Zombie Culture

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Zombie Literature and Its Reflection of Society’s Fears Throughout the ages, real-world events have had a significant impact on the fictional literature that has developed through time. One type of literature that has been impacted by society is zombie horror. The term zombie first became widely known in literature as a direct result of William Seabrook’s Magic Island, a novel that focuses on voodoo in the Haitian culture. However, the actual word zombie was around long before Seabrook wrote the novel in 1929. “In the West Indies and southern states of America, a soulless corpse said to have been revived by witchcraft; formerly, the name of a snake-deity in voodoo cults of or deriving from West Africa and Haiti” (Oxford English Dictionary). The term carried over into the southern states through slavery and, in the 1870s, referred to a phantom or ghost throughout the nurseries and servants (Oxford English Dictionary). This origin provided a base for Magic Island to introduce the term into popular literature. Since its introduction, the term zombie has developed into a prominent archetype in popular literature. This archetype has not only developed through time but also reflects the feelings and concerns of society. The changes that have occurred in the zombie culture are a reflection of the very real fears society has experienced throughout history.
Zombie culture is a reflection of the fears of society because of how relatable the zombies, and zombie tales, are to the human race. The Oxford English dictionary defines culture as, “a way of life or social environment characterized by or associated with the specified quality or thing; a group of people subscribing or belonging to this.” The term zombie is fairly broad and can refer to someone put under a voodoo spell or the undead versions. There are many ways in which people can become undead. A few explanations for zombification have been nuclear war, viruses, and science experiments gone horribly wrong. The



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