A Planetary Warning?

In Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination

Quesada, Sarah. “A Planetary Warning?: A Multilayered Caribbean Zombie in Junot Díaz’s ‘Monstro.’”

In Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination, edited by José David Saldívar, Jennifer Harford-Vargas, Monica Hanna, Duke University Press, 2016, pp. 291-318

Link to JSTOR Archive

The  ubiquitous  nature  of  the  zombie  figure  is  symptomatic  of  socioenvironmental decomposure. Born from slavery, these creatures unconsciously emerge  as  a  “comment  on  the  disruption  of  an  economy”  that  signals  unprecedented  global  changes. If they are traditionally found at the intersection of doom and hope, of pandemonium and adaptation, zombie monsters surface textually as signifiers recasting the past to illuminate present circumstances that portend future chaos. Underneath their supposed misunderstood  appearance,  these  “othered”  beings  function  as  symbols  for  social  commentary.  Junot  Díaz’s  short  story  “Monstro”  (2012)  possesses,  at the base of its criticism, an eerie quintessential globalization model that foretells the end results of neoliberal capitalism. This Caribbean sci-fi journey is, in essence, a futuristic account of an unimaginably prosperous sugar island, turned darkly decadent, whose only hope is found in an allegorical signifier—that is, the legend of the living dead.