15 September 2014
The comic The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye displays the loss of innocence as a consistent feature within the book. The two most vocal scenes of this feature are when Rick kills the suffering zombie and, in the last pages, when Rick’s son, Carl, learns to shoot and then murders Shane, who had become a father figure to him in his father’s absence, to protect his real father. In the first scene, loss of innocence is embodied in the young female zombie and the metaphorical killing of Rick’s innocence. Similarly, Rick’s son also loses his innocence by killing, yet it is not one of the undead. These scenes and others collectively form Cohn’s theses, representing the zombie as graphic warning of innocence lost and its unsettling loom, and defining the threshold between innocence and monstrosity.
In the first of the scenes, Rick ends the suffering of the female zombie out of mercy. Rick returns a second time to the place where she was left to die and sheds a tear before ending her life. The zombie is the characterization of innocence in flesh. She is used as this model in the way she is pictured, as young, innocent female, clothes torn and there is a sense of assault. It is suggested that she is a young teen that was attacked on her bike ride, without protection from the events to befall her. The scene brings out emotion in Rick, making him more human to the reader and separating him from the undead. It also presses on Rick’s traumatic experiences directly prior when waking in the hospital. The events highlight the vulnerability of humanity during the apocalypse. The hospital is a interesting dichotomy to set the tone to because it should be a place of safety, but instead it is deserted and full of death. Rick also comes to the realization that this is what his world has become. He also must come to terms with the fact that this will not be the first of many he will kill in order to protect himself and find is family. However, this scenario not only opens a door to the humanization of the zombie, but also makes Rick realize his loss of control. It is the first glimpse onto the “threshold of becoming” discussed in Thesis VII (Cohen 20). Thesis VII’s definition of the threshold between innocence and monstrosity embodies the idea of knowledge as a painful means to the inevitable conclusion. Awareness is the monster rather than the being, simulating Rick’s selfish and thoughtless approach to entering the city of Atlanta in search of his wife and son. Another take on Rick’s killing of the zombie could be the desperate attempt not to relinquish control. We see Rick fall into a state of distress after the traumatic events that have occurred. This scenario highlights the end of both his control over his new world and the diminishing of his innocence. He is now controlled by the events that befall him and must learn to accept this or fall to the consequences of the apocalypse. Rick struggles with the acceptance of his new world and it is reflected in his second attempt to venture into Atlanta. Rick’s decision halts readers and brings forth the question of why he would risk death after finding his family. However, Glenn ceases the suicide mission. Glenn teaches Rick to walk disguised among the dead by lathering their bodies in zombie parts. This event is a defining point in the struggle between the morality of the living and the dead. Rick and Glenn must disguise themselves as the dead in order to destroy them. The irony is that man, because of the ability for emotion, kills both their kin and the dead, while the zombies have no urge kill their own. This forms a new opinion of monstrosity in terms of man instead of beast. Raising the question: who are the real monsters and can innocence even exist in this world? The humanization of the zombie brings back the idea of innocence and that the zombie itself is, in fact, a representation of innocence...
Cited: Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. Monster Theory: Reading Culture. Minneapolis, MN: U of Minnesota, 1996. 1-25. Print.
Kirkman, Robert, and Tony Moore. The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye. Vol. 1. Orange, CA: Image Comics, 2005. Print.
I think the relationship between innocence and destruction is one that is difficultly separated. The development of the characters in the Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye mirrors the transformation of the citizens into zombies. In my analysis of the comic and theses V and VII my opinions are apparent. I clearly state the connections and open the ideas to a more in depth look. In this paper, I feel like my writing gives a clear since of the characters and their transformations throughout the comic. I improved the descriptions of particular scenes to give the reader a more defined picture of both the emotion and information in each instance. However, I do believe I need to continue to improve this because I tend to fail to merge the descriptive with the informational. As a writer, I believe I am fairly capable of highlighting what is demanded in my writing, but I need to work on making sure my writing in clearly understood to an outside reader. Also, I have more trouble putting my thoughts into words when the topic within the directions is self-made rather than defined by the professor, such as my choice of theme to write about in the paper above.
I think my strong suits as a writer are in descriptive writing and creative writing. I do believe that my flow is also decent in all types of writing I produce. I also enjoy adding quotations from the reading and merge them well into my writing. Another strong point includes the ability to expand in a paper, not only from the bottom, but also, more often, from all main points of the writing. Finally, I do believe my writing needs some work, but I have a lot to work with and only need to successfully connect the pieces.
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