The Hopeful & The Hopeless: My Interpretation of The Walking Dead

I'm not going to lie: I really like The Walking Dead. 

Last year, during a week off from school due to ice and snow storms, my mom and I made homemade soy lattes and enjoyed The Walking Dead, season 1. For years, my friends and well, Society has told me that this show is worth the watch. I had never been into zombies before, whether it be in the form of a book or on the big screen. (There is one exception to this statement: I have a love of the movie Warm Bodies, but it is basically a glorified Romeo and Juliet). I go on and on about how amazing 30 Rock is, and how it's a show that makes me laugh in such a way that I would designate it as a "howl." Yes, this is true and will forever be true (Tina Fey, you little genius), but for those days when I need a break from slapstick comedy, I can watch TWD. The show does an amazing job explaining each character's story and what they were like before everything went down. Somehow, by the time the credits roll - and this happens after almost every episode - I am left open-mouthed and dumbstruck.

At first, it took me awhile to get used to the raspy growls of the zombies and the constant violence, but the suspenseful plot twists and great acting were what kept me watching every week. Now I have almost 6 seasons under my belt.

My Interpretation:

In the show, there are two types of people: the "walkers," as the zombies are most often called, and the humans. If a walker bites a human and the human dies, the human eventually turns into a zombie. But, spoiler alert: the main character, Rick, is told that the entire population is already infected with a disease of some sort that will turn them into zombies after they die. So, getting bit by a walker just speeds up the process of turning into a zombie.

After watching the first couple of episodes, I began to notice something beyond the constant battle between zombies and humans: two subtypes of humans. Those two subtypes that the humans fall under are the hopeful and the hopeless. It's not something that is stamped on their foreheads, but as a viewer, you are able to decipher who spends most of their time living in which category. Whether it's mentioned in the dialogue or not, each character in the story either acts out of their hopelessness or their hopefulness in the time of crisis (usually when a zombie pops out from behind a tree, ready to eat them). 

Some of the men and women that appeared at first to be the strongest and most dependable leaders in their groups, fell prey to hopelessness of their current situation. Well, who would blame them? Their entire world had crumbled, some family members were lost or dead by the hand of zombies, and everything seemed to be crashing down all at once. However, their poor attitudes didn't just inhibit their happiness; oftentimes, it hindered their ability to fend for themselves and others. On the other hand, some men and women that didn't appear to be the strongest in their groups turned out to be the most helpful ones out of the bunch. They understood that living among zombies was their new normal, and they made the decision to make the most of it and act accordingly. 

When I watched those first couple of seasons where I saw the topic of "hope" more prominently, I also realized that the categories of the hopeful and the hopeless appear in our lives now. Everyday, there are people who have some pretty crappy circumstances or things that they have faced in the past. However, it's how they handle those situations that makes all the difference. If you're constantly re-thinking things that happened in the past, bringing up old emotions that should have already been dealt with, or are going through a tough time, positivity is key. Hope is key. In TWD, it was those who stayed positive that stayed alive, and lived a more fulfilling life. When people (nowadays as well as TWD crew) are constantly focusing on the sad/troubling/awful parts of their life or the things that they are dealing with currently, it influences their own emotional and/or physical health. It can also hurt those around them.

Despite all the crap I've been through, the things that I'm still dealing with, and the problems that I have yet to face, I know that God is the source of my hope. I have been known to live in the "hopeless" category for extremely long periods of time, but I now realize how powerful hope can be within dire times of my life. I utterly grateful for the hope that God provides. Without it, I don't know where I would be right now. I also have to keep reminding myself that God knows what He's doing, and knows what my life will look like in 10, 20, 30 years. I don't.

Okay, okay. I understand that not everyone had this "revelation" while watching TWD, but I did. It caused me to look back on my life, and see how being hopeful has changed my life for the better.

The girl that wishes Daryl and Rick will stay alive forever and ever,

Reagan Fleming