top of page
  • Writer's pictureAmr Abbas

Beyond Human: "The Last of Us"—When Is Life Grievable?

In the video game The Last of Us, players encounter Joel and Ellie who have to survive in a post-apocalyptic world populated by once human creatures turned zombie-like by a fungus infection. Their relationship as well as the stories of other characters throughout the game can be understood through Judith Butler’s concepts of frames and grievability:

  • Who do we see as human; as grievable?

  • Who matters to us and who doesn’t?

  • At which point does someone become grievable?


  • Butler, Judith (2016) Frames of War: When is Life Grievable?, Verso.

  • Naughty Dog (2013) The Last of Us [video game], directed by Neil Druckmann & Bruce Straley, published by Sony Computer Entertainment.

  • Naughty Dog (2020) The Last of Us: Part II [video game], directed by Neil Druckmann, Anthony Newman & Kurt Margenau, published by Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Music Credits

Intro music by sfxvalley.

Inspiring Acoustic Guitar by Lesfm.

The Turn by Alfred Grupstra.

First Day of Spring by tristu.

BW – Solitude by amidtownfarewell.

Cover picture by Amr Abbas.

You can find this and other Dextercast episodes on spotify.


bottom of page