What’s in a title? Movies and Books

Titles are important. They can foreshadow, they can emphasize an important part, or they can give a deeper meaning to the story. Exploring the titles can bring a greater understanding to the literature.

Seabrook’s The Magic Island is a book about zombies in Haiti. The title is clearly referring to Haiti itself as the island. The “magic” refers to the idea that magic is used to bring the dead back to life. There may be more references that would refer back to the title within the book; however, we only read part of the book.

Madison Smartt Bell’s piece “Out of the Tombs” was very interesting. I found it very confusing at first; however, once I had some better background information, it made more sense. The narrator is clearly bilingual and is assumed to work as a translator in the courts. Once I found out that the Manhattan Detention Complex – a jail for people awaiting trial – is also nicknamed “The Tombs”, the story took on a whole different light. Instead of seeming like very broken scenes, I had an idea of the setting and where the speaker was for each part. Bell also had originally planned to make this an excerpt from a longer novel; however no novel by this name or that has these characters has ever been released by Bell. I think reading a longer work based on this would be an interesting read as it would give more context for this short work.

White Zombie was one of the most interesting movies I have seen. Being an old black and white movie, it was extremely funny and cheesy. I especially loved the driver in the beginning when he got really excited or worried and opened his eyes wide while warning the others of the zombies. The title made me curious, as I assumed that the first zombies we would see would be black, as it was an older movie and the people had black slaves. Once I saw that most of the zombies were white, the title made much more sense. I found that it was rather predictable overall but it did have a few twists I was not quite expecting. Probably not something I would ever watch again but it was fascinating!

One thought on “What’s in a title? Movies and Books

  1. Yes, the issue of race in the film was pretty confused/confusing. Most critics think of the young woman as the “white zombie” but you are correct: the zombie posse he had seemed European too.


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