Zombies Challenging Social Norms

Since the invention of the modern zombie in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead in 1968, zombies have become a household-monster so to speak, terrorizing the thoughts of man woman and child alike and earning a significant place amongst canonic monsters of our culture such as vampires, werewolves, ghouls and demons. The reason why the concept of a reanimated corpse delivers such a potent scare to the human psyche is because it is the most similar monster to us.

Zombies do not possess the mind control powers or debonair sophistication of the vampire, nor do they wield the physical prowess of the ogre or ghoul; they are not privy to the dark magic of the sorcerer nor are they able to shape-shift as does the werewolf. No, zombies are as mundane or blase as we are, yet if this is the case, why are people so terrified at the prospect of a zombie up-rising? Surely a group of vampires or a squad of hellions unleashed from the underworld could more effectively bring about the fall of human kind. The answer to this question lies within the zombie’s uncanny likeness to us.

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The zombie looks like us in physical form, it shares our same biological structure, it mimics our grunts and moans, it wears our clothing; it is us, however it simply has nothing to lose. Because the zombie is so eerily similar to us, it evokes in us a fear of ourselves. The zombie’s likeness to human kind allows us to construct the elements of its monstrosity within the context of our own society; it is an undead representation of oppressed social groups within American culture designed to persuade the viewer to scrutinize how we deal with difference in our country. This paper will