Zombies. I have written a few stories about them and I’m working on one now which has me thinking about the story telling niche they fill.  Why are they so prevalent in our modern, western culture?
Firstly, I think we identify quite easily with the feeling in these stories of being outnumbered and overwhelmed by mindless masses. I’m not saying, as some might, that I think most of the world is populated by idiots, just that it is very difficult for the average person to identify with the hundreds, maybe thousands, of unknown people they pass by every day, or those people who are so culturally different from themselves there seems to be very little common ground to identify between them. That makes for a world stuffed with unknowable strangers, who can certainly seem quite frightening.
Secondly, if there is one thing we all do seem to fear in the West, it’s the loss of our technological and cultural privileges and the idea of returning to a raw state of survival. We fear it, I think, because we are aware of it’s fragility and of the imbalance it creates in the world. How many times have we had a parent or grandparent tell us how privileged we are to be able to eat plentifully? How often have we been reminded the rest of the world is lacking what we have?
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Zombie stories combine these fears into a powerful scenario unlike any other “supernatural” fiction, and they draw us in like no other such fiction because of that. We scare ourselves to stave off complacency and keep the taste of our luxuries fresh and sweet.

Give them pleasure – the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.

Alfred Hitchcock

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Comments
  1. Reblogged this on Crow House Kitchen and commented:

    This us from my story site. Musings on zombies

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