In her article “Ideal Objects: The Dehumanization and Consumption of Racial Minorities in Joyce Carol Oates’s Zombie,” April Pitts argues that “serial killer Q_P_’s assimilation of the dominant culture’s bigoted attitudes towards racial minority groups leads him to believe that his social inclusion depends on their subjugation ….”
“The idea of creating a zombie, then, in Zombie, can be viewed as an extreme form of consumption since Q_P_ is literally “sucking the life force” from his enemies, consuming his conquests in both body and soul. His consumption of his victims seems like a scene from actual, early twentieth century American lynching parties where participants would terrorize and murder their victims, and later collect the victims’ body parts and other crime scene items as souvenirs. Similarly, Q_P_ consumes his zombies mentally by producing and feeding off of their terror, and physically by murdering and dismembering them. Once dead, he completes the consumption process by claiming his victims’ personal objects as his own.”
Download the full article from Bearing Witness: Joyce Carol Oates Studies.
Image: “GEMINI” by Jone
I'm a Reference Librarian at the University of San Francisco's Gleeson Library, and I run the Joyce Carol Oates web site, Celestial Timepiece.
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