The Manifest of Zombies

Zombie as Cultural Metaphor

The Manifest of Zombies
Photo by Yohann LIBOT on Unsplash

What exactly is a zombie? A zombie is an undead human. It has decaying and rotten skin. And zombies are just mindless creatures wanting to eat brains. I do think zombies are monsters, but they can represent mindless humans also. I mean zombies can’t think for themselves all they want is one thing and that is to eat your flesh or brains. The function of horror is to give humans a sense of fear and let our imagination run into dangerous scenes or events. An article to prove this example is “Our Zombies, Ourselves” written by James Parker. Parker compares the modern-day zombie with how now zombies start to get gorier. He plastered the meaning and question of why zombies are so much apart of our society now. Parker states, “The zombie him-self has never looked better, dripping with wounds, full of conviction. With his dangling stethoscope, or his policeman's uniform, or his skateboard, he exhibits the pathos of his ex-person-hood.” This quote expresses that modern zombies represent the looks of a human.

Also, George Romero helped developed the central idea towards zombies. Romero is an American-Canadian film director. Romero is important because he’s known for his gruesome horror films of the zombie apocalypse such as Night of the Living Dead. His film brought the idea of gruesome zombies into our lives in 1968. For example, The Walking Dead uses Romero’s horror films of his zombies towards the tv series idea of their zombies' looks. And they actually reference Romero’s film and created the modern-day zombie that we all know now. The Walking Dead also used his films towards their zombies by making the zombies act very similar to his. They made the zombies act like a slow pace, mindless creatures.

I do think zombies represent the fear of American culture. Zombies have become a part of our society. Basically, we see zombies everywhere now such as in video games (Left 4 Dead), movies (Shaun of the Dead), and tv series (The Walking Dead). Zombies also represent different metaphors of society and cultural issues. For example, we see isolation and loss of identity (Zombieland), contagious diseases (War Z), and fear of economic loss and poverty (The Walking Dead). Nowadays, zombies as a cultural metaphor represent our darkest fears.

Overview of The Walking Dead Season One Episode One

AMC series, The Walking Dead is an American post-apocalyptic horror drama television series. The tv series has been developed and directed by Frank Darabont. The Walking Dead started off as a comic created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The first episode premiered on October 31, 2010. It’s about a forty-five minute long per episode. The Walking Dead follows sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes and a band of survivors following a zombie holocaust. A writer critic, Rob Vollmar said that “The central genius behind The Walking Dead is that zombie narratives are typically very self-contained affairs,”. For example, during the opening scene, you see Rick trying to get some gas for his Sheriff’s car. He hears some noises, pauses walking, and kneel down to look under the car, you see a little kid and bends down and picks up a stuffed animal. Rick automatically assumes that the little girl is a living being but when he confronts her, she is just another zombie.

Metaphor Meaning of Zombies

What exactly is a metaphor? Well, a metaphor is describing one thing as another. It sometimes uses “like” and “as” in the comparison. We know the world with our five senses. And metaphors help us to think the imagination and senses in order to communicate an idea. An example of a metaphor would be, “My dog is a pig.” This quote isn’t taken literary. I’m not saying that my dog is actually a pig, I am just saying that she eats a lot. “Here metaphors are things that aren’t true; they get under our skin because they use these imaginative things. Metaphors are images that we dream and imagine.” quoted by The Art of Metaphor video. Because we assume that pigs eat a lot. They are ideas of abstracts that help us imagine what we truly mean. Metaphors also help us feel things and let us have a sense of our emotions.

I do believe zombies (or zombie films) can function as metaphors. Mainly because I feel like zombies represent us in a way and symbolize something in our real lives. Could be that they give us a sense of fear and unexpected reality. The character Dr. Foster (in the Dawn of the Dead, 1978 film) said, “Every dead body that is not exterminated becomes one of them. It gets up and kills. The people it kills get up and kill.” These zombies don’t have individual identities or personalities. They are just mindless creatures doing only one action that they know how to fulfill.

David Edelstein writes “Zombies in the Time of Ebola: Why We Need Horror Movies Now More Than Ever” that helps us to understand the concept of zombies comparing to Ebola. Edelstein states “An oldie but goody — even goodier now — is the monster that embodies the recklessness and arrogance of technology.” This quote fits my argument because “the monster,” which are the zombies, shows us that it’s out of control in Edelstein’s quote. Those zombies represent us in a way because it symbolizes something in our real lives that we take advantage of. My quote metaphors the fear of technology. We misuse technology in our daily lives! We think that technology will always be there for us and that it will never fail us. But that’s where most of us are wrong and that technology can be painful and hard to use if not used correctly.

Body Behind Zombies in The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead contains a number of strong metaphoric meaning towards the zombies. Provided through the main character Rick, you can see countless journeys and actions that Rick had to make in order to protect him and his fellow family and friends. A review that I’ve found on metacritic about The Walking Dead by Variety Brian Lowry on Dec 7, 2010, commented, “Although we've seen no shortage of zombies and post-apocalyptic stories, producer-writer-director Frank Darabont has deftly tackled the seemingly perilous task of adapting a comic-book about zombies into a viable episodic series.” This quote supports The Walking Dead which has truly brought us a new idea towards zombies.

For example, The Walking Dead represents the metaphor fear of economic loss and poverty. You see the story reveals itself in The Walking Dead Episode One “Days Gone Bye”. The opening scene starts off with Rick driving down the road in his Sheriff’s car. He slowly comes to a stop in the middle of the road between two flip cars. The zombies in The Walking Dead are scary with their skin falling off. They aren’t harmless and they only want one thing and that is food, fresh flesh. It then goes into a flashback, Rick wakes up after a few months later in a hospital bed. This scene takes place in a hospital in Rick’s town. Rick is the main character in this scene. My metaphor fits in question two because when Rick wakes up after a few months that the zombie apocalypse has happened. Rick doesn’t have his family or a house anymore. In fact, this example in episode one displays that Rick’s fear of economic loss and poverty.

Another metaphoric meaning in the series is the fear of losing their identity. For example, in The Walking Dead Episode Two “Guts”, Rick arrives in Atlanta by riding a horse. He obviously had no clue that the city was crowded with flesh-eating zombies. As he continues to ride on the roads he manages to get on a road full of zombies. He loses his weapons as he fell off the horse but escapes from the zombies and manages to get a corner in a tank. Some of the zombies are kind of surrounding the tank while other zombies still eat the flesh of the horse that Rick was riding on. His last dying words were “Lori, Carl, I'm sorry” as he raises a gun to his head making the decision to end his life so he could not be turned into a zombie. But before he pulled the trigger, Glenn surprises Rick and talks to him on the walkie talkie that was in the tank. In this scene, Rick's thoughts were that he would rather kill himself than be turned into a zombie, so he could die as a human and not become something he is not. This example in episode two displays that Rick’s fear of losing his identity by becoming a zombie.

The Popularity of Zombies in World-Wide

Zombies are worth over five billion to the economy! The zombies grew their popularity in video games, comics, tv series, movies, costumes, events, merchandise, and etc. According to the website, www.247wallst.com, they manage to create an article where they tallied how much zombies are truly worth. In their research of how much zombies are truly worth they found out that $2.5 billion goes into movies and video games, $50 million into comic books, magazines and tv, $500 million into Halloween costumes (over a four year period), $100 million into books and novels, $10 million into conventions, events, and walks, and so on! In this article, “Zombies Worth Over $5 Billion to Economy” they have done all the research about the worth of zombies.

Honestly, zombies have only been growing their popularity over the years. The zombies' popularity has raised and will probably continue to raise as long as the new next monster won’t come. And zombies will be the hot thing for a while and the zombie’s product will continue to sell. Overall, I see the zombies are manifesting the world. With a tv series, such as The Walking Dead, and zombies apocalypse films I can see zombies staying here for a while.

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Samantha Garcia
Samantha Garcia
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Samantha Garcia
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