Date of Award
Honors Thesis (Open Access)
Colby College. American Studies Program
The racial and economic hierarchies in Romero’s films are complex. Each film shows a strong connection between wealthy and white, which rules over the poor and black or Hispanic. In each of his films, the Americans he shows us are so ingrained in their consumer or racist identities that they cannot look past them even in a time when the characters should only be doing what is important to survive. In Night, Harry dies because of his blind selfishness and bigotry against the African American man who attempts to look out for the group. Stephen and Roger both die because they get too caught up in their consumption and forget about the threat of zombies in Dawn. The biggest perpetrators of greed, though, are in Land, as all of the rich whites who marginalize both the zombies and the underclass of humans in their society die because of their lack of a social contract and desire to acquire goods despite the apocalypse being so close to them. In all three of the films, Romero highlights a positive black character who stands in direct contrast with all the oppressive and blind whites who end up ruining society for the minorities in the films. As each of the films progresses, the ingrained inequalities in American society further marginalizes the minority characters we see. Romero definitely sides with the minority characters in each of the films. He depicts the power structure as brutal and unfeeling and the African American characters as positive and concerned with the safety of everyone. In each of the films, the minority character succeeds over the brutal hierarchy, save for Ben, who only succeeds symbolically as he stands as a martyr in Night, highlighting the brutality of the police force and whites of the ‘60s.
George Romero, Zombie, movie, race, generation, consumerism
Recommended CitationPowell, Henry, "One Generation Consuming the Next: The Racial Critique of Consumerism in George Romero’s Zombie Films" (2009). Honors Theses. Paper 462.
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