Capitalism In Zone One

1393 Words6 Pages
“They had been honed and trained so thoroughly by that extinguished world that they were doomed in this new one” (Zone One 31). Colson Whitehead 's novel, Zone One, draws attention to the issue of consumer capitalism through a post-apocalyptic plot line. Likewise, Leif Sorensen draws on a similar point by discussing how Zone One feeds into his claim that “the novel’s commitment to closure is driven in part by a sense that repetitive cycles of late-capitalist futurism offer change in name only” (561). In other words, an aspect of consumer society includes a presentation of a new idea, product, or concept that is actually a previous idea rebranded. My essay builds and extends this claim by focusing on an overlooked aspect of the novel, the stragglers…show more content…
Zone One heavily depicts this ideology of consumerism through various events. Consumerism installs the concept of encouraging people to consume or purchase products and ideas on a regular basis, eventually becoming dependent on products. As a result of a consumer society, many ideas are rebranded, the product of a template, or repurposing a popular concept. Darren Richard Carlaw even criticizes how Whitehead makes an attempt at “repurposing popular genres” through his take on the zombie novel genre. It occurs throughout the novel that stragglers, and even in some scenarios the sweepers, actively seek comfort in the familiarity of their past, particularly shown in the scene describing the TGI Friday’s in the middle of the…show more content…
One critical part in the book is when Mark Spitz is discussing the TGI Friday’s. Mark Spitz recalls the time he spent with his family at the “local franchise” that was also “his family’s place for the impulse visits and birthday celebrations and random celebrations, season upon season” (Whitehead 188-9). The inclusion of this scene shows Mark Spitz, who is a sweeper seemingly acknowledged as middle class, temporarily living in the past. He describes this restaurant as a significant place for him and his family. He also then describes the devastating moment when he realized that his favorite restaurant was a product of consumerism. Mark Spitz states that “he was crestfallen when he ate at another location for the first time” and he recognized the “same stuff on the wall” (189). This moment is crucial because it emphasizes how even the most precious and sentimental aspects of our life are a result of consumer culture. Many aspects cleverly crafted to appear as a one-of-a-kind product or experience actually result in a slightly customizable template. Similarly, Sorensen explains consumerism as “the capacity to realize and replicate itself by borrowing against the guaranteed promise of the future as the site of more of the same and of endlessness of reproduction without difference” (562-3). Whitehead further supports this idea by illuminating the reproduction of a one-of-a-kind
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