Study Guide

Warm Bodies Passivity

By Isaac Marion

Passivity

I can't seem to make myself care about anything to the right or left of the present, and the present isn't exactly urgent. (1.1.9)

We living folks spend so much time trying to turn our brains off—drowning them in alcohol, drugs, or repetitive smart phone games. R's life is like this all the time, and it doesn't seem that appealing anymore.

I long for exclamation marks, but I'm drowning in ellipsis. (1.7.17)

Now that R lives a relatively safe, calm, and—most importantly—boring existence, he is longing for some excitement. Passivity isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Some of us stay funeral-parlor fresh for years ,and some of us wither to bones in a matter of months. [...] Maybe our bodies follow our minds' leads. Some resign themselves easily, others hold on hard. (1.7.28)

It seems here that R is saying the people who are like "whatever" and resign themselves to the laissez-faire way of death are the ones who decay first. On the flip side, the people who hang on tenaciously to the exciting parts of life don't crumble as fast as the others. So maybe that explains why he's still so good looking.

"We don't... think... new things." (1.7.33)

This probably sounds really appealing to a lot of people. Thinking is pretty hard, after all. However, as we learned from the previous quote, the people who don't think new things in life are the ones who crumble the fasted. Learning keeps us thriving.

"[Perry] was this brilliant, fiery kid, so weird and funny and full of dreams, and then... just quit all his plans. [...] Everything that made him who he was just started rotting." (1.7.56)

Julie's word choice of "rotting" is key here. It's almost like Perry became a zombie before he died. We have a feeling that if he did become a zombie, he would be one of the extra crumbly ones. Instant Boney.

"Since the big picture is gone and the people who drew it are all dead, what are we supposed to do now? No one knows, so we do nothing." (1.8.52)

It seems that the Living don't know how to do anything without guidance, so they're just going along with the flow. Does no one know how to think for themselves?

I'm growing tired of easy things. (1.10.153)

That's the thing about easy: it's relaxing at first, but then it becomes boring. Warm Bodies shows us that too much "easy" can actually be deadly. That's why our vacations are never permanent.

"No one in this place really looks at each other anyway." (2.3.87)

Nora's description of the stadium shows us that no one is actively trying to maintain a community. They're passively retreating into their own little worlds. Sounds a lot like R's airport community of zombies, just with more attached body parts.

"I'm wanting it. I'm making myself care." (2.5.90)

R has to make himself care. Do you think caring requires effort? Is passivity a default setting that we have to fight against?

"The world is over. It can't be cured, it can't be salvaged, it can't be saved." (2.7.179)

This is the attitude that's destroying the planet and, in Warm Bodies, destroying humanity itself. These are the people who think there's nothing we can do to stop global warming/social injustice/economic inequality/take your pick, so we just keep trundling toward the apocalypse, slowly and surely. Like a steamroller.