Study Guide

Warm Bodies Death

By Isaac Marion

Death

I am dead, but it's not so bad. I've learned to live with it. (1.1.1)

The first line of the book sets up the dilemma R is going through. The subtext is "death kinda sucks, but I'm dealing with it." Sounds like every other living young adult protagonist. Death, like life, is something you have to survive.

We like having the walls and roofs over our heads. Otherwise we'd just be wandering in an open field of dust somewhere. [...] I imagine that's what being full-dead is like. An emptiness vast and absolute. (1.1.8)

A zombie thinking about death? How existential. We thought death would finally be a break from all these unanswered questions. But maybe wondering never ceases.

It disquieted me at first but it's against etiquette to notice when one of us dies. I distracted myself with some groaning. (1.1.15)

It's a little strange that the Dead have no grieving process for the Dead who die. Perhaps they're just used to being on the other end of things—doing the killing instead of the dying.

There are so many options for dying in this new world. [...] All roads lead to us, the Dead, and our very unglamorous immortality. (1.5.12)

If the Living knew what being a zombie was like, do you think they'd be a little less afraid of dying? Frankly, it doesn't seem like much of a lifestyle change.

What you are, I once was. What I am, you will become. (1.6.10)

R gets this little bit of wisdom from a Latin saying he's read somewhere. It pretty much means that we all live, and we all die. Death is the great equalizer, the one thing we all have in common.

"Why would you want your last thought to be a replay of your dirty, meaningless death?"
"You think death isn't meaningful?" (1.7.88-1.7.89)

We wonder why R considers death "dirty" and "meaningless." Could it be because he's caused so much of it in his life... er, death? Or maybe after being dead so long, and not finding any meaning in it, he's just sick of it. He's like a zombie Meursault.

"There are a thousand kinds of life and death across the whole metaphysical spectrum, not to mention the metaphorical. You don't want to stay dead for the rest of your life, do you?" (1.7.91)

Sure there are thousands of ways to die, but we can only think of one kind of death. The dead kind that no one comes back from. What are the thousands kinds of death that Perry speaks of? And could he be talking about himself here?

I don't want to die. I don't want to disappear. I want to stay. (1.7.117)

Coming from a dead guy, this kind of sounds absurd. In the grand scheme of things, is it "fair" that R gets a second shot at life?

"[A plant] is a meaningless decoration. It sits there consuming time and resources, and then one day it decides to die, no matter how much you watered it. It's absurd to attach an emotion to something so brief and pointless." (1.10.94)

Major Dad's little rant about plants is dripping with bitterness. From an objective standpoint, you could say the same thing about people, instead of plants, and he's probably thinking of his dead wife, even if only subconsciously, as he spews this anti-plant rhetoric.

I am a teenage boy aflame with health, strong and virile and pounding with energy. But I get older. Every second ages me. [...] Each death around me adds a decade. Each atrocity, each tragedy, each small moment of sadness. Soon I will be ancient. (2.1.1)

There isn't much difference between living and dying when you look at it this way. Once the body stops growing, it starts dying, decaying little by little each day on the slow march to the grave. Have a nice day!

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