished for this - Diyet cries in the linen cupboards andAkhmim finds her there - it tries to comfort her, but then leaves - he then comes back and comforts her, and she starts to feel more empathy towards him - she struggles with attributing human emotions to a harni, but before he leaves she calls him by his name, in part acknowledging his humanity - Diyet realizes that Fadina did tell her the mistress would be in, but she was preoccupied in thinking about the harni - a while later, the mistress asks Diyet andAkhmim to be part of a bismek game - Diyet feels as if it is okay to spend time with and talk toAkhmim, because he is not REALLY a man - at the bismek, two characters are poisoned and die - the women all agree that it was a successful scenario - Diyet doesn't like the violence of the bismek, doesn't like how the women use death for entertainment - the mistress overhears Diyet saying this and punishes her by confining her to her room - she is only allowed light food and paper to make flowers, all of which is brought to her by Akhmim - Fadina tells the mistress that havingAkhmim be Diyet's jailer would be a punishment, but Diyet enjoys his company - Diyet longs for her childhood home, for her siblings, for the Nekropolis - Diyet andAkhmim become closer and more intimate, and Diyet tells herself that it doesn't matter because he isn't a real person -Akhmim is interested in Diyet's childhood because he never had one - Diyet thouht thatAkhmim couldn't be trusted, but r
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