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13 Thoughts Author Carrie Mesrobian Had About The Walking Dead

If you follow author Carrie Mesrobian on Twitter, you know that she is a big fan of The Walking Dead. She is part of the reason that this week became Zombie Week, our shared love of zombies and The Walking Dead. So to round up Zombie Week, Carrie Mesrobian is sharing some thoughts she has about The Walking Dead.

  1. This show is based on a comic book series that isn’t exactly kid-friendly. But it also features prominently a young boy named Carl, who grows up in both worlds. I think Carl learning how to be an adult in the post-apocalypse world is a perfect vehicle next to his father, Rick, who is a sheriff in the old world. Carl must by necessity make new rules for his reality, while his father tries to grip to the old ones that were so deep in his identity.

 

  1. I don’t read the comics. Not yet. I want to have something to savor after the show ends. This is something I love about fandoms. Even if there isn’t source material for a movie or TV series you love, there’s fanfiction. You can always immerse yourself back into that world again in new ways. (Too bad Daryl Dixon’s not in the comics…)

 

  1. The Walking Dead is not a show about zombies, or the disease zombies symbolize. I think The Walking Dead is about survival, which is something all people relate to, even if our current survival may not be a hand-to-mouth one. What makes us human and what makes us inhuman?

 

  1. The Walking Dead has some sexism issues, which vacillate depending on the female character as well as the season’s focus and script writers. The character of Andrea was frustrating to many. The plot used Andrea as a device for its own purposes instead of using her character’s own motivations to drive plot. Character first, then plot, is what I would advise. It’s hard to pull off, of course.

 

  1. A lot of people decry how this show showcases “man pain” vis a vis the deaths of women or male characters of color. I think this is easily arguable. But I remain fascinated with man pain, as a viewer/reader. I don’t see a lot of visible man pain or male tears in my own reality. I think we all want to gawk at what that looks like. Instead we see a lot of male anger and the destruction that wreaks on our world. I’m tired of male anger. Give me the man pain over the male anger any day. The Walking Dead is probably not a great test-case for this dynamic, given its content.

Gratuitous Darl Dixon GIF for Carrie. GIF from PandaWhale.

  1. The Walking Dead has some racism issues. One is that the show likes to kill off characters of color constantly. It’s not that I don’t buy that characters of color wouldn’t die at the same pace as white characters. I get that. What people don’t seem to understand is that in the context of televised entertainment, enduring characters of color, ones we get to love and hate and connect with over the long-term, still remain few and far between. This context is important for television producers to understand; I’m not talking about verisimilitude. Another thing that we don’t often see on TV are long-term love relationships between characters of color, so when Bob died, I just felt like the show missed yet another chance to defy the norm. We’re getting a hefty plate of Sasha’s grief and that’s rich as well, but again: context. Context matters in any medium – I’d like to see TV writers and producers move past the “but we’re just depicting reality” explanation and remember the legacy of their medium every time they create a story arc or new episode.

 

  1. You don’t want to be a cute little kid on this show. You’re going to be a tool of sorrow and gore in short order.

 

  1. Dystopian and post-apocalyptic stories have great “unlikeable” characters. Is that part of the draw of these tales? We can finally hate people with generous gusto because the stakes are so raised? I don’t give one shit about likeability in general. We see a character like Merle Dixon, an odious person, so far from redemption, someone that makes us think, “ugh.” But this show isn’t presenting Merle Dixon as a babysitting candidate for our children. Merle Dixon is a symbol for cruelty and generational bigotry and horror and macho destruction. Michael Rooker is a very skilled actor who makes this character come alive. You might not want Merle to be your friend or neighbor, but he sure made me sit up straight whenever he came on screen. Unlikeable characters often translate to “electrifying personae” in my view.

 

  1. I don’t watch this show for gore. I don’t care about grossness and blood. It became a joke after season 2 when Daryl dug open the walker looking to see if ate Sophia and learned “this gross fucker had himself a woodchuck for lunch.” I don’t know what to say to people who can’t stand gore. It’s there. I turn away. I watch enough “behind-the-scenes” content that I know exactly how the zombie heads are made to rip away from the fake skulls anyway.

 

  1. The violence in The Walking Dead interests me more than the gore, which might sound counterintuitive. But as I mentioned in point #3, the idea of what makes us human is the constant ethic being pressed up against in this story. That we are animals isn’t something I have trouble with; I can see our needs as animals. What is harder to express is what makes someone inhuman. Being inhuman is not the same as being an animal, I think. There is some other rubric being put in play when we dehumanize ourselves and others. I don’t know what that is but it’s a question that’s constantly being examined in this show and one that I enjoy seeing depicted. So violence is a part of that recipe.

 

  1. The best part of this show is that each character is very well-rounded. That is what brings me back. Every character has a depth and a backstory and a set of motivators that marks him or her. While I want to make out with Daryl Dixon very consistently, he’s not my current favorite character. Last season, Michonne was my favorite. Right now, I’m most intrigued with Glenn. It’s hard to pick a favorite, honestly. They’re all so juicy and good.

 

  1. If this show gives me any kind of anxiety, it’s mainly that we need to stockpile seeds and keep making compost. A global food supply chain is not our friend when the world goes to hell, yall.

 

  1. The Walking Dead helped me to understand the point of fan-fiction. Now I write it and enjoy this very much. When the season ends on March 29th, I will certainly go back to writing more of it as well as reading it. In my view, the best fanfiction has sex in it, because this show is not generous about romance (except with the Governor, eww), so feel free to hit me up with your favorite fic links in the off-season.

Meet Our Guest Blogger:

Carrie Mesrobian has worked as a teacher in both public and private schools; my writing has appeared in the StarTribune, Brain, Child magazine, Calyx, and other web and print publications. She teaches teenagers about writing at The Loft Literary Centerin Minneapolis.

My first two books, Sex & Violence & Perfectly Good White Boy were published by Carolrhoda LAB.

My third book, Cut Both Ways, (HarperCollins), will be released September 2015.

 

About Cut Both Ways:

“Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.”

The Walking Dead Video Game, a guest review by Nita Tyndall

Today for Zombie Week Nita Tyndall is reviewing The Walking Dead video game. Thanks Nita!

 

When The Walking Dead show first premiered, it was a show my dad and I got into, curled up on the couch on Sunday evenings because my mom thought it was too gory and didn’t want to watch people get eaten by zombies. Which was fine. I wanted to watch people get eaten by zombies.

But then I wanted more.

(Not that I wanted to get eaten by zombies. Or eat people. Gross.) But I wanted more than sitting on the couch, watching.

Enter The Walking Dead series by Telltale Games.

Telltale is a company that specializes in story-based, episodic games. The Walking Dead, while set in the same universe as the comics, features new characters and storylines (with a few cameos from comic book characters). You play as Lee Everett, a convict “offered a chance of redemption in a world overtaken by walkers.” The game is story-based and episodic, with five episodes in a season. You play as Lee for all of Season One, following as he tries to protect a young girl named Clementine who’s alone at the start of the zombie apocalypse. You follow his POV, and the choices you make as Lee tailor the game—in some instances, going as far as to decide if a certain character lives or dies. (There is a season two, but you know, massive spoilers so I’ll let you find that one on your own).

More to the point, it’s diverse and an amazing story. The Walking Dead isn’t like other zombie games, there are no zombies to mow down, no gory death scenes. Instead it accomplishes something I think the show tries to do and occasionally fails at—it makes you care about the people in the apocalypse.

 

I grew attached to Lee. I wanted to make the right choices for Lee and for Clementine and the good of the group, but if this game taught me anything it’s that making tough decisions is all well and good when zombies aren’t attacking and there’s no time pressure. And yeah, I rolled my eyes at some characters and I hated others, but more than that, I wanted them to survive. I wanted Lee and Clementine to survive.

More on The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series at IGN http://www.ign.com/games/the-walking-dead-the-game/ps3-100887

Because the zombie apocalypse isn’t really about the zombies and the guts and the gore when you get down to it. It’s about people. About survival, and humanity, and what you do when the world ends, and The Walking Dead game is an amazing illustration of that. If you’re looking for an actiony, first-person-shooter, then look elsewhere. If, however, you’re looking for a heavy dose of feelings and great storytelling and difficult choices, then look no further.

The Walking Dead: Seasons One and Two are available for XBox, PlayStation, Mac, and PC.

Meet Our Guest Blogger

Rep’d by @esc_key. Contributor for @TheGayY.

Nita Tyndall is a tiny Southern queer with a penchant for sweet tea, cardigans, and words. She’s been writing since she was five, and her first piece was Scooby-Doo fanfiction in bright pink, all caps font—though now she prefers to write about sad teenagers. She’s currently in college attempting to get an English degree, and briefly was a college columnist for the lesbian webmagazine, Autostraddle. You can find her on tumblr at nitatyndall where she occasionally writes about YA and queer things, on Twitter at @NitaTyndall, or at her website nitatyndall.com. 

The Walking Dead: The Comics VS. The TV Show (a guest post by Geri Diorio)

Today for Zombie Week librarian Geri Diorio is joining us once again to talk about The Walking Dead graphic novel series and how it compares to the TV show.

WARNING! SPOILERS for the comic up to issue 138 and the show as of March 15, 2015

The Walking Dead may be one of the most popular television shows on the air, but it began as a black and white comic book. In fact, it remains both of these things. In 2003, Image Comics began publishing monthly issues of The Walking Dead, written by Robert Kirkman and drawn by Tony Moore and then later drawn by Charlie Adlard. The comic, which won the 2010 Eisner Award for the Best Continuing Series, focuses on a former sheriff named Rick Grimes, his family and compatriots, as they fight to survive in the zombie apocalypse.

The comic is about as far from the brightly-colored, splashy-paneled mental image one may have of comic books. There are no superheroes in tights, flying in to save the day. There are instead stark black and white images with some muted gray shading. This fits the overall vibe of the comic (and the tv show to an extent). While reading the comic, you continually think, “Things can’t get worse for these people.” And every time you think that, things get worse. Since this is a story set in the zombie apocalypse, there is not a lot to be cheery about. The black and white art does not mitigate the violence. One character’s death by a barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat was still horribly gory, despite being rendered in stark black and white. Of course the impact of that image may also have a lot to do with the emotional attachment readers had to the character.

The comic begins with Rick Grimes waking up in a hospital, having missed the beginning of the end of the world. He was injured on the job, and was in a coma. He awakens with no knowledge of what has happened in the world, making him a perfect analog for the reader. In the time that he has been unconscious, zombies have overrun Atlanta (and possibly the world). The reader discovers what has happened through Rick’s eyes and is as shocked as he is. In subsequent issues (Image has published more than 135 now), we learn more about what has happened in the world, and we see how individuals and groups are coping (or not coping as the case may be). Rick and his group move from a prison to a farm to a safe zone (a suburban development that has been secured by building enormous walls around it). They encounter people who need help, people who can offer help, and many people who offer violence and threats of death. There are two out-and-out wars that have happened over the course of the comic so far, and several major characters have been killed. While the zombies are a persistent threat, it has become clear that living humans are far more dangerous to Rick’s group than the dead.

The television series, (written by a variety of people, with Kirkman, Adlard, Moore, and former Executive Producer Frank Darabont having the lion’s share of writer’s credits), has used the comic as it’s template, but has varied and expanded from it to better suit the medium and, perhaps, to draw in more viewers.

Television is not print, and while comics are perhaps the most visually important print medium, they are still very static compared to the moving image. The tv show is literally bloodier. Special Effects Makeup Designer Greg Nicotero’s work often feature spurts of blood hitting the camera lens. It is interesting to note that the zombie blood has gone from bright red when the tv series began, to varying shades of brown now that the zombies are a year old and have decayed that much more. The only red blood seen on screen these days comes from living humans who are attacked. While the comic’s graphic black and white pictures are certainly arresting, it is the image of a wriggling, writhing, slimy well-zombie getting pulled in half on Hershel’s farm that has been burned into my retinas forever. From the very beginning, the show has gone past the blueprint of the comic to make the horror more gripping for viewers. In Days Gone By, the first episode of the show, Rick’s horse is pulled out from under him by a swarm of walkers and he manages to hide in a tank to escape the horde. This scene perfectly evoked a panel from the comic; but with the television camera’s ability to pull back, far above the herd of walkers, and show viewers the wriggling, struggling mass looking like deadly maggots converging on a piece of meat, the tv series showed viewers it was going to try and take The Walking Dead to a whole other level of visual horror. At times, nothing is as powerful as good special effects.

Of course there are many similarities between the properties. Rick Grimes is almost always center stage in both. While both the comic and the tv show have featured other characters, some of whom have become hugely popular in their own right (Hello, Jesus! Hello, Daryl!) it always comes back to Rick and his immediate family. The tv show has kept a lot of the comic’s overarching plot points: Hershel’s farm, the prison, meeting Michonne, Woodbury and the Governor, thinking Eugene can cure things, heading towards D.C., meeting cannibals, and going to Alexandria. But the show has branched out from its source material as well: taking the group to the CDC (a nice touch in my opinion, to explain the zombie apocalypse to viewers using a “scientific” basis), introducing characters like Daryl and Merle, turning Carol into a stone-cold pragmatic killer, and letting baby Judith live, while killing Andrea.

But TV show viewers who choose to go read the comic may find the most startling contrast is Rick’s lack of a right hand. In the comics, the Governor cuts it off, and Mr. Grimes has been making the best of it, living one-handed throughout the zombie apocalypse. This is something writer Robert Kirkman now regrets:

“When I’m writing a comic book, I don’t think about what I’m doing. I go, ‘Oh, it’d be pretty cool if they cut his hand off right now. That’d be pretty shocking, right?’. Then I do it, and five issues later, I write ‘Rick opens a can of beans’ and then I look at the script and think ‘He can’t do that now’. I didn’t even think that through.”1

This is just a broad comparison between the tv show and comic. If you would like to dive deeper into comparing and contrasting, may I suggest Screen Rush’s excellent take on this very topic? They look at each episode of the program and place screen shots next to comic panels so you can see how closely (or not) the show is hewing to its source material. They even compare tv scripts to the speech balloons in the comics. It always surprises me when dialog is lifted straight from the comic.

If you are a horror fan, there is certainly much to enjoy about The Walking Dead in both of its forms. And if you enjoy one version more than another, there is certainly much joy to be found in arguing about which is better!
1 DigitalSpy.com article :  http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/s135/the-walking-dead/news/a331768/walking-dead-exec-we-shouldnt-cut-off-ricks-hand.html#~p78GwhCgjbieqG

Meet Our Guest Blogger:

Geri Diorio is the Teen Services Librarian at the Ridgefield Library in Ridgefield, Connecticut. She loves zombies, science fiction, fantasy, the Ninth Doctor, and Game of Thrones. You can contact her on Twitter – @geridiorio

More Zombie Talk at TLT

Zombie Prom
Stephanie Wilkes talks about her annual Zombie Prom.  All the cool undead kids are doing it.

TPiB: It’s a Dead Man’s Party
Cool programming ideas you can do in your library whether you are a zombie or just running from them.

TPiB: Bring Out Your Dead, zombie party take 2

Zombies VS. Humans Lock-In, with a Doctor Who twist

Top 10 Survival Tips I Learned from Reading YA
Look, my chances are not good in a post-apocalyptic world.  I like to lie in bed, read a book and drink pop with either my air conditioning or heater on.  I don’t like to cook.  I do not take my indoor plumbing for granted.   Should the apocalypse happen, however, I have learned these 10 tips for survival which I am now going to share with you.  See, even zombie books are educational.

What’s the Deal with Zombies Anyway?

Zombie Book Reviews at TLT:

Reading the Zombie Apolcaypse

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
The Infects by Sean Beaudoin
Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry
Contaminated by Em Garner
Sick by Tom Leveen
Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi
Monsters by Ilsa J. Bick
Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart

The Walking Dead: Of Course There is Storytime in the Midst of the Zombie Apocalypse

NOTE : THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR LAST NIGHT’S SEASON PREMIERE OF THE WALKING DEAD.  READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Before there were books and their were libraries, there have always been stories.  The ancients sat around a fire and told the stories of the past to help people remember who they were, where they had come from, where they were going.  Creation stories.  Flood stories. Simple stories.  Complex stories.  Stories exist because we need them.  So it was not surprising to me to see that our merry gang of not yet undead misfits were having a storytime in the prison library.  Stories matter.

In some ways, these post apocalyptic children are like our own post-9/11 children – the younger ones will
never know or remember a pre-apocalyptic world just as my children will never know a pre-9/11 world.  As we waited in line with our shoes off and bags ready to be searched the last time we flew, I told my children about how their father used to walk with me to the gate and hold my hand as we sat in the chairs and waited for my flight to board.  I wanted them to know that there was a time when we all weren’t suspected terrorists and there weren’t color alerts and long, degrading lines where we treated even the smallest among us as potential threats.  We tell these stories to remind not only our children, but ourselves, of what the world once was.  The children living in the prison need these stories to help them maintain their humanity while surrounded by the undead.  They need them so as they rebuild a new world, they can remember to incorporate things like justice and democracy and compassion.

As I watched the walkers press in against the fence in last night’s episode I thought to myself, this is what it is like for a lot of our inner city youth.  They live under the constant threat of violence.  Children in areas of Chicago walk to school through neighborhoods with signs declaring this way a safe passage, as if gang members and drug dealers will read the sign and think, “Oh, my bad, let me take this somewhere else.  This is a safe space.”  Some of our children, when they walk out the door to go to school, are like the children walking out of the prison yard hoping that today will be another lucky day when they don’t get eaten by the hordes of undead waiting outside with one singular purpose – to eat their flesh.  Although they are very much living, there are those that would eat the souls of our children without so much as a pause because it helps them meet their selfish goals.  Drugs, human trafficking, gang warfare . . . they are the zombies outside the gate.

And we see the need for story in the character of Beth, who is afraid to truly love.  Sure kisses and affection are nice, no one wants to be lonely in the post-apocalyptic world, but you want to keep everyone at arms distance and guard your heart for in the next moment, they may be zombie food.  Teens living in today’s world may not be worried about zombies eating their lovers for lunch, but they have plenty of reason to believe they may be gone the next day.  50% of marriages end in divorce, and many of our teens are growing up in homes that look more like Rick and Herschel’s barely surviving families than the Cleaver’s.  It is interesting to note that the post-apocalyptic world is populated by single fathers more than single mothers.  Beth and her friends need storytime because they need to read about some epic loves and have hope again.  They need to believe.  They need to hope.  They need a reason to wake up each day and think that somehow, today will be different.

And after storytime, Carol then got into some important extended lessons – knife skills.  I love that there was a practical aspect of TWD storytime as well.  Storytime is not actually all about the magic of story – although that is an important part – but it has a practical side to it as well because literacy is an important – you could argue THE most important – life skill.  We read to our children at night and take them to library storytime’s not just to engage in the magic of story, but to teach our children to think, to fell, to reason, to empathize, and to help them gain important pre-literacy skills.

In the most subtle of ways last night’s premiere reminded us all of our how the zombie apocalypse is really just a metaphor for our modern times.  And like the parables of Jesus, these exaggerated stories are told to remind us to choose each day how we will live.  You may not face a horde of zombies today, but you will face a horde of your fellow humans so you must choose this day how you will live.

Oh and don’t forget to take your children to storytime.  They probably won’t teach your children knife skills, but they will open up a world of information to your children.

More Zombies on TLT:

What’s the Deal with Zombies Anyway?
The post in which I try to explain to my then 8-year-old why people would even be interested in reading and watching these scary, decaying creatures that want to eat your brains.  Spoiler alert: it’s only kind of about the zombies.

Reading the Zombie Apolcaypse
A list of amazing zombie reads.  This list is now two years old so you could help us update it by adding your new favorites in the comments.  

New Zombie Reviews:
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers 
The Infects by Sean Beaudoin
Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry
Contaminated by Em Garner
Sick by Tom Leveen 
Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi
Monsters by Ilsa J. Bick
Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart
Inhuman by Kat Falls 
 
Fiction Lessons from The Walking Dead by Carrie Mesrobian

Zombie Prom
Stephanie Wilkes talks about her annual Zombie Prom.  All the cool undead kids are doing it.

TPiB: It’s a Dead Man’s Party
Cool programming ideas you can do in your library whether you are a zombie or just running from them.

TPiB: Bring Out Your Dead, zombie party take 2

Zombies VS. Humans Lock-In, with a Doctor Who twist

Top 10 Survival Tips I Learned from Reading YA
Look, my chances are not good in a post-apocalyptic world.  I like to lie in bed, read a book and drink pop with either my air conditioning or heater on.  I don’t like to cook.  I do not take my indoor plumbing for granted.   Should the apocalypse happen, however, I have learned these 10 tips for survival which I am now going to share with you.  See, even zombie books are educational.

Fiction Lessons from The Walking Dead, a guest post by Carrie Mesrobian

26 of the best Walking Dead memes at KilltheHydra.com

The Walking Dead is just a gory zombie story, right? Just a show about killing bad guys with sick special effects? It can’t teach us anything about writing, can it?

Dude. If you read or write fiction, you are out of your mind if you’re not watching shows like The Walking Dead. The potential for learning about what makes good story-telling is unbelievable. (Some spoilers for seasons that have already happened occur in this post. You have been warned.)
Let’s take a look at the two big ones: character and plot.
Character Motivation: Driver Of Plot
One of the most simple-yet-critical features about this show is that every character wants something. And not just wanting to stay alive. In fact, we’ve seen from a couple of characters in seasons 1-3 that staying alive is not a given. But, just like in books, when everyone wants something, the story keeps moving.
Rick Grimes wants to find his family. Andrea wants to protect the sister she ignored prior to the Zombie Apocalypse (ZA). Glenn wants to be valued in this life, as he wasn’t in the old – Daryl, too – as well as seek thrills not allowed to him in the former, orderly world. Shane wants Rick’s wife – his life, perhaps, too. Lori wants to hide her secret affair. Merle wants to take what the group has on the mountain. Daryl wants to find his brother, but he also knows that his survival might mean letting Merle go. Maggie wants to keep her family together while also being independent and acknowledged as an adult. Herschel wants to see if there’s a cure for the infection. Carol wants to find her lost daughter.

Carol in particular is a fascinating character. After she loses both husband and child, what’s next for her? No longer a wife, no longer a mother. What do we do with that kind of woman, besides plug her back into a love interest or care-taker slot? What can she have now, that she couldn’t have before? There is a gap in her motivation, then, and we know, as readers, that this vacuum must be filled if we are to continue to care about what happens to her.
Similarly, Sheriff Rick Grimes is an excellent character to helm a show about lawlessness and anarchy. What does it mean to have honor, to serve and protect, in a dangerous world where the dead are unyieldingly, monolithically amoral? 
Like Rick, fellow police officer Shane, also struggles with this. He wants to care for and protect people, but he arrives at his definition of what this means much earlier than Rick does. So they are at odds, twins with common purpose, but also with common competition: who will win Lori; who will be the leader; whose definition will carry the day as they struggle to survive.
Plot: States of The Monster
The Walking Dead’s fast-paced plot is often lauded. This is largely due to the nature of the Monster in the (ZA). The zombie as a monster is balanced with strengths (numbers, no need for sleep, single-minded desire) and weaknesses (lack of consciousness or community, very limited intelligence). But the rapacious nature of the zombies keeps the living on the run, unlike vampires, who must close things down during the day, or werewolves who only get to shine once a month. To paraphrase Murphy McManus in The Boondock Saints: The zombies are like 7-11; they might not always be doing business, but they’re always open.
Christopher Booker describes in The Seven Basic Plots the three states of the monster: monster as predator (actively pursuing his victims/goals); monster in holdfast (withdrawn to his lair, brooding over stolen treasure or kidnapped princess); and monster as avenger (unpredictable, lashing out without strategy). There is no holdfast for the zombies in The Walking Dead. They never rest; they can live without nourishment; they only stop when their brains are destroyed. The zombies are death itself, death come to vivid and disgustingly rotted life, always surrounding the characters in the story. Death is like that, anyway, in our real lives; but this story has presented death not as a concept but as an embodied ambulatory theme: death as a monster that we can see and touch, death, as a monster that never leaves us. 

There is so much more to analyze from The Walking Dead’s narrative elements. Setting, for example, is a big part of the show being so vivid, as is the use of time in flashbacks and dreams. Point-of-view shifts constantly, tweaking our sympathies for each character, which also adds dramatic tension. The show is a goldmine, really. Start watching if you haven’t. And if you’re up for more writing lessons and analytical dorkery, join me on Twitter, October 13, 8:00 pm CST when Season 4 premieres on AMC.
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About Carrie Mesrobian
Carrie Mesrobian is a native Minnesotan. A former high school Spanish instructor, Carrie currently teaches at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. Her writing has appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Brain, Child magazine, and Calyx. Her debut young adult novel, Sex & Violence(Carolrhoda LAB) received stars from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. Her second novel, Perfectly Good White Boy, will be released in fall of 2014. She currently lives with her husband (Adrian), daughter (Matilda) and dog (Pablo), all of whom are pretty excellent.  Find out more than you probably want to know here: www.carriemesrobian.com