World War Z

World War Z


Max Brooks

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Themes and Colors
Humanity vs. Monstrosity Theme Icon
Fear Theme Icon
The Fragility of Privilege and Modern Life Theme Icon
The Cost of War Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in World War Z, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Humanity vs. Monstrosity

World War Z is about a zombie crisis during which millions of people all over the world are killed and entire nations are ravaged by hordes of attacking zombies. After the zombies are contained, the narrator, who works for the U.N., travels the world to collect the stories of some of the major players in this worldwide battle. The many narratives in this novel are united by the question of what it means…

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The war between humans and zombies in the novel is a drawn-out one with several losses incurred by people against an enemy—the zombie horde—that only seems to grow in size. As a result, people not only struggle with death and destruction but also suffer from hopelessness and low morale. Many of the narrator’s interviewees point out that human beings feel fear, which is one of the chief differences between them and the hungry automatons…

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The Fragility of Privilege and Modern Life

Through numerous interviews, the narrator collects oral histories narrated by principal players in the war against the zombies. Some of these interviews describe the pre-war lives of people in privileged nations as being soft and shallow, which is why they were not equipped to deal with difficulties of any sort. While the citizens and armed forces of these nations believed their wealth and fancy technology gave them strength and superiority, the zombie war proved…

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The Cost of War

The novel focuses on the events that led up to the fight against the zombies in various parts of the world, and it describes the various strategies that helped humans win the war. While the war was undoubtedly necessary for preserving the human species, it resulted in so much large-scale destruction and so many losses that humankind’s success against the zombies is a muted one. Through his portrayal of the myriad defeats and losses that…

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