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World War Z

World War Z

by Max Brooks

Prejudice Theme

Racism has been important in zombie stories since the very beginning, and we don't mean people discriminating against zombies simply because they are zombies (a zombieist?). We can't really hold that form of prejudice against anyone. We mean that early zombie films like The Night of the Living Dead used racism as an important theme. Like, the idea of not working with someone because of his skin color just seems extra stupid when death is literally at the doorstep. World War Z follows this tradition but also builds upon it. Racism is present in the early chapters, and then the theme spreads out as the novel goes, brining in other forms of discrimination such as classism, nationalism, and, uh, genderism?

Questions About Prejudice

  1. Saladin loses his racist outlook fairly early in the novel. Why do you think this change occurred where it did in the novel?
  2. The zombies lack the ability to be prejudiced against anyone for any reason. Is this fact important when considering prejudice in the novel? If yes, then why? If not, why not?
  3. Do any characters with prejudice come out on top? If so, who and why is this important when discussing the theme? If not, why not and again why is it important?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

In World War Z, prejudice is present on all the economic levels, from the lower classes to the upper classes and across the global. It knows no social or cultural bounds.

Thankfully, if a bit unrealistically, it seems every character who suffers from prejudice manages to overcome it by the end of their story.

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