In the book “World War Z” the characters in the book express many examples of the worst and best of human behavior. We see characters that choose self-preservation, and those who rise above self-preservation and instead choose self-sacrifice. The choice to save others or to save yourself really says what kind of person you are. Although we would like to say we would be the hero and save everyone before we would save ourselves. But when it comes down to it most humans would try to save themselves first. Also to humans it may not seem worth it to sacrifice their own life for a bunch of strangers.
Self preservation is displayed in many chapters one of which being the chapter in which Project Manager Sardan Khan is given the mission to blow up a mountain trail to cut off the zombies and also the civilians who were trying to escape them. This act is a good example of what we would consider bad human behavior, leaving all of those innocent people behind just to save a few lives and a safe base. Khan’s choice to preserve his own life results in the lives of thousands of civilians’ deaths. Another example of self-preservation is in the church in Topeka Kansas where a feral child named Sharon experiences a group of people in a church trying to hide away from the dead that are trying to break down the doors.
Once there is no hope for survival the parents start to kill their own children so that they wont become a zombie. Although this isn’t an example of people preserving their own lives they are in a sense “preserving” their helpless children’s lives, or so they believe. To save our own lives over saving the lives of others is a natural reaction in times of disaster but this doesn’t really count as bad human behavior, because it is only human to want to stay alive and pursue our life.
Characters from the book displayed acts of self-sacrifice as well. Of course if they made the ultimate sacrifice, death, they wouldn’t of been able to tell their story but we see a lot of examples where these characters put themselves in danger in order to save or protect others. For example Joe Muhammad from Wenatchee, Washington displays his courage when he is out patrolling. He and some other people where out looking for looters or squatters who would be in abandoned houses that they would put up as off limits. If the police tape they tape across the doors was broken that meant either a zombie broke through or there was a looter. Joe being handicapped in a wheelchair would be the last person you would expect to stand down a dangerous looter, but when a looter pulled out a gun Joe took action and wound up shot.
Then there was MaryJo Miller a mother from Troy, Montana who was at her home with her family when a zombie broke through their house and tried attacking her husband who fought him off. When all of a sudden her daughter screamed because a zombie had broken through her window. As Mary Jo explains she went into full on protection mode and the save her children she took on that zombie with her bare hands and ripped its head clean off. There are characters that risked their lives for total stranger and those who risk their lives for the ones they love, but when it comes down to it those people are the real heroes and the bravest of humanity.
Self-preservation and self-sacrifice are both part of the human experience. To be a human we have to make choices that determine whether or not we put ourselves before others or put others before ourselves. Those who choose to save themselves but put the lives of innocent people in jeopardy have to live with that choice for the rest of their lives. They have to know that to them their lives were more important than millions of others. This was true for many characters in the book who chose the life of themselves and a few other over a mass population, this was also known as the Redeker plan. Those who choose to put the lives of many over their lives have to show a great amount of courage. There are those who risk their life for loved ones and those who risked their lives for innocent strangers.
Brooks novel explores the choices we make as humans whether they be good or bad. But in the eyes of different people we could interpret good and bad choices differently. The choice to save ones self may seem like a bad human choice but to that person that may be the only choice that seems logical to them. To be a human you have to decide in times of distress if your life or the lives of others will be the one to prevail. When we fight so hard for our own salvation sometime we forget that the lives of others hang in the balance. Brooks also examines how when that large population was sacrificed the world was changed forever not only due to all the deaths but all the empty souls who caused that massacre. Those who remain have to live with the fact that their lives were put over million of others over the simple reason of convenience.
Self preservation and self sacrifice come in many forms but it is in our human nature to make choices that may be hard but in times of hardship the choices we make we might wind up regretting them. To save one life or many if the biggest choice one could make, but the strongest make their choice with out regret or much thought. What makes us human is the choice to live or let others lives live on.