World war Z is a real surprise. The zombie wars came very close to the point of eradicating humanity. With a high level of brilliance, Max Brooks takes us through the urgency of experiencing the acid-etched first-hand information about the experiences of the zombie wars survivors from the apocalyptic years. He opted to travel across the United States and the world at large, from the most remote and inhospitable areas of the world to the decimated cities that once filled up with more than thirty million souls. All along this journey Brooks managed to capture the stories and testimonies of men and women, and also the children who had a direct encounter with the living or at least the dead. This is an epistolary book that avails to its audience the dreadful experience, immense depth of fear and horror, and an ineradicable spirit of resistance that used to grapple humanity during these plagued years (Brooks 162). This paper will analyse and critique the emotional impact of the novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks.
The epistolary style that Brooks uses all along he book creates a sense of realism to the story. This is because it effectively manages to mimic the working of real life events (Malamud 17). It is undeniable that this book is one of the most entertaining, informative while at the same time creating fear and suspense. In this fictional encounter with the worldwide outbreak of the zombies, all the parts of the story have been modelled in an interview-style format. Arguably, it was a witty approach that Brooks took so as to make the story real. The story manages to evoke allot of emotions because it looks very real when brooks is interviewing the people who supposedly survived this dreadful experience. In additional, he made sure that all these interviewees of the survivors consisted of first person experiences. He interviewed survivors ranging from soldiers who were fighting a losing battle due to their outdated tactics and lack of information to the Chinese doctor who claims to have discovered the disease. These people for instance the soldiers explains how people in this period started to become their own enemies in regard to protecting their own people against the increasing and organised attacks by the zombies.
Everywhere in this novel starts with the same concept: we saw the danger that was coming our way, but we failed to take the necessary actions to stop it. It is obvious that Brooks created a thoroughly unconvincing piece of literature from the zombie gimmick but the wise choice to fictionalize the survivor characters in his interview gives this novel its weight. This novel used numerous styles that are aimed at evoking the feelings of the reader. He has successfully used the aspect of shock value to relate to the contrivance problem in the story. He intentionally inserted the issue of cannibalism in the story so as to make us believe how serious the events that facing the people in this war torn period were grave (Malamud 67). For instance, through his interviewees, he made us believe that people were blindly going northward in Canada without any reasonable plans or support only to be faced later by tragedies. Creating a direct relationship between the reader of this novel and the characters in his book through emotional attachment was a good approach to making the book interesting, he says “He came back ten minutes later, without the radio but with this big bucket of steaming stew. It was so good! (Brooks 161). From this direct quote and the situations that were prevailing at that moment, it is palpable that his principle goal was to create fear and shock.
In regard to the level of emotion impact of World War Z, it appears that Brook is less brutal towards people than towards humanity. He has capitalised on the individual stories of cruelty and horrors during the war by enlarging the causalities situations to the macro levels. Armies are overwhelmed; cities overrun; human starved by siege if they become lucky not to be eaten alive by the zombies. Nonetheless, he appears to point fingers to the political and cultural institutions of this era. In other words, Brooks is of the opinion that, if Zombies arose again, the government should be blamed for its inactiveness, and the over-reliance on the growth of technology. Also by simply not believing that Zombies really exists would ultimately determine our fate. In most cases, the book captures many haunting immediacy the human dimension in this apocalyptic period (Brooks 72). Arguably, he encounters with the often raw and vivid nature of the circumstances that were facing humanity in this epochal event requires great levels of courage on the part of the audience. At the beginning of the novel, Brooks claims that,
On the other hand, if one critically analyses this book, one would easily detect that the events were somehow far from being a reality. The believability of the whole story is not up to par despite the use of interviewees who give their real life encounters with these monsters. Closely connected to the issue of contrivance, the popular battle of the Yonkers would be a great example to expound on this believability issue. The battle of Yonkers is very contrived as to be unbelievable. The book claims that, the battle consisted of two hundred million zombies, therefore; it is even practically impossible to visualize such a large number of zombie, let alone combating them. In addition, it is hard to believe that, with a Satellite view that is showing two hundred million zombies, the US military would blindly go ahead and put a few soldiers with the wrong tactics and poor equipment. On the Zombies side, they were of course never going to surrender or negotiate with the US army, unlike human, they would fight till death.
Brook’s idea of foregoing the traditional and use of linear and narrative style in delivering his story allowed him to be flexible enough to be able to introduce one shot characters. In the unusual forms of literature, one-shot characters are considered useless or even unnecessary. Therefore, the general style used by the author in all the chapters makes more sense since it’s just a collection of the many personalities that are aimed at describing the Zombie war. It perfectly tells of the terror that filled the people during World war Z. It was wise for Brooks not to talk about love and relationship in the book as many authors would opt so as to further evoke the feelings of the reader. He did not consider “forcing“ the interviewees to talk about their love and relationship during this period of war. This would have drastically shifted our emotions since the tales of love would cause a shift on the pace of the terror. Brooks manages to give us a look at both the fantastic and terrifying scenarios in the stories through a serious eye. He successfully showed the major flaws and shortcoming of the human race and how it would have led to its extinction.
In conclusion, it becomes evident that it takes a long time to turn a narrative from tragedy to triumph. Nonetheless, when it comes, the success and inspiring stories of the individuals involved are more powerful than the whole. Capitalising largely on our emotions, Brooks keeps his coverage wide enough to better show us how humanity once got in the brink of extinction, but after fighting back, we managed to survive. All in all, the book World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War has used many different stylistic devices that show humankind ignorance at the face of total annihilation. It however, clearly shows that, at times of extreme adversity, the human being can be brought down to his knees but also show great levels of resilience. In general, it is a great read that has successfully managed to evoke a lot of emotions ranging from the dreadful feeling when faced with danger and the great feeling of triumph.
Brooks, Max. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. , 2013. Print
Malamud, Bernard. The natural. Random House, 2002.