“A Zombie is a Slave Forever” – Article Summary

In the article A Zombie is a Slave Forever, Amy Wilentz creates awareness of the concept of zombies as used in present times and its origin in the past decades. The author begins the article by describing zombies as perceived in the current time; a walking dead and a being without a soul and free will as CGI-ed by Hollywood and displayed in movies (Wilentz, 2012). While Wilentz acknowledges that this description is not far from the truth, she notes that the concept first arose in a traditional religious context during slavery under French rule in Haiti.

According to the author, enslaved people serving under the French government in Haiti lacked bodily autonomy because they were the whites’ property; thus, they lacked free will. Death, mainly through suicide, was seen as freedom and the only way to escape servitude. However, from a religious context, particularly in Voodoo belief, people feared becoming zombies due to failure to transition to “Ian guine” or freedom; therefore, most enslaved people remained zombies and were subject to French rule.  

In Politics and the English Language, George Orwell demonstrates how the English language is used “badly” in political writing by either failing to express the political meaning of events, inadvertently saying a different thing than what is intended, or being indifferent as to whether certain words mean something or not. Most notably, Orwell discusses and illustrates how euphemism is used in political writing to disguise political truths that may face public revulsion. According to the author, euphemism is “question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness” (Orwell, 2021, p. 356). Put differently, euphemism is a political form of writing that leaves several questions unanswered or fails to communicate precisely particular political events. Among examples of euphemism demonstrated in the article include using the term “pacification” in political writing in place of the defenseless destruction of villages and driving out of their inhabitants.



Orwell, G. (2021). Politics and the English language. London: Renard Press.

Wilentz, A. (2012, October 30). Opinion | A zombie is a slave forever. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/31/opinion/a-zombie-is-a-slave-forever.html


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