Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

College/School

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Department/Program

English

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Laura Nicosia

Committee Member

Jeffrey A. Miller

Committee Member

Adam Rzepka

Subject(s)

Robert Kirkman--Walking dead, Zombies in literature, Graphic novels-- United States, Marxist criticism

Abstract

This study of The Walking Dead comic book series intends to argue that the zombie of The Walking Dead resists classification within a Marxist schema through their blurring of social binary systems of class, race, and gender. Current scholarly criticism of zombie literature, film, and television has a tendency to utilize a Marxist lens to depict zombies as drones of capitalism, and mindless consumers.

The modern American zombie comes from Haitian myths in which zombies are raised to assist the slaves in the field during the day, but many critics have ignored the other half of Haitian stories in which the zombie are raised to assist in the revolution and fight for the freedom of the slaves. I propose to look closer into this part of the myth and utilizing Marxist theorists to offer a new argument to the zombie canon.

The zombies in TWD resist classification within any binary system, such as race, class, or gender. Their lack of speech allows them to recreate the world free of judgements. They have more freedoms than the surviving humans, particularly those who live amongst a group known as the Saviors.

I propose that the true mindless drones of capitalism are the Saviors, a group within the text who are led by Negan. Negan uses violence and terror to create a legion of laborers who follow Negan’s orders without question.

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