I would like to piggyback on the post from Wednesday, as I found the idea incredibly intriguing. In the most basic sense, surviving the zombie apocalypse does mean not becoming a zombie, but there is so much more to it than that. I think that is the essence of what zombie stories are looking at: what does it take to survive?
But it's not only surviving, it's living. Anyone with a brain can survive. The survival instinct is one of our most primitive functions. But what does it mean to live? And what does it mean to live when you've lost everything? I think this is one of the basic questions zombie stories strive to answer, along with what it takes to be human.
I'm not going to say I have the answer to that question because it will vary from person to person. And it's a question I explore in my own writing. For some, surviving/living might be enough to have their heart beating and most of their family/friends around them. For others, to survive and live they have to face the zombies and wipe them off the face of the earth.
We survive/live everyday and face hardships and overcome obstacles. But how would those hardships and obstacles change if the dead rose from the grave and started eating us? How would we cope with losing loved ones closest to us to the undead hoard? How many of us would find the strength to carry on?
When it comes down to it, zombies stories aren't about gore and walking corpses (although they are present and fun!). Zombies are nothing more than catalysts that make us face our deepest fears and question what it takes to continue on. They make us question our own humanity. Like Sabrina said, there is way more to survival than trying to avoid becoming a zombie. How many of us would be up to the challenge?