Summary Of Whitehead's Zone One

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In his book, Zone One, Colson Whitehead describes the world after a tragic plague. During this plague many people are left either dead or trying to survive. The infected are turned to skels or stragglers. Skels are vicious and dangerous because they attack human beings, while stragglers are less likely to attack because they are motionless and repetitive. Human beings that survive are traumatized and suffer through Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder (PASD). The novel is delivered through the life events of Mark Spitz, who sees himself as a mediocre person. Spitz is not a typical hero who fends for anyone, but neither is he a heartless individual. In the span of three days the author deliberately uses his character’s memories to relive through…show more content…
Through Spitz’s past life events, Whitehead infers that humans had to uphold repetitive life expectations. As Spitz remembers his past life, he acknowledges that his uncle’s way of living was one he wanted to mimic. “All he was truly sure of was that he wanted to live in a city gadget, something well-shocked and white-walled, equipped with rotating beauties. His uncle’s apartment resembled the future, a brand of manhood waiting on the other side of the river” (8). This shows that there are certain lifestyles people want to copy because they promise materialistic objects that are perceived as luxuries. Spitz was baffled by his Uncle Lloyd’s apartment and was determined to own one similar because it was filled with materials he did not own growing up. Whitehead demonstrates that living in a materialistic society makes people remain in a cycle of repetition. The constant cycle that leads people into wanting a life that has already been done by many. If people want to live with a consumerist mentality, they have to follow the steps in order to triumph in what goal they have set for themselves. These steps could be going to college or learning a vocational skill. Regardless of what the goal is, people will always feel stuck. The author suggests that there is a phase in life that requires a person to take on a job that will…show more content…
Typically a family follows a set routine, in hopes of being perceived as normal in the eyes of society. When Mark Spitz remembers his family he recalls them posing in the same location, while maintaining the same composition. Spitz mentions that he would not smile for every photo, but all photoshoots would lead to their family reunions (3). Through their annual family portraits and reunions, Mark Spitz’s family portrays a repetitive sequence. This acknowledges that Mark Spitz has grown accustomed to attending the same family events, that he no longer elicits joy from taking part in them. Mark Spitz feels partly forced to participate in family events because it will make his parents happy. The author tries to evaluate that going with the status quo is important to living a normal life in society. Like stragglers frozen in a state of peace and comfort, Spitz feels that by not objecting to traditional family roles he will maintain a passive lifestyle. A way of life that will not cause him any troubles or constant threat to his way of being. When a person does not object to anything they are told to do, then they will not go against the normality’s of

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