As a metaphor, the zombie apocalypse makes a lot of sense. I can say “Global warming is the zombie apocalypse,” and you get my metaphor. Pick your disaster – climate change, the rise of the 1%, nuclear war, genocide – whatever. Compare it to the zombie apocalypse and people understand that you are saying that your disaster represents the end of the world as we know it and that chaos will follow.
The Walking Dead is very clear, metaphorically speaking. A zombie apocalypse wiped out every human institution and every kind of infrastructure that holds society together. The humans who survive are struggling to cope. Every human trait from morality to greed to violence to self-preservation to self-sacrifice can be built into stories around this struggle to cope and survive.
Under the Dome: Huh?
Under the Dome is not so clear for me. Is the dome the end of the world – the whole world – the way a zombie apocalypse would be? No, because there are people outside the dome who are living their normal lives. Yes, the people inside the dome are struggling to cope, but with what, exactly?
The story lines about morality and greed and violence and self-preservation and self-sacrifice are still there, but in a tiny microcosm of all humanity. We presume that if the dome were lifted, life would again resemble the rest of the world outside the dome.
The people under the dome seem to feel that the dome is a living creature with intent, godlike. Is the metaphor in Under the Dome something about religion or faith? What about the two teens who seem to be receiving messages from the dome and whose touch can turn it from dangerous to benign? Do they represent some sort of savior? Is the fact that the dome is an invisible barrier important?
I’m not saying I don’t enjoy Under the Dome. I watch it, I’m engaged in it, I like the characters. There’s plenty of suspense and drama. However, I haven’t decided yet what I think the dome represents. Have you?
Zombie image ©AMC The Walking Dead