Family or the State

In the world of One Piece it’s pirates against the Marines. The most interesting thing is that protagonist of the story, Luffy wants to be the pirate king so the marine’s are often shown as the antagonists with few exceptions. In this world often times sins of the father are laid on the shoulders of the son. When the father can’t be reached it is the son that the marine’s go after in a bid to uphold ‘justice’. After all their fathers were ‘demons’, a threat, so clearly the sons are the same. Luffy’s older brother Gol. D Ace was the son of the previous pirate king Gol. D Roger. Once the man was executed there was a manhunt for his pregnant lover so that his unborn child could be killed. Before his execution Roger asked Garp who was Luffy’s grandfather and the only man to have ever come close to catching him to look after his lover and unborn child on the fact that his child was innocent. Ace’s mother who held him in her womb for 20 months out of willpower to protect her son died at his birth from the strain and Garp looked after Ace when he saw that sacrifice.

 Garp stands in front of his grandson Luffy.
“Luffy I consider you my enemy.”
 Luffy punches his grandfather and continues onwards to save his brother Ace.
(One Piece ep.480)

There came a point in One Piece when Ace was to be executed not because he was a notorious pirate in his own right but because he was Roger’s son. And that was bad because clearly he had the blood of a demon running in his veins never mind that Ace denounced Roger as his father and claimed his only father was his captain Whitebeard. This was a difficult position for the man who secretly defied the law despite being a marine and took Ace in. Garp is a vice admiral of the marines and a powerful man. He also loves his adopted grandson Ace but he had to make a decision. Save the boy he saved and saw as his own blood or follow the laws he fought to uphold most of his life. Family or the state? When this battle to save Ace is fought there are many parallels that can be seen between this fictional world and the world we live in today. Despite the marine leaders’ goal to keep the peace and put an end to piracy there is rampant corruption and fanaticism that comes with it. We have that here too. Not just in the United States but also in many other places in the world, corruption runs unchecked and no one does anything about it or whatever they try isn’t enough. Another parallel would be the complacency. In both worlds people are complacent and complacency often times leads to apathy and an incomplete story of what’s really going on.

Iseme: What can I do, wretched one, if things are in this state,
by loosening or tightening the knot
See whether you will join in the toil and the deed with me.
What dangerous enterprise? What ever are you thinking?
Whether you will lift the corpse with this hand?
What? Do you intend to perform rites for it, a thing forbidden the city?
For my brother, certainly, and yours, if you will not.45
I for one will not be caught betraying him.
Headstrong! When Creon has forbidden it?

In the play Antigone, Antigone tries to convince her sister Ismene to bury the body of their brother Polyneices. Ismene quickly points out that Creon has forbidden this though Antigone says that she will not betray her brother. Creon their  uncle is the king and essentially head of state and he is also harsh. If anyone breaks the law even if it is his family he will punish them, as as often times the punishment was banishment or death he most likely would have executed them. Both girls went through the same thing. The loss of their parents and both brothers in a relatively short period of time and now because one brother is condemned to having his soul wander around because he wasn’t buried is too much for Antigone but Ismene doesn’t want to lose her sister who is all she has left. There is a definite loyalty that each sister has and each sister refuses to budge from. And the both aren’t wrong. But when do they know which loyalty comes first and when to go against the state when they are wrong. Often times loyalty is divided because of separation between family and state and that divisions can lead to tragic situations.

Fatema Islam
Team Jupiter


One thought on “Family or the State

  1. This is really sad to read about. I can also relate this to another thing I learned about in another class that I have. I recently watched a film for my film class about poverty in the Appalachian mountains. At one point, the film talks about how the term “Hillbilly” came from the poor people there. Yet the sad story of the people who live their is that they are not really ‘hillbillies’ at all persay. They are just people who need help. Yet no one has given them that or the coverage they deserve yet. Its really sad to know this kinda stuff can go on in society today. Hopefully we can fix it soon.


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