The pairing of Get Out and Dezafi I think works as they both look back on the Haitain zonbi as a basis for the creatures in each work. As discussed previously, I don’t really think that the creatures in Get Out can be fully considered zombies, but I do feel they are closer to the Haitian traditional zonbis as opposed to the typical modern Romero zombies. The creatures in Dezafi, however, are the true Haitian zonbi: raised from the dead by a sorcerer and made to be slaves.
I believe there is evidence both for and against the idea that the characters in Get Out are zombies. They are not like a typical Romero zombie for sure but there are several things that would suggest the creatures are indeed a zombie.
First, they could be considered to be reanimated, as the host now occupying the body has “died” and is reanimated in the new body. They also appear to walk and talk in a stilted or dreamlike way, similar to the low cognition seen in zombies.
On the opposite end of the debate, the creatures appear not to be zombies. Firstly, the host themselves is not dead; they are simply trapped in the subconscious of the person. The creatures are also not attacking humans and trying to eat brains as a “typical” zombie would. Although they do talk and walk differently, the creatures do not stumble around as drastically as most zombies.
I personally would not call the creatures in Get Out zombies as I do not consider them a typical “Romero” zombie. However, if we go back to the original Hatian zonbi, then the creatures are closer to that definition of a zombie as those zombies are simply brainless people that are not flesh eating monsters. I would still consider the creatures not to be zombies even by that definition as the hosts are not dead themselves.
I found Dezafi by Franketienne extremely confusing to read. The multiple voices and different text types as well as multiple characters made for a very confusing read. I assumed different text types would each be a specific different voice, but the voice almost seemed to change between each section. The type in bold for example didn’t always sound like the same character. It was also hard to figure out who exactly was talking when names were not specifically mentioned. I admittedly did not quite finish the book, but I feel like it is a book that involves needing a deeper knowledge of the customs of the people involved. It is also a translation, so it is possible that the original language made the text much more readable. I may someday pick it up again and try to make more sense of it when I have more time to be able to devote to it.
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!
So before I get too much more into my study of zombies, a little bit about myself!
I am a third year student at UNBSJ and am currently working on a BA/BEd concurrent degree majoring in English and minoring in Linguistics. I hope to go on to inspire a whole new generation of readers and encourage them to find books that inspire them.
I am in no way a zombie expert … in fact I have very little exposure to the zombie world. I have not watched or played many movies, tv shows, and video games … and the one I did I never finished (Admittedly I get bored with tv shows but I usually go back to them … no plans to go back to The Walking Dead anytime soon 😛 ). I also have not really read any books which involve zombies …. although I do look forward to reading the books this semester. As an avid reader, I am very interested in expanding my reading habits into this area, and cant wait to see what this semester brings!
Trying to identify what exactly a zombie is can be extremely tricky: so many different authors/game designers/artists have represented zombies in so many different ways that even within a media you can see significant differences. In my very limited exposure to zombies, I would define a zombie as a mindless, soulless creature that walks/stumbles around. They are vaguely human in shape, but I see them having a green or a blue-gray shade of skin. They rarely, if ever, eat and can survive without several or even all of their limbs. In order to kill them, you need to cut off their head.
I am sure that over this course I will expand this definition and may even entirely change it … only time will tell!
Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton