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How the Portrayal of Zombies in Literature Reflect the Beliefs of a Given Era

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“The zombie frenzy is growing, and it has cast its shuffling shadow on nature, mathematics, biology, and survival. So what can these shambling monsters teach us?” (Seifert 62) Before one can talk about zombies, one must first understand what a zombie is. The Oxford English Dictionary is known to be the most comprehensive dictionary in existence, its definition for the word ‘zombie’ may not be up to date anymore. In the dictionary, it describes a zombie as one of the Vodou zombies from Africa and Haiti and not any of the un-dead creatures seen today. Informally, zombies nowadays are described as a very aggressive, reanimated human corpse that is driven by a biological sickness or infection (Mogk 5-6). The effects these informal zombies have on people are starting to show in recent generations from young children up to grown adults. Whether these changes are for the better or not remains to be unseen but to prevent these changes to worsen, the portrayal of zombies in media should be changed to positively affect current generations.
Before the zombies of modern media, other countries already had their own cultures including zombies. To begin, in Tibet, there were two kinds of zombies in Ancient Tibet, the tantric ro-langs and the demonic ro-langs. The tantric ro-langs of Tibetan tradition is believed to be a human corpse that is resurrected by a necromancer for his own personal needs. The second type of ro-langs is the demonic ro-langs. The name is given to this creature because the ro-langs is created with demonic power or possession. One of its main goals is to turn other beings into ro-langs (Wylie 69 and 72).
Aside from these types, Tibetan Oral traditions states that there are five classes of ro-langs. The first, ...


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...a reflect the beliefs of the era they come from, such as the ro-langs, the Vodou zombie of Haiti, and the modern zombies of today. Aside from zombies reflecting the beliefs of the era, they also have the ability to change the way people think and how they lived their lives. To some cultures, the zombie isn’t just a thought, but something that can truly hurt them. As said above, zombies now have influence over society and the using them properly can positively affect the way people think. They can broaden the mind and can teach society about diversity. In the end of it all, “despite being so terrifying, or perhaps because of it, zombies have become a useful communication tool. The argument is that most disasters, from an earthquake to a brain eating army of the un-dead, require the same tools—an escape plan, the need for calm and plenty of supplies.” (Seifert 68)



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