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Themes

Zombies hunt humans like animals. First, they follow their quarry for miles, then they corner him, eat him alive, and leave him to rot in the forest. But they're still only the second most primitive creature in World War Z. Human beings still get first place in primitivity here. In our desire to preserve our own life, or way of life, we're shown stabbing each other in the back, stealing, killing, and being all around jerks to each other. While self-preservation is by no means a bad thing—we do it ourselves daily—it does make us reconsider our place in the hierarchy of nature.

Questions About Primitivity

  1. Where do you see the primitive nature of the characters coming out the most? Do you see any similarities between these instances? If so what are they? If not then why not? Either way, what does this list tell you about the theme of primitivity in the novel?
  2. What characters bring out their primitivity to the worst ends? Who are they? Do you notice anything surprising about them?
  3. Do we see any instances of primitivity as a positive force? What characters use it to their advantage and how?

Chew on This

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

The Interviewer's descriptions of some characters tries to either lessen or heighten the primitivity of his interviewees, manipulating the reader into feeling certain ways about them.

Primitivity becomes a necessary evil for the characters to survive the zombie invasion, making the term almost irrelevant in World War Z.

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