Trauma in the Media: My Obsession with The Walking Dead!
Posted on April 27, 2018
I’m currently binge watching The Walking Dead. Yes, yours truly likes zombie movies and is only slightly embarrassed to admit it to all of you!
For those of us who understand trauma, it becomes easy to bring this understanding into all aspects of our life and worldview. Over the years, I continue to look for an excellent story void of any trauma. I’m still searching! Great stories follow an arc and trauma sets forth the challenges and growth opportunity for the characters to overcome and experience.
The Walking Dead intrigues me because trauma is a constant threat and enters nearly every episode in the form of people getting eaten alive and then becoming zombies, or Walkers as they are referred to in the show. The Walking Dead is not a show about zombies; it is a show about a small group of people surviving constant trauma and what that trauma does to them and other surviving people or groups. When you binge the show, like I’m currently doing on snowy days, you become almost oblivious to the fact that zombies are unusual things! The show transforms into an investigation of human psychology and relationships.
While fiction rarely captures the true devastation of trauma, hardships create great characters. In overcoming trauma, these characters transform from struggling normal people into heroes and heroines. From Homer to Shakespeare to Disney, the great storytellers understood the transformational power to trauma. The better one presented the psychological damage, the more complex and relatable the characters. Freud argued that our connection with these characters facilitated catharsis as we relieve our unconscious anxiety and tension through participating in the story.
Binge watching, while maybe not the healthiest way to spend the day, allows us to lose ourselves in these characters, their traumas, and their transformation. Sadly, I’m almost done with The Walking Dead so I’m looking for suggestions. What are you watching and, if you put the trauma lens on the show/movie, why do you think you connect to it on a deeper level?
Put your response in the comments so others can add it to their lists!