- IVY (ISSN:09142266)
- vol.49, pp.67-88, 2016-11-30
The present paper aims to reexamine the meaning of what Kyle Bishop calls "Zombie Renaissance": the global pandemic or spread of zombie narratives that is supposed to have happened around 2002, namely just after 9/11. This phenomenon has various aspects, and this paper's argument mainly focused on the question what makes possible the global pandemic of the zombie narratives. Section II examines the meaning of the zombie as a representational apparatus by means of the basically categorical and substantial analysis (before embarking on the relational and narratological analysis in section IV). Zombies are classified into the three categories: (1) Voodoo Zombies, (2) Modern Zombies, and (3) Hyper Zombies. Though these three categories of zombies appeared in the film history in chronological order, they do not constitute a linear order (1→2→3), as this paper explains with reference to some examples (section III). In fact, as these examples suggest persuasively, these three categories of zombies coexist in one age: the age of "Zombie Renaissance," which necessarily means that these three types of zombies are representative of different modes of signification. The zombie as representational apparatus implies no integrity, identity, or consistency in it. ln other words, "the zombie means anything." This accordingly leads to another formula: "the zombie can be anywhere" (in the global dimension). From section IV, this paper undertakes the relational or narratological analysis of zombie narratives' structures focusing on the two motifs that frequently and repeatedly appear in the films of this subgenre: "pursuit" and "siege." Section IV examines the meanings of these two motifs examining their places in the history of American films and confirmed that each of them constitutes the archetypal narrative pattern that are essential for gaining deep insight into American cultures. Section V examines how these archetypal motifs play crucial roles in several of Edgar Allan Poe's narratives. "The Black Cat" and "William Wilson" are two of the paradigmatic narratives that have in them the motif of "pursuit." What should be noticed here is that these two tales about "the pursuer" share the metaphoric expression of "the pestilence," which is also identified in the typical zombie narratives (zombies are similar in function to an "epidemic") and that these "pursuers" are absolutely inescapable and accordingly represent the inner space of the pursued (the narrators). As for "siege", "Shadow- a Parable" and "Masque of Red Death" are exemplary. These two tales are also narratives on "the pestilence," where people are besieged by the plague. In each of these tales, exactly like in Romero's narratives about the living dead, what was supposed to be a shelter is finally violated by the plague and becomes a claustrophobic space of death. The two motifs secure the interface between zombie narratives on film and classical narratives composed by Poe. The analysis of this interface between the zombie and Poe paves the way for a further argument and leads to psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud, though implicitly, also refers to the two motifs. In Freud's theoretical framework, the drive is "inescapable" precisely because it comes from the "inside." Freud's drive is placed in the same position as the pursuer in American films, or the living dead, to be more specific (this allegorical trait is also shared by Poe). And again, Freud's theoretical allegory of the "protective shield" is also constructed around the topic of the pressures of the internal drives and marked by the same narrative pattern of the claustrophobic storytelling in Romero and Poe. The motifs of "pursuit" and "siege" are also vital to the narrative called "psychoanalysis," which consequently confirms the link between the two motifs and the universal dimension ("universal" implies "global.") From the substantial perspective, the zombie means anything and they can be anywhere, while the relational analysis shows that zombie narratives are constituted by American and psychologically universal motifs at the same time. Here the key word is the non-identity of the zombie (and supposedly that of America, historically and genetically marked by the lack of the integrated myth of its own) that paradoxically forms a basis for the global adaptability or flexiblity of this subgenre. This very adaptability partly accounts for the global pandemic of the zombie narratives (and this also implies that the zombie pandemic is an indication of Americanization as a crucial constituent of globalization).