Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Richelle Munkhoff

Second Advisor

Stephen Graham Jones

Third Advisor

Adam Bradley

Abstract

Observing the current popularity of the zombie narrative in American culture, this thesis explores the questions “why zombie?” and “why now?” through a combination of research and the creation of an original zombie story. Moving beyond existing criticism which argues that the zombie transforms to fit each generation’s specific fears, I argue that zombie movies, novels, and video games from George A. Romero-onwards continually speak to a distrust of science and scientific progress while additionally romanticizing the post-apocalyptic landscape. Consequently, the zombie’s unprecedented mainstream popularity over the last fifteen years could be read as symptomatic of this distrust intensifying, paralleling an increasing politicization of science and a rise in apocalyptic thinking within the public sphere. Through the deconstruction of my own zombie story, I uncover not only what these timely narratives tell us about our perceptions of the future, but also how they can help us change them.

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