Zombies In American Culture

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„He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms and filth. No life in his eyes, no warmth of his skin, no beating of his breast. His soul, as empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the arrow, for they will not harm his flesh. For eternity, he will walk the earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead” (Obscure Hindu Text, circa 1000 B.C.E.) (Brooks, 1). Zombies are fictional creatures, which are neither alive nor dead, created by the means of reanimation of human corpses or a virus infection. They are monsters that frighten people, eat their flesh and brains and their single role is to make the human race extinct. As fictional creatures,…show more content…
It has been a fundamental part of folklore, myths and beliefs for many decades. Zombies are monsters that derive from a non-European tradition without having any previous literary origin. The zombie is a fundamental cultural artifact born out of oppression, slavery, ancient mysticism, fears and taboos. As stated by an ethnobotanist Wade Davis, the word zombie most likely derives from the Angolian Kimbundu term nzúmbe, which means “ghost” or “spirit of a dead person.” A more detailed etymological term provided by Ackermann and Gauthier shows the connection to the African and Congo concept referring a “corpse” or a “body without a soul.” The concepts were brought to Haiti from Africa with the slave trade and the voodoo religion itself. The concept synthesized with the western world through the Creole word zõbi which later became zombi. At last it modernized as zombie in American English (Bishop, 37-47). “The Magic Island” by W.B. Seabrook is one of the first books in which the concept of the Voodoo zombie was introduced to the Western culture. The book demonstrates narrators encounter with voodoo cults in Haiti and describes zombies as soulless human corpses taken from the grave and made to walk and act as if they were alive. Until 1929 the term zombie was unknown outside of Haiti (Christie and Lauro, 13). The ideology connected to zombies is linked to the social and political life of Haiti.…show more content…
With the 1932 movie “White Zombie”, which follows the traditional Haitian idea of a zombie, the zombie entered Hollywood and did not leave it ever since. The zombie portrayed in the movies of 1930s and 1940s represented fear of the other and colonialism. Owing to the fact their rotting flesh is a central image of who they are, the reanimated dead represented an appalling creature. Between the late 1940s and 1960s zombie movies carried signification linked to nuclear war and fascism. Afterwards, the newly developed type of zombies appeared as flesh eating monsters in George Romero's 1968 film „Night of the Living Dead“. Subsequently, the representation of zombies between 1968 and the mid-1980s was centered on consumerism. In more contemporary descriptions, like in the movie „World War Z“, zombies are victims of a virus and are characterized as the living undead in the apocalyptic world. A different type of zombies appears with movies such as „Shaun of the Dead“ or „28 Days Later“. The ideas of violence and terrorism along with relationships and love are connected to zombies (Pulliam and Fonesca, 16-18). The concept of a zombie is a widespread theme in the media. Nowadays, there are numerous television shows, smart phone applications and video games which revolve around
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