World War Z
Predominant themes in the contemporary literal and cinematographic art utilize the idea of zombie. The book World War Z illustrates an invasion of the walking dead people to the planet, and the USA is one of the countries attacked by them. Certainly, the idea of dead aggressive people who have some characteristics of animals or machines appeared a long time ago. It is necessary to admit that the zombie theme seems to be quite primitive and stereotypic, but the book World War Z written by Maximillian Michael Brooks represents it from a quite different perspective. The book provides a deep psychological and philosophic description of the modern culture, tendencies, fears, problems, and threats from the perspective of zombie symbolism. The book discusses important thematic, cultural, philosophical and psychological aspects of human life through the symbol of zombie invasion.
The structure and style of the book confirm a new approach to the description of zombies. The author presents one more zombie horror, but it is not as simple as it seems at first glance. It looks like a report of different people and citizens. The living dead novel tells about the post-apocalyptic world and the circumstances that the humanity faced. Naturally, the author describes depression, panic and varieties of emotions since he takes into consideration the aspect of human soul instead of the essence of zombie appearance. Thus, the problem is human life, existence of the world, international and intercultural relations. The writer applies the symbol of a zombie to show the essence of the contemporary time. The powerful process of globalization corrupts the personality and presents the issue of human identity. It seems that zombies are alive as they have all the characteristics of living beings. However, they behave indifferently and faceless and threaten not only to people but also each other. The book summarizes the most acute issues of the present civilization: world war, global conflicts, which can be provoked at some ridiculous pretext, nuclear threat, unknown diseases, and eternal winter. The author repeatedly used the word “fear” in the text in different contexts, most of which have an extraordinary philosophical meaning. “Fear is the most valuable commodity in the universe” (Brooks 55). Although these words sound quite controversial, they have a deep meaning and reflect the key idea of the whole novel. The necessity of fear is obvious as it helps to support life or existence. Brooks concludes that “fear is the only weapon to save my life” (40). The theme of zombies in the novel refers to the problem of generation’s fears. People are afraid to see the world in which they are totally helpless. The structure of interviews reporting the experience of different people reflects the desire of the author to show that even people with a variety of skills and different professions, such as doctors and police officers, were helpless as well before zombie invaders. Max Brooks considers that fear is the basic emotion humans have (55). Actually, fear is the major element of the book. All the chapters and details of political and social life are connected with this feeling. It is an objective of the book to explain and analyze the fears of the present generation. People are afraid of a nuclear war and understand that the contemporary intercultural and international relations are so complicated that any case can lead to an outbreak of war. Thus, the novel by the famous American writer is a symbolic and informative source of the present generation’s affairs, which conveys a significant philosophical meaning.
Zombie first appeared as a part of Voodoo religion and slowly transformed into a philosophical concept of comprehension the modern world. Actually, it is linked to the deconstruction of famous known philosophical doctrines and evaluation of new ideas about the essence and purpose of human life. Philosophy of modern civilization “begins in disappointment” (McIntosh and Leverette). It is based on total despair and fear of the future. Thus, the zombie idea cultivates this domain and extends the modern philosophical conception. It illustrates a person facing the process of globalization, which generalizes the personality. Thus, zombies stand for the population of the globalized society, which lost their uniqueness and exceptional character. Moreover, people face destructive reality and recognize their lack of power and loneliness. Thus, the idea of zombie in the book by Brooks develops a separate and unique philosophical theory of modern human existence. It describes a person who does not see any prospects of the future and experiences a postapocalyptic fear to be alone and transform into a living dead. The book reveals the modern zombie philosophy from the perspective of different people. Certainly, the concept of zombie has cultural importance as it concerns the global level and can be used in all spheres of culture.
The literature work creates an idea of a zombie character of a separate art or culture. Zombie concept appeared first in comics, videogames, movies, and then was transferred into literature. “Zombie is a reflection of the anxieties that the American culture is experiencing at any given moment” (Neail). The use the zombie concept is a deep reflection of the previous significant historic event in the consciousness of humanity. Zombies are used to refer to invasion, danger, and unknown threatening reality. Naturally, it associates with colonialism, racism and genocide. Zombies illustrate those events and confirm that human life means nothing in colonial empires. Colonialism violated the order of the entire world. It smashed all cultural, ethnical, and religious borders. On the other hand, zombie may be associated with racism, which stresses difference between people and superiority of one nation over others. Thus, white men humiliate the blacks, and their hatred transforms them into animals murdering innocent people. It was like a disease of degradation. Thus, through the metaphor of a zombie the author of the World War Z explores the horrors of slavery and colonialism (Pulliam and Fonseca). These tendencies initiated a new culture of zombie, which appeared form the post-colonial world. Brooks considers the problem of refuges, characterizing them as desperate people (14). They run to save their lives from zombie invasion. The contemporary real world illustrates the same picture of desperate people running form the infection of capitalism, racism, and humiliation. In other words, they try to escape from human aggression that leads to apocalypse.
The novel World War Z is a metaphor of social unrest, immigration, and rampant consumerism. The problem of social disorder can be as threatening as the epidemic or invasion. Certainly, zombies symbolize such unrest. The capitalistic order in the majority of developed countries associates with the highest rate of dead monsters. It is necessary to assume that the author of the novel has an intention to hint at a direct connection of progress and destruction, which seems controversial though. The more people achieve technical and intellectual goals, the higher the level of rampant consumerism rises. The idea of zombies in the novel illustrates the main problems of modern world. Thus, the waste of natural resources, destruction, hunger, wars, inequality and a constant desire to extend possibilities are summarized by the symbol of invasion. In other words, all people on the Earth have an instinctive desire to extend their possibilities in order to become happier. Zombie epidemic appeared as a result of such human intentions. One of problems discussed in the World War Z is social processes that lead to apocalyptical effects. Roger Luckhurst characterizes the world created in the book World War Z and admits existence of a certain zombie tendency. He claims that the zombie idea becomes standardized and globally present in the form of computer zombies, zombie stocks, shares, corporations, governments, etc. They are dead in its nature and do not have consciousness; they are zombified. Thus, the entire Western world is zombified. Zombies appear as the consequence of human activity. A dead creature is emotionless and guided only by the instincts. All the needs are connected with the instincts. The modern human rejects moral issues. Actually, it is a part of a destructive stream of social unrest that moves to its end. “The world is so oppressive and evil that only absolute annihilation of apocalypse can put an end to it” (McIntosh and Leverette 74). However, it is hard to understand the popular culture of zombies. Neail is sure that if zombies were connected only with social unrest, capitalism and consumerism, they would have disappeared years ago instead of rising (3). It is possible to conclude that zombie is a powerful and extended symbol which generalizes the society as a unit, taking into consideration its smallest elements, a family and personality.
Zombie is a metaphor of human loneliness and family dysfunction. Actually, dead monsters concern the idea of loneliness most of all since a person feels powerless under the destructive power of the dead people invasion. The novel contains an in-depth psychological analysis since it investigates the most essential moral problems of the contemporary epoch. Zombies destroy the world, and all the ordinary things of the society are ruined. Humans faced the problem of loneliness due to their weak ability to survive in such conditions. In addition, the zombie novel reveals loneliness in the framework of family dysfunction. Naturally, it reflects the modern social reality. The society becomes zombified and attains the features of emotional indifference and prevalence of instincts. Consequently, the necessity of the family and its functions has no sense. When a family member is zombified by some of the world’s technologies and processes, the family loses it social firmness. This idea is presented in the novel by a scene when members of the family are infected. Certainly, the social status of the family does not have significance for contemporary people. Thus, the future generations can be associated with zombies, who act according to their instincts; they are lonely, have no valuable memories and family issues. The novel World War Z does not reject the family notion but questions its necessity and validity.
Being a non-standard edition about zombies in the postapocalyptic world, the book by a famous American writer Max Brooks World War Z brought the author a great success. The novel describes the theme of zombie in the form of interviews or reports of different people. Thus, it presents a rather deep philosophical and psychological analysis in the framework of symbolism. Zombie invasion symbolizes desperate generation of the modern time. The issue of zombie invasion confirms that idea that this book is not only a horror but also a source of information about social affairs, fears, and processes in the world. People try to attain the highest level of happiness, but the constant improvement of conditions makes them reject their families and important things. The book is a certain attempt to stop the present style of life, and the end will be a different than in the novel.