ZONE ONE COLSON WHITEHEAD PDF
Author: Whitehead Colson Zone One · Read more · Zone One. Read more · Zone One · Read more · Zone One A Novel. Read more. Get news about Literary Fiction books, authors, and more. —The New York Times Book Review. “Colson Whitehead’s Zone One isn’t your typical zombie novel; it trades fright-night fodder for empathy and chilling realism yielding a haunting portrait of a lonely, desolate, and. KEYWORDS fantasy • genre • politics • Whitehead • Zombies • Zone One Colson Whitehead's novel Zone One posits a generic conundrum on its cover: it is.
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Editorial Reviews. resourceone.info Review. Guest Reviewer: Justin Cronin on Zone One by Colson Whitehead. The phrase “the thinking person's [something]” may. Living with PASD. Colson Whitehead, Zone One: A Novel. New York: Doubleday, pp. $ cloth; $ paper. C olson Whitehead's Zone One is. His other books include Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist and The Colossus of Zone One. Colson Whitehead Author Beresford Bennett Narrator ( ).
This article explores Colson Whitehead's Zone One and the zombie narrative genre and outlines some of the ways each illuminates structural, generic, and aesthetic qualities in the other. Contrary to popular critical apologies, Zone One is largely a conventional zombie narrative that embraces the formal implications of the genre's tropes: The zombie is a deconstructive and contagious anticharacter whose destabilizing role necessitates the construction of barricades that 1 protect the characters from infection and living death, 2 delineate a narrative space in which plot and character can develop, and 3 spatialize epistemological and aesthetic modes.
Whereas hard breaches involve a narrative-threatening failure of diegetic barricades, the soft breach allows the zombie's destabilizing function to operate in the narrative space without posing a diegetic threat.
Whitehead innovates in the genre by means of his own zombie contribution, the figure of the straggler, which facilitates more meditative thematic work than zombie narratives generally allow. This formal exploration of Zone One as a zombie narrative is meant to further zombie scholarship and to frame future critical work on the novel by contextualizing it in its genre. Sign In or Create an Account. Advanced Search. User Tools. Sign In. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article navigation.
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Research Article December 01 This Site. Genre 47 3: Issue Section:. You do not currently have access to this content. In the world of Zone One, it is the logic of brands and advertisements that is the focus of much governmental thought, in ironic counterpoint to the very real and very basic problems which exist in the world. In the cor- poratist world of post-apocalyptic reconstruction, names must reflect the upbeat mood and cheerful associations usually produced by commer- cial advertising.
Survival itself is clearly not enough, in that it lacks that chief requirement of capitalist socie- ties, the promise of perpetual growth.
Can You Hear the Eagle Roar? Even the reconstituted U. The support of these companies is hardly disinterested: Buffalo created an entire division dedicated to pursuing official sponsors whenever a representative turned up, in exchange for tax breaks once the reaper laid down his scythe and things were up and running again….
It was a no-brainer: Similarly symbolic is the first sweep we witness the protagonist and his group make, which takes place in the Human Resources department of a large law firm.
What is worse, the novel seems to ask: But while these nods remain few and far between, the novel offers sustained commentary on the broader socio-political implications of the form that reconstruction takes.
The survivors clean out Manhattan, fully expecting that what they are restoring is the status quo ante: Politicians and pro athletes. Behind the process of reconstruction stands the logic of the old and collapsed — but now inevitably resurgent — capitalist world, unassailable even in a total breakdown of society.
They come in two variants: Instead, they rest in ac- customed places, perpetually ready to resume their accustomed tasks. The two types of skels en- act what, given the nature of reconstruction, are evidently the only two possible solutions to the problems of the corporatized state: For much of the novel, this split holds true, but then something changes. As the wall that shuts off Zone One from every- thing north of Canal Street collapses, allowing a newly resurgent mass of skels to pour into the zone, a formerly docile straggler — a fortune teller, no less —8 — bites one of the members of Team Omega and everything falls apart at once: In the final moments of the book, Mark Spitz is left alone, the streets outside New York teeming once more, though now with the dead rather than the living, his choice a simple one: You have to learn how to swim sometime.
This reading of Zone One foregrounds a set of concerns which are profoundly political: Despite its clearly ironic tone throughout, this reproduction offers no vision of change. But the ending does offer such a vision. The ultimate outcome of the moment where Mark Spitz, the last and affirmatively average member of the old society, surrenders himself to the logic of resistance symbolized by skels, remains unresolved.
Nev- ertheless, the glimmer of an alternative to the existing structures ap- pears.
This moment of imaginable systemic change is deeply entwined with fantasy — with the particular politics enabled by genre. Genre functions in two distinct but related ways in Zone One. It allows what might otherwise have been a curious over- sight, such as the very late identification of a black protagonist as black, to seem permissible, even realistic.
Race, however, is just one of the issues which the final catastrophe of the collapse of Zone One sweeps away for good, and not the most important one in the novel. Fantasy permits Zone One to offer a resolution to the intractable systemic problems it explicitly identifies as contemporary.
Zone One sketches a particular kind of response to apocalypse: Yet the particular utopia of Zone One remains open, for while the novel clearly ends one society — our contemporary one — it does not hold up a genuine alternative in its place. Jameson notes that it is precisely in refusing us closure of this kind that genre texts produce a recognition of what we cannot imagine The use of genre by writers of literary fiction speaks to the need to find new ways of imagining modes of political expression beyond the constraints of social realism, which, while it can depict the existing, cannot imagine the future.
It is an odd liberation that genre brings with it, in that as much as the use of genre fiction permits a utopian vision beyond the boundaries of neorealist, literary fiction, it comes with its own set of constraints.
The inclusion of genre fictional writings necessarily involves an invoca- tion of a longer tradition in that genre.
Genre, in this sense, constrains Zone One: But beyond this, genre also embeds the novel in a history of literary and filmic interpretation. Even as it permits social critique to take new forms, the move towards genre ties the novel into older discourses. Studies of filmic zombies have long emphasized the ways in which zom- bies function symbolically as presentations of various social ills Flint, ; Bishop, ; McNally, , but there is also an increasing amount of scholarship that critically reads the zombie in literature for its metaphoric potential, and emphasises readings of the genre as politically engaged.
Because of macabre books, Stephen King — and probably cable. It is clearly a form of experience that drives his interest in the inclusion of genre fiction elements into his narratives: It is striking in this re- gard that Zone One seems to want to actively resist a political reading of its narrative. It presents political readings of its apocalyptic catastrophe as deranged, their readings to be resisted: Like all genres, literary fiction depends on certain markers to identify it, and as Jameson suggests: Whitehead, of course, is not just any hack writing a trite formula novel, but a MacArthur fellow and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, precisely the sort of writer to receive literary academic at- tention.
Using these markers to tentatively identify his novel as belong- ing also to the genre of literary fiction, Zone One stands as an example of generic mixing. The mixing of genres, of literary fiction and genre fiction, involves a reciprocal relationship in which the possibilities of literary fiction are expanded towards a new possibility to envision utopia, and genre fiction opens up to the broader range of interpretive manoeuvres available to literary fiction.
Jame- son finds magic to be the constitutive element of fantasy, and argues that the major trajectory of fantasy is the enactment of a loss of magi- cal powers and the symbolic coming of a prosaic, capitalist modern age If Jameson does not explicitly deny the possibility of political engagement through fantasy, he is carefully guarded about its extent. This, as Darko Suvin reminds us, is an eminently political gesture: This recognition gains force when genre fictions become part of liter- ary fiction, when genre fiction becomes critically legitimized by its con- flation with literary fiction.
There is, then, a dialectics at work: If it is the fantasy form that Whitehead adopts in Zone One, genre fiction becomes open to precisely an investigation of its literary form as a fantasy novel.
To an extent, this is surprising, as World War Z addresses the problem of class: But Brooks, unlike Whitehead, ultimately does not see a systematic origin for this class problem, wholeheartedly endorsing the recuperative power of capitalism. The novel produces its own vision for the future as well, a vision in which much good is done merely by overcoming the political fault lines of the past.
We are offered the outlines of the political history of the zombie outbreak: The overcoming of party lines is merely the first step, and the emphasis Brooks puts on the necessity for international cooperation holds up the mirror to the aggressive foreign policy of the Bush years. International, UN-controlled teams roam the frontiers of restored civi- lization to keep the remaining zombies at bay, a classic version of us vs.This is my favorite kind of book.
Sep 18, Nikki rated it did not like it Shelves: He was an angel of death ushering these things on their stalled journey from this sphere. Jameson, Fredric The Political Unconscious: But the Wordlings are amazing.