World War Z as a Sociopolitical Assessment of Globalization
World War Z showed readers that what may have worked in peace time was unsuited for war. By doing so Brooks was able to make a good assessment of our current global systems with the overarching evaluation of globalization’s literal and metamorphical infectiousness. He uses the novel to comment on the social issues such as government ineptitude, while also playing on innate human fear and our ability to adapt to new situations for the sake of survivability. By adding an overarching apocalyptic theme with a touch of old-fashioned zombie gore, Brooks is able to provide a thoughtful, entertaining assessment of how different parts of the world would react to a widespread crisis.
World War Z is one of the most creative social commentary of our times. It is chilling, to say the least, not only because of the ghouls themselves, but also how the rest of the world reacts to them. Max Brooks was able to depict a huge range of motivations and human intentions in this novel that could be comparable to a sociological study of humans in a time of crisis. He also does an excellent job of describing the sort of cold, logical planning that was necessary in order to survive a zombie apocalypse and that even after the war is over, the world still has a long way to go before it can move on.
Survivalism and disaster preparedness are two other dominant themes in the novel. Many of the interviews in World War Z that come from United States citizens focus on policy changes with the intent of training themselves to thwart off zombie attacks and, in a post-apocalyptic world, rebuilding the country to its former glory. This was an interesting policy for the United States to take up, as it completely changed the social hierarchy by putting the working class mechanic above the CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation (Brooks, 2006: 140).
Throughout the novel, Brooks repeatedly presents characters with the sort of mental and physical toughness required to survive a disaster. Although one’s physical fitness is a factor that attributes to one’s survivability, many of these interviews are of ordinary people with extraordinary resiliency who were able to rise to the occasion when they were needed. In this sense, readers can see a distinction in the United States from the rest of the world in that its citizens are a nation full of individualists who believe that they have the ability to survive any dire situation as long as one has the right “tools and talent” (Brooks, 2004: 140). It was also inspirational to read that in times of extreme adversity man can be beaten and brought to his knees but also rise up to show his resilience,
When zombies were first written about, they seemed to be created by magic. In recent decades, however, their origins have become more and more complex. Today, one would be hard pressed to find a zombie novel or movie where the origin of the zombie species is not from radioactivity and viruses being used as a sort of biological warfare. One thing that many books in the zombie genre do not address is how the rest of the world develops weapons to specifically deal with the zombie threat. Brooks not only creates new weapons in his zombiverse, he also finds new uses for previously existing ones.
It is true that new wars create new technology and there is no better motivator than a worldwide crisis such as a potential zombie apocalypse. World War Z is no exception to this fact, as various peoples around the world were able to adapt and overcome technical limitations when it came to facing a new enemy. The United States Marines, for example, are credited for creating the “Lobotomizer,” a fusion of shovel and double-bladed battle-axe improvised from the recycled steel of cars (Brooks, 2006: 146). People were also able to repurpose the resources that they had in new ways, such as using K-9 units to sniff out zombie populations (Brooks, 2006: 283). This adaptation and...
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