Zone One Themes & Motifs

Colson Whitehead
This Study Guide consists of approximately 41 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Zone One.
This section contains 1,771 words
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Institutional Structures

Throughout the novel, the author explores themes of order, authority, and institutional security, specifically how these overarching systems relate to a natural human disposition drawn to authoritarian leadership. These concepts are explored in earnest through the characterization of the Buffalo headquarters, as well as reflections upon the systems that died after the plague.

The author presents Mark Spitz as a character who craves order, and considers institutional authority as a natural human desire. Mark Spitz considers the construction of government and other institutional systems as the primary way to establish normal human life again. After the plague, when Mark Spitz remembers the absence of power and order, he wonders if any former institutions will make a comeback: “But maybe the authorities were fixing things out there . . . the government was getting control. Authority laying hands” (20). The author then wisely poses a paradigm between institutional order and...

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This section contains 1,771 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Zone One Study Guide
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