In a world where prisoners are guinea pigs and love quite literally is a drug, George Saunders explores the daunting realities of life, death, and the ultimate sacrifice.
As Saunder’s story concludes, we are met with a bittersweet end to Jeff’s life, that reveals much more than his mortality. When Jeff decides to release the Darkenfloxx, a deadly, mind-altering drug into his system, his intentions are actually driven by life, not death. Jeff realizes the systematic manipulation and corruption he has fallen into at the hands of “scientist” and “family man” Abnesti. He now understands that the only way to save fellow inmate Rachel, and others from a deadly fate, is by sacrificing his life. We see Jeff’s immediate regret as his, “arm was about a miles down the heat vent,” where he hurled the remote that activated the Darkenfloxx. Jeff indeed had a will to live, but his will to protect others was ultimately stronger.