EN 429 Studies in Performance Rotating Header Image

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies tells the story of the dead living and trying to feed their hunger through those who are also just trying to stay alive. The story circles through the thoughts of a conscious zombie who has a vivid mind but a blurred speech. The only thing he can remember of his past is the first letter of his name is R. He travels and hunts with a group of other zombies in which he meets the first human he wants to save. When eating her boyfriends brain, he starts to develop the same feelings the boyfriend previously had. With those feelings, he saves Julie and decides to get to know her with fighting the urge to eat her. As we observe the relationship between R and Julie, it becomes complex and unheard of. He protects her and looks out for her with no reasoning behind it.Julie and R’s relationship show the stigma behind an illnesses/diseases as someone who is infected and someone who is not.

One scene that shows an allegory for contagion and disease is the scene between Julie and R in the restaurant. Julie says, “You never done this before, have you? Taken a human home alive?” (Marion 42). R then says, “I shake my head apologetically, but I wince at her use of the word “human”. I’ve never liked that differentiation. She is Living and I’m Dead, but I’d like to believe we’re both human. Call me an idealist.”(Marion 42). In this scene, Julie sees herself as entitled because she is not one of the dead. She no longer calls him human, even though he is a human who no longer possesses life. Sometimes people are not infected with a disease or illness do not have a similar outlook to those who do. They may not say they are not “human” but they do treat them as if they are beneath them because of their illness. Even though he shows human characteristics such as compassion and kindness, she cannot get past the disease/illness that has taken over his body. This reminds me of how those with HIV/AIDS were treated in the essay Death Before Dying. In the article, it shows how people who are infected with  HIV/AIDS are treated as a burden and not as a human but as a corpse. This can be compared to how Julie sees R. She only sees his corpse and not his human qualities. She only sees the disease like those who are not infected in Africa saw the HIV/AIDS in those they once called their friends or family members.

As the story progresses, Julie sees beyond the disease and has close run ins with it when coming in contact with R. She no longer lets the thought of R being a zombie get in her way of interacting with R. She lets the stigma go and she starts to see him as a human. Stigma can break relationships when there is not an understanding of what is happening. Uncertainties are what surround stigma and those who are encountering the disease. If no one knows things about a disease they tend to take caution.  Overall, once the fear of the disease is not a main concern then people are open to the person behind the disease.

Work Cited:

Marion, Isaac. Warm Bodies: A Novel. New York: Atria, 2011. Print.

Niehaus, Isak. “Death before Dying: Understanding AIDS Stigma in the South African Lowveld.” Journal of Southern African Studies .2007.Web

One Comment

  1. Nice job tying the novel back to the earlier Niehaus reading. Your focus on a specific scene in which Julie dehumanizes R really works well and makes your analysis convincing. Your final project idea looks original and workable as well. I look forward to seeing what you find in the research workshop on Monday!

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