Study Guide

Warm Bodies Consciousness and Existence

By Isaac Marion

Consciousness and Existence

When I was alive [...] I remember effort. I remember targets and deadlines, goals and ambitions. I remember being purposeful, always everywhere all the time. (1.1.29)

Oh yeah? Well, when we were alive, we had to snowshoe to school. Blindfolded. In a sandstorm. Uphill three ways! In all seriousness folks, what R is saying here is that life is about movement, death is static, unchanging. R's movement is done on escalators and conveyor belts—machinery that does the movement for him. Death seems pretty easy compared to life, but is easy a good thing?

Sex, once a law as undisputed as gravity, has been disproved. [...] Sometimes it's a relief. [...] But our loss of this, the most basic of all human passions, might sum up our loss of everything else. (1.3.20-1.3.21)

R's race, for lack of a better word, manages to exist and sustain itself without sexual reproduction. But the lack of sex is a result of their general lack of connectedness, and according to Julie, that may have just been the cause of the zombie outbreak in the first place. So, new rule: if you're in a slasher movie, don't have sex. If you're in a zombie movie, have sex. It just might save the day.

The new hunger demands sacrifice. It demands human suffering as the price for our pleasures, meager and cheap as they are. (1.5.29)

All creatures have to eat other creatures to survive. All the zombie apocalypse has done is knocked humans off their top perch on the food chain. For any other creature in existence, not much has changed.

She is Living and I'm Dead, but I like to believe we're both human. (1.6.5)

R explores what it means to be human. He and the zombies still have a head, two arms, two legs (well, most of them do). They just like to eat people. So does this mean they're not human?

"Staying alive is pretty f***ing important... but there's got to be something beyond that, right?" (1.8.52)

Julie's making an argument that staying alive isn't the same as living. What the Living have done is lock themselves away from any danger and, as a result, any danger and experience. This is existing, not living.

I've never thought of these other creatures walking around me as people. Human, yes, but not people. (1.8.78)

So R doesn't think that people shambling around mindless, unable to put two words together coherently, are people? What else do you call a bunch of students stuck in an 8 a.m. class?

[M] gives me that look I'm finding on the faces of all the Dead. That mixture of confusion, fear, and faint anticipation. (1.8.140)

That mixture of confusion, fear, and faint anticipation that the zombies are starting to get on their faces? That's the look of the Living.

It frustrates and fascinates me that we'll never know for sure, that despite the best efforts of historians and scientists and poets, there are some things we'll just never know. (2.1.2)

This lack of knowing is just part of existence. We can never know everything, especially is someone's story is never told. And even if it is told, sometimes it gets lost. We just have to learn to deal with never knowing.

"There's no benchmark for how life's 'supposed' to happen, Perry." (2.1.57)

Perry, and R by association, don't exactly take Perry's dad's advice to heart. By trying to infect everyone with love and cure death, they are dictating how they think life is supposed to happen.

"What is a city and why do we keep building them? Take away the culture, the commerce, the business and pleasure; is there anything left?" (2.4.3)

Um, since the whole point of the city is the culture and the commerce, why would you take those away in the first place? Where would you find them?