Final Paper or Project: The Zombie Tradition
Final Paper or Project: The Zombie Tradition
What happens to our civilized ideals when civilization is destroyed? Can there be gender equality in an apocalypse? Will race matter to the survivors who are left? Are the walking dead still human beings? How does killing zombies make us less human? Will the apocalypse change us?
These questions are often raised in zombie texts, and that is one reason zombies continue to fascinate us.
Pick at least three of your favorite zombie texts from class and write about one of the questions below. Also, consider bringing in your favorite zombie texts in addition to the three required from class. Papers should be 5 pages double-spaced, and you should cite from your texts and list them in a Works Cited at the end of your paper. Podcast scripts can be 4 pages, but you have to include a recording of you reading your script as a podcast. Your script needs to include sources.
You can do a podcast with another person from class, and that script only has to be 7 pages if there are 2 of you.
Feel free to insert illustrations and photos in your paper if you do one, but remember you still need to write 5 pages worth of text as well. If you make a Pinterest board, you may be able to write fewer pages, depending on how elaborate your board is, but you will probably need at least three pages of text. Run it by me. Some people do a powerpoint with a short paper, or a poerpoint with text int he slides. Remember, creative projects are fun, but they are just as much if not more work. I think the archival work of gathering pins or photos can really contribute to the final project, though, so consider doing something other than a paper–a podcast, a powerpoint presentation or Google slide presentation, a Pinterest board, or something else– if you have the time and inclination.
Some questions you might discuss are:
1. Compare female figures in some of the zombie texts we have covered—Tell My Horse,White Zombie, I Am Legend, 28 Days Later, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, The Walking Dead. Do female figures in zombie texts—including female zombies–demand certain kinds of accountability from male figures in zombie texts? Do they signal kinds of exploitation or potential exploitation? Do they demand justice, or signal other kinds of values? Pick three or four examples to discuss (or more if you like). Does the apocalypse offer us a chance to be more fully human? Feel free to bring in video games such as The Last of Us and/or The Last of Us 2.
2.What are the limits of human obligation to “Others” in the texts we have read? “Others” can be other humans, victims of violence, people turned into zombies by voodoo, people who have become vampires (I Am Legend), the living dead. Are zombies in these texts (or vampires in I Am Legend) still part of the human family? What do we owe the living, or the dead? Pick three or four texts (or more) and talk about this issue. You might consider The Magic Island, or I Am Legend, or Dawn of the Dead, or I Am Legend (the book, not the movie), or Night of the Living Dead (the mother and daughter, the main character’s attempts to save everyone in the house) Dawn of the Dead (the way the survivors behave in the mall), or the first episode in Season One of The Walking Dead, where Rick Grimes and Morgan James initially have huge compassion for the living dead. Fans of The Walking Dead should feel free to talk about other episodes from Season One, such as the second episode “Guts” (“I’m Gonna Tell Them About Wayne”), or the storyline in Season Two about Carol, her daughter Sophia, and the zombies in Hershel’s barn; or the episodes culminating in “Look at the Flowers” in Season Three, or the Whisperers and their respect for zombies in the most recent seasons. Pick your favorites and discuss. Just remember to also talk about at least three other texts from class.
3. Does The Walking Dead feel like a part of the zombie tradition? Is it like I Am Legend, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, or World War Z? What values are earlier zombie texts concerned with? What do those texts share, if anything? How is TWD like them, or how is it not like them?
4. Thinking about Stuart Hall, what values or cultural fears would you say are being fought out in your favorite zombie texts? You should use at least three or four (or more) texts we have talked about in class, such as The Magic Island, Tell My Horse, White Zombie, I Am Legend, 28 Days Later, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, The Walking Dead–but you can also bring in others, including video games, especially really good ones like The Last of Us and/or The Last of Us 2.
Remember to use quotes or talk about specific episodes or chapters. Then discuss the quotes or episodes you use. Make arguments.
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