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Submitted Literature


By Joyce Carol Oates


In Zombie, Oates offers a bleak and disturbing, yet compelling, view of the sex-obsessed, psychopathic serial killer, Quentin P. Presented as a confessional journal, the novella offers a postmodern fusion of stream-of-consciousness prose and graphic elements that illustrate Quentin’s mental state in a subtle and playful way, whilst confounding the reader’s expectations of the first-person form. Oates explores the darkest recesses of the human mind, via a character who is at once familiar and alien to us – and always entirely believable.

Key Themes:

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Postmodern Madness
  • Psychosis
  • Rape
  • Violence

Significant Quotes / Pages

43: ‘At Tuesday’s group session Dr. B_ urged us to speak from the heart. There are eleven of us. Eyes are avoided. O.K. men let’s get the ball rolling, who wants to begin? There was a weird buzz at the back of my head. Kept looking back over my shoulder & shifting my ass in the chair but there was nobody I could see. Remember nobody’s judging anybody else. That’s the bottom line, guys.

60: ‘It was when I saw my face next day the revelation came.

Blinking & leaning close to the mirror because I didn’t have my glasses, & there was this FACE! this fantastic FACE! battered & bandaged (& blood leaking through already) & stitched (more than twenty stitches they gave me at Detroit General for three bad gashes) & the lips bruised & swollen & these were bloodshot-blackened EYES UNKNOWN TO ME.

& I understood then that I could habit a FACE NOT KNOWN. Not known ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. I could move in the world LIKE ANOTHER PERSON. I could arouse PITY, TRUST, SYMPATHY, WONDERMENT & AWE with such a face. I could EAT YOUR HEART & asshole you’d never know it.’

153:    ‘Do bones float?

& if so, but no flesh is attached, & the bones themselves scattered & lost to one another, what identity is there. I never think of it.’

Reference: Joyce Carol, Oates. 1995. Zombie. Harper Collins, 1995


Ms Abby Bentham
Date Review Submitted: Thursday 30th December 2010