Last time, I opened with some general thoughts about zombie-stories in general. I think one of the things that zombies stories do is describe our fears.
Some of the fears are about growing up and becoming part of the system. The world outside is a place where there are no souls, where we will be eaten alive.
Some of the fears are about the idea that none of us have souls at all. The “survivors” can delude themselves for a while, but sooner or later it becomes clear: it’s not so much a transformation into zombie hood, it is a peeling off of masks (or perhaps layers of skin) to accept the hard truth: we are nothing but greed and hunger.
Some of the fears are that in such a world, there is no possible room for a loving God.
The show “Walking Dead” puts a sort-of spin on these over-arching themes.
Perhaps most directly with the protagonist, Rick. When much of the world was busy dying and turning into zombies, Rick was dying to. His best friend even reported him dead. But he came back from the dead, in a way like the zombies themselves. But he came back in control of himself. He demonstrates frequently on the show that he is capeable of nearly super-human feats of leadership and courage. I wonder if I am reaching when I suggest that he is perhaps a Jesus-figure, who experienced a Jesus-resseruction.
This is not to say that Rick is morally perfect. In fact, looking deeply at the show leads to the conclusion that there are, in facts, many ways to fight off being a zombie.
When the physical and literal battle is won, even when the bites are dodged, When the zombie skulls are smashed, this is where the real questions begin.
How will they survive? Who will survive?
There is an interesting dichotomy. The more they ensure that they won’t literally become zombies, the more they become symbolic zombies. Frequently, the humans are required to make very difficult decisions. Will they help or trust others, putting their own selves at risk?
The choice not to help and trust, on a literal and physical level, reduces the likelihood of becoming zombies. But on a spiritual, symbolic level, every time they make these choices, they are acting like the zombies they are so afraid of becoming.
There are lots of specifics… but I am running long here. So I think I am going to end here and hope for some insightful comments.