You know what I like about the Walking Dead? Everything! #openinglinesthatwinpulitizerprize. Seriously, I know that as an english major at a university, this might make me sound like a fool, but I truly and completely believe that the book series is a modern day classic, even if it has been subsequently commercialized by a telivsion show that still delivers, despite it’s softened plots and other deviations from teh book series that is so deserving of respect. While many might watch the show for the violence or….well that’s probably why a lot of people watch the show, I read and watch because it is a truly remarkable modern take on “Lord of the Flies”. Regardless of whether or not this is what Robert Kirman intended (and really, it surely must be) the text is nevertheless an intellectual look at just what happens to so called humanity when it is stripped of the outside factors that dictate what such a thing looks like.
For those of you who are familiar with this title, you are aware that, especially as time goes on, it is not the zombies that take the most lives, but rather the survivors themselves. The descent of Rick (if indeed that is how you consider it) is one of Elizebethan influence. His best intentions are what ultimately shrink, and define his world, and thus guide his actions. His desire to safe is ultimately what directs him towards savagery, as more and more violence becomes necessary to sustain the life that he and his people know. Ironically, as he continously engages in these acts of violence, we slowly see him become the thing that he is trying to negate- an empty shell of a man, guided by instinct, and prone to acts of extreme violence. Characters that cannot adapt to this new order (Herschal, Dale) are frequently, and violently expunged from it. Even those that are adept at survival in the new world (Shane, The Governor) are only as likely to survive as they are able to match their opponents savagery. Even they fall before Rick, of course after having caused their own damage.
It is in this way that we see the texts take the shape of “Flies”, where primal insticnt is valued over reason and consiounce, The question is, is Rick a Ralph, or a Jack? More importantly, does it matter?
Thanks for reading, follow me on Twitter @DewmontPaul