World War Z

World War Z

by

Max Brooks

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Kwang Jingshu Character Analysis

A conscientious Chinese doctor who is involved in postwar reconstruction efforts despite his age and injuries. He is one of the first to have documented the effects of the virus after encountering the infection in Patient Zero years before, when the infection was still unheard of. Kwang’s interview shows that the virus was truly terrifying, even to a seasoned doctor like him. It also shows that the virus turned into an outbreak through government mismanagement. In his second interview towards the conclusion of the novel, Kwang says that he believes the war was necessary despite all the destruction it caused because it will allow children to live their lives free of fear. He also remains optimistic about humanity’s survival.

Kwang Jingshu Quotes in World War Z

The World War Z quotes below are all either spoken by Kwang Jingshu or refer to Kwang Jingshu. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Humanity vs. Monstrosity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Three Rivers edition of World War Z published in 2006.
Introduction Quotes

The official report was a collection of cold, hard data, an objective “after-action report” that would allow future generations to study the events of that apocalyptic decade without being influenced by “the human factor.” But isn't the human factor what connects us so deeply to our past? Will future generations care as much for chronologies and casualty statistics as they would for the personal accounts of individuals not so different from themselves? By excluding the human factor, aren't we risking the kind of personal detachment from a history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as “the living dead”?

Related Symbols: Zombies
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 1: Warnings Quotes

At first the villagers tried to hold me back. They warned me not to touch him, that he was “cursed.” I shrugged them off and reached for my mask and gloves. The boy’s skin was as cold and gray as the cement on which he lay. I could find neither his heartbeat nor his pulse. His eyes were wild, wide and sunken back in their sockets. They remained locked on me like a predatory beast. Throughout the examination he was inexplicably hostile, reaching for me with his bound hands and snapping at me through his gag. […]

I instinctively retreated several paces […]. I am embarrassed to admit this; I have been a doctor for most of my adult life. […] I’ve treated more than my share of combat injuries, faced my own death on more than one occasion, and now I was scared, truly scared, of this frail child.

Related Characters: Kwang Jingshu (speaker), Patient Zero
Related Symbols: Zombies
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8: Good-Byes Quotes

It’s comforting to see children again, I mean those who were born after the war, real children who know nothing but a world that includes the living dead. They know not to play near water, not to go out alone or after dark in the spring or summer. They don’t know to be afraid, and that is the greatest gift, the only gift we can leave to them.

[…] [I am] an old man who’s seen his country torn to shreds many times over. And yet, every time, we’ve managed to pull ourselves together, to rebuild and renew our nation. And so we will again—China, and the world.

Related Characters: Kwang Jingshu (speaker)
Page Number: 335
Explanation and Analysis:

We lost a hell of a lot more than just people when we abandoned them to the dead. That’s all I’m going to say.

Related Characters: Philip Adler (speaker), Kwang Jingshu
Page Number: 339
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kwang Jingshu Character Timeline in World War Z

The timeline below shows where the character Kwang Jingshu appears in World War Z. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Warnings
The Cost of War Theme Icon
...been slow in this part of the nation, but the local security council, chaired by Kwang Jing-shu, has managed to prevent any further outbreaks. (full context)
The Fragility of Privilege and Modern Life Theme Icon
Kwang, an elderly doctor, describes the first outbreak that he saw. It was in a remote... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
The first patient Kwang examined was a woman who had a high fever and was shivering, and he noticed... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
When Kwang tried to get a blood sample, Patient Zero struggled so violently that his arm broke... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
The Fragility of Privilege and Modern Life Theme Icon
Kwang called his old friend, Dr. Gu Wen Kuei, who worked at the Institute of Infectious... (full context)
Humanity vs. Monstrosity Theme Icon
Gu had subtly warned Kwang before the army men had arrived that this was something very serious, giving him enough... (full context)
Chapter 8: Good-Byes
Fear Theme Icon
The Cost of War Theme Icon
Chongqing, China. Kwang Jingshu says that he is happy to see children born after the end of the... (full context)