Zombie Archetypes Enliven Creative Non-Fiction Writers and Poets

Zombie Archetypes Enliven Creative Non-Fiction Writers and Poets

Ian McKellen. Gandalf the White. Jackson, Peter, Dir. Walsh, Screen Play. Two Towers.2002.

“He was strong in life. His spirit will find its way.”

THESIS: Zombie Archetypes of the masculine and feminine reverse roles and create death as a paradigm for healing from the pain of life on earth.

Archetypes are personified symbols of various human qualities. I believe that Zombie is the shadow archetype which is rebellious and out of harmony (Vogler xxiii) with laws of nature. My initial use of the Zombie archetype as a teaching device started in 2011 when I created a presentation segment of the ENGL002 Literature and Composition class related to the concepts in popular culture based on the Zombie archetype. Upon the creation of a Zombie archetype, the writer creates a new reflection of the present reality. By telescoping into the creation of a Zombie myth, the writer experiences healing. Juxtaposition of current Zombie archetypical characters and creative non-fiction projects and poetry writing workshops inspire 21st century writers. “The concept of archetypes is an indispensable tool for understanding the purpose or function of characters in a story” (Vogler 24).

Zombie archetypes of the masculine and feminine enliven creative non-fiction writers and poets. As writer and teacher of writing, I involve my students in the creative process with the use of Zombie themes. By engaging a pop-culture meme, I propose that Zombie act as meme model, changing the paradigm of writing classes to include students as doers, thinkers, publishers, editors and concept mappers. As a vital part of 21st century pedagogy, the Zombie offers me the chance to reach my students by telescoping into a sub-genre of horror with characters who oppose humans who wish to create a most fulfilling life without bringing harm to self or others. The writer’s mind grasps the archetype as a mythical figure separate from reality. The Zombie archetype is a meme that holds the power, for a time during the plot, to restructure and re-envision death. The Zombie is rebellious and out of harmony.

The modern conception of the zombie owes itself almost entirely to George A. Romero’s 1968 film Night of the Living Dead. Review of the research suggests that key films include 1978 Dawn of the Dead, 2004 Shaun of the Dead. More current films, I Am Legend and World War Z emerge from the evolution of the Zombie archetype based in Zombie sub-genre of Horror European concepts based in the Vampire Literary tradition. However, I am looking for roots in short story writers and poets as well. For the purpose of my study, I also delve into literary research for clues. Furthermore, Haitian Folklore (Zonbi) (NPR) and the works of Zora Neale Hurston underlie important elements of the archetype that still carry vital information for scholars who wish to create a pedagogical and fundamentally purposeful basis for zombie characters in story and poetry as scholarship in literary classes. Both Poe and Hurston modify the Zombie archetype as a reflection of their cultures. Poe (Hatter) may be credited with a Zombie creation in his short story “The Fall of the House of Usher”. Zora Neale Hurston’s short story “ Black Death” “reveals the curious pressures Hurston felt as both a writer and folklorist, making it in many ways her most interesting story of the 1925-27 period: it summarizes her uncertainty over how to use Eatonville material…the story appears to be a fictional account of an Eatonville hoodoo man named Old Dan Morgan who can ‘kill any person indicated…without ever leaving his house or seeing his victim’ ” (Hemenway 74).   Arguably, Zora Neale Hurston may be the creator of one of the first creative non-fiction works about “a real-life zombie. In Tell My Horse, her 1938 recounting of her fieldwork in Haiti, she talked about what she’d seen (Faircloth).

“Zombies appear in western fiction as far back as the 17th century. They appeared in the satirical novel by French author Pierre-Corneille in 1697. Zombies later emerge in fiction in 1797 in “Haiti” by author Moreau de Saint-Mery” (Hatter). Online Educational Resources for Zombie critical articles include Internet Archives, Project Gutenberg, and Google Books. In the area of pedagogy, scholars argue that Zombie “…stories feature compelling, complex characters under extreme situations that many of us can identify with. Students could analyze the various features of the comic/graphic novel genre, or engage in character analysis. Consider using these zombie-based materials as scaffolding for more complex texts” (Miller). The Walking Dead, zombie apocalypse series acts as a catalyst for learning.

My references also focus on a new book called Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn, intriguing new book from Abingdon Press. It’s a book about zombies, a Christian book about the undead. In it, author Clay Morgan explores death and the supernatural, explaining how faith and the living dead intersect. Clay Morgan: “I wrote a book about zombies for much the same reason C.S. Lewis wrote a book like The Screwtape Letters about demons—to find light in the darkness. Tales of the supernatural are ready-made for Christianity. Zombies are ridiculously popular and culturally relevant, so zombies are a great way to get someone’s attention. From there we can have a marvelous discussion about spiritual life and spiritual death.” AMC’s hit show, The Walking Dead, is a model that reflects students’ stories of pain in personal lives.

Pedagogy based on Place Memory of supernatural suggests that reflection and active learning and publication as the goal. Involve students quickly. Introductions allow identity early in the course protocol; writing and thinking activities promote self efficacy; invite students to create assignments or other requirements or act as concept mappers of the class environment to build confidence. Publishing as a goal creates student writers who are going to value to class and the requirements. Write a novelette exploring Zombies and faith. Alternatively, poetry workshops during writing sessions offer students active learning as well. Journaling during session with group presentations. I focus on pedagogy for the poet which is based on place memory of supernatural. Reflection on process and designing life story projects about living or deceased person’s home or vacation spot acts as a metacognitive preliminary assignment to teach poetry in Zombie meme. Write a short summary of favorite character’s language patterns. Telescope into the dialogue and setting, costume and lighting, then review all aspects of specific scenes as a way to see ideas in visual form. Mystery is a style, a tone, a set of principles that guides a writer and allows a theme to develop with writer’s voice.

How does the Zombie archetype relate to the current cultural milieu? How can students research, write group essays or develop masculine or feminine archetypes with creative freedom? How can a dialectical journal enhance the class? The answer is to write with the writers whom you are teaching. I gain insight into writing by writing and teach this theory.  Imaginative literature utilizes a reflection of reality. Writers and poets act as visionaries who compress emotions into words. Mythical in theme, Zombie archetypes offer visions of experiences beyond the human realm. Zombie Archetypes of the masculine and feminine reverse roles and create death as a paradigm for healing from the pain of life on earth. Zombie memes tells us that imaginative literature and film reveal cultural patterns: We are a grieving culture. We are a spiritual culture. We are not alone. We can write based on past cultural milieu. We like to use meme to represent ourselves.

Through student-directed pedagogical model, my class fuses into a learning community for reflection, discovery, and peer editing for student motivation and success. I actively engage students.  I focus on pedagogy for the poet which is based on place memory of supernatural. Reflection on process and designing life story projects about living or deceased person’s home or vacation spot acts as a metacognitive preliminary assignment to teach poetry based on Zombie meme. DiEdwardo Zombie Meme Framework forms the final outcome to teaching with the meme. Meme of the Zombie tells us that imaginative literature and film as well as poetry reveal cultural patterns. Zombie archetypes include the following: grieving culture, spiritual culture, saddened culture, gathering of dead ancestors or others, history of myths, other meme such as photography, comics, dance, music, and art.

The value of any experience derives from the reflection. My own mythic adventure into the world of Zombie archetype includes the creation of my own male and female Zombie archetype based on a weird but interesting experience. I incorporate the story in this creative non-fiction essay to emphasize the importance of creating writing by a spark of the internal mechanism of imagination. Creative non-fiction techniques with emphasis on the purpose of the author, vision of the audience as receptor of the story, and message help student writer to succeed by allowing them to be a dramatist. I read my stories to my students and have never lost my quest to write. My journals are filled with stories based on my encounters with Zombie archetypes as ghosts or amazing sightings that to the ordinary person would seem insignificant, but to me, a writer, a poet, these moments border on the extraordinary or metaphysical. Modern encounters with death may bridge the transformation in the literature classroom from just observer to doer. Authors and publishers may result.

Zombie archetypes may act as historically spiritual foundations. I experienced a Zombie story in my own vacation setting the summer of 2014. For me, as creative non-fiction author,  Zombie archetype is myth in the form of spiritual awakening. The soul may be the connection between the story, the student, the poem, and the reflection of reality. Harmony may result by archetypal study of yin feminine, and yang, masculine. We are now not past and not future. This is the message of the writer.

Imaginative literature utilizes reflection of reality. Writers and poets act as visionaries who compress emotions into words. Zombie archetypes exist beyond the human realm. Creative non-fiction techniques with emphasis on the purpose of the author, vision of the audience as receptor of the story, and message help student writer to succeed by allowing them to be a dramatist. As example, I have never lost my quest to write. My own story about an experience with Zombie archetypes of the masculine and feminine happened during summer of 2014. In August 2014, I visited the White Mountains of New Hampshire for a holiday with my family. The truth of this event is remarkable and stands out as a Zombie experience that seemed to be real to me. Imaginative literature and of course, the difference between truth and fiction, may be blurred in the case of Zombie lore. I share what, to me, is a real event; I was visited by a spirit. The woman was old maiden from a time long ago. The curtain in the room wrapped around a char is such grace as the wind howled through the open window. It was after midnight. I had my own imaginative experience that reached out to me and created my inspiration for this essay.

Illustration I

Writing Projects

1.Write a Creative Non-Fiction Story to Submit to Glimmer Train

Find a way to engage in storytelling, framing life histories, or remembrances about hometown in a travel journal. Engage in remembering place.

2.         Film Analysis for Publication in Online Blogs or Other Forms on Digital Publications such as Wikis

Write a short summary of original or archetypal character’s language patterns.

3.         Write Poetry for Publication Through Poetry Festival

Paper is an essay in journal format. The paper will help students learn to react to poetry through reader response and to read poetry and explain the ideas. Pedagogy centers on writing about Zombie present and past concepts with historical, cultural and imaginative thinking. Journal and Online Educational Resources enhance writing. Bring a notebook or laptop to class. Write paper in class with Professor DiEdwardo. Hand writing is the first step but you may bring a computer. Double space or skip a line if you write on paper. You can send the data to a computer word program and email to me or set up a blog or just keep the writing in a hand written journal.

Content: 800 -1500 MLA style analytical essay on poetry study in class. Read react write about the poems we read in class. Directions: Introduction of 75 words is week 1. Paragraphing for first developmental paragraph is week 2. Next week 3 is paragraph 2. Next week 4 is paragraph 3. Last week is paragraph 4. Use the class experiences through discussions videos and reading reacting and writing to compose a paper based on your experiences.

4.         Ebooks are free to publish on Kindle. I demonstrate how to write and publish an ebook as a final project.

Framework by Dr. DiEdwardo

Illustration II

  1. Study Zombie Meme
  2. Summarize Themes
  3. Creative Non-Fiction Journals
  4. Poetry Journals
  5. Deconstruct Literary Works
  6. Fine Art References (Goya)
  7. Mindfulness Journaling in Natural Settings
  8. Pre-Writing Blogs
  9. Imagination Training
  10. Drafting
  11. Editing
  12. Polishing and Presenting

Illustration III.

Photo of “Zombie” by Zora Neale Hurston on the cover of Life Magazine. 13 December 1937. Online Accessed 21 September 2014.



Britt, Michael. The Zombie Fascination. Boots and Eddy. EBook. 6,16,2013.

DiEdwardo, Maryann. The Poetry of Landscape after War and Death. Kindle eBook. 2013.


Fairchild. “Zora Neale Hurston Zombie Hunter.” Accessed 21 September 2014. http://io9.com/5823671/zora-neale-hurston-zombie-hunter

Hurston, Zora Neale. The Complete Stories. Introduction by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sieglinde Lemke. New York: Harper Collins. Online. E-Book.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Tell My Horse. Voodoo and Life in Haiti and America. New York: Harper, 1938.

Hatter, Artful. Artful Hatter Website. Books Literature and Pulp. “Is Edgar Allen Poe the

Grandfather of the Modern Zombie Story?” May 5, 2014. Accessed Sept. 14, 2014.  http://artfulhatter.com/

Hemenway, Robert E. Zora Neale Hurston, A Literary Biography. Chicago: University f Illinois, 1980.

Morgan. Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn. Abington Press.

Miller, Andrew. May 17, 2013. “Zombie based learning.” Edutopia.   http://www.edutopia.org/blog/zombie-based-learning-andrew-miller

Poe. “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Literature.com


Vogler, Christopher. The Writer’s Journey. Mythic Structure for Writers 3rd Edition. California: Michael Wise, 2007

Digital Humanities Resources

Enoch Pratt Free Library. “African American Department Collection.” “Zora Neale Hurston.” Retrieved 15 September 2014. http://www.prattlibrary.org/locations/afam/?id=8590

Haiti and the Truth about Zombies.Umich. Retrieved 15 September 2014. //http://www.umich.edu/~uncanny/zombies.html//

LibGuides. IRSC Librarians. “Zora Neale Hurston.” Retrieved 15 September 2014. //http://irsc.libguides.com/content.php?pid=212378&sid=1835684//

Library System. Howard University. “Zora Neale Hurston.” Retrieved 15 September 2014. http://www.howard.edu/library/reference/guides/hurston/

Resources Zombie Online Education

Bishop. American Zombie Gothic, The Rise and Fall and Rise of the walking Dead in Popular Culture.Ebook. //http://books.google.com/books?id=Tr7-1NRbv1wC&pg=PA47&lpg=PA47&dq=folklore+%2B+zombie+%2B+zonbi&source=bl&ots=8uDdvHAk8_&sig=yDjCgRoASs5TDRZrxjzcKnhBq2c&hl=en&sa=X&ei=v9sWVMS1IbSQsQTNlICoBw&ved=0CFgQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=folklore%20%2B%20zombie%20%2B%20zonbi&f=false//

Best Zombie Books. http://www.bestzombiebooks.com/a_history_of_zombie_literature.htm

Great Discoveries in Archaeology. Educational Website. “History of Zombies.” Retrieved 15 September 2014. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp264-ss13/2013/04/25/history-of-zombies/

Lain, Brian. Haiti and Zombies. http://prezi.com/fh9b80x3iwgw/haiti-and-zombies/

Morris. Spirit of the Dead Alive and Well in Haiti. CNN. Audio. Retrieved 15 September 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/10/26/vbs.haiti.nzambi/

Sociological Imagination. http://sociologicalimagination.org/archives/13970

The Walking Dead. http://intersectionsandcircles.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/ricks-three-question-the-walking-dead-spirituality-and-science/

Zombiepedia. Wikia. http://zombie.wikia.com/wiki/Voodoo_zombie

Zora Neale Hurston. Youtube. In this radio interview, Hurston relates the story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmKPjh5RX6c#t=59

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on Maryann Pasda DiEdwardo and commented:

    The archetype of zombie


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