Chapter

Nuclear Death and Radical Hope in <i>Dawn of the Dead</i> and <i>On the Beach</i>

Nick Muntean

in Better Off Dead

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234462
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241255 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823234462.003.0007
Nuclear Death and Radical Hope in Dawn of the Dead and On the Beach

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This chapter suggests that the figure of the zombie evolves to replace the mere loss of autonomy so emblematic of the voodoo zombie with a far more disturbing existential anxiety—”that one could continue to live, but be nothing.” The chapter draws from historical accounts of the hibakusha—those exposed to the radiation from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and the Muselmänner—the devastated survivors of Nazi war camps. In doing so, it establishes the motif of trauma zombie to include not just the walking dead, but also those so ravaged by experience that, though survivors, they seem as if dead. The chapter examines both Romero's Dawn of the Dead and Stanley Kramer's On the Beach.

Keywords: Hibakusha; Muselmänner; trauma; zombie; nuclear; Apocalypse; Dawn of the Dead; On the Beach

Chapter.  7397 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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