Surviving vs. Living

While watching 28 Days Later, I could not help but compare the difference between surviving and living. We are introduced to Selena, a woman whose sole wish is to survive, which in my eyes is depressing. She has no purpose and no wants. She also knows that in this new world she must at times be cold and calculating such as when she is forced to kill Mark who becomes infected. In her eyes, she cannot afford to feel any sympathy for a person once they become infected. It is not until she meets Jim, Frank, and Hannah that we begin to see some will to live in Selena, and even then it is forced out of her by Jim. As I watched Selena continue to try to persuade Jim that surviving was the only thing left in the world, I felt a wave of hopelessness. Hopeless for Selena and Jim. Hopeless for humanity. Hopeless even for if there would be a future at all. Frank and Hannah contrasted Selena’s gloomy outlook on life and the future. The scene when all of them were by the country side, laughing and enjoying each other’s company, to me, was the turning point for Selena. Up until this point, all she saw for her future, for anyone’s future to be exact, was their inevitable death. We can finally see Selena be happy and enjoy her life, for we are finally seeing her live. I found myself constantly comparing the two as I watched the movie: surviving versus living. Was Selena living or surviving? Was Jim surviving or living? Was anyone living? I mean to answer any of these questions first we must decide what exactly is the definition of living is. The technical definition would most likely be any person or living thing who has a heartbeat or can breathe. In this case, I want to define living as having a purpose in life bigger than simply surviving the day. Living means laughing. Living means finding the small things in life where happiness can be found. Living means finding joy in living life. By the end of the movie, Selena finally finds herself living. She still has her want to survive the day, but she also becomes invested in Jim and Hannah, in which she grows to love them. After watching the movie I was left with not questions about the film, but questions about how I would react when put into that kind of situation. Would I simply survive, living day to day with no actual hope of having any sort of life again? What kind of life is worth living if the only purpose is to survive? Is it worth living? A girl in class said that she wouldn’t know if she could have to the will to keep going, of surviving even, and I felt the same way. I have no idea if I could handle living a life where I had no glimmer of hope of ever getting back to normal.

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