I’ve encountered 3 books recently that have had a real focus on media in a post-apocalyptic world, and I’ve noticed a fascinating little trend.
(I’m sorry, the scholar in me is clawing her way out).
The parents in Parasite, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and Feed are doomed to fail. Parents in a post-apocalyptic world are horrible parents because they have been unable to adjust to the changing world and understand that their children have adapted. Their in ability to adapt to a new reality dooms their relationship.
Starting with Feed we have Shaun and George’s parents who only became parents after their biological son died in the zombie rising, but they are unable to move past their first child’s death. Their names are constantly associated with zombification of animals over 40lbs and they are concerning themselves with issues that cropped up in the Rising period. They put their careers first over their kids in order to focus on the ways the world changed.
They do however help their kids understand the new world, even though unable to handle their kids on an emotional level. Shaun and George have been given the tools to interact with the world and be a part of the media, but their lives and focus are centered on living in a zombie infested world, rather than the changes that occurred when the world changed.
In Coldest we have a completely different type of parent. Instead of the indifference of Feed, Tana’s father has completely removed himself from the world. When Tana’s mother went cold and her father had to kill her, he could no longer handle the world. He withdraws completely presenting a depressed and withdrawn parent, one that does not even attempt to be apart of the world or his children’s lives.
Tana and her sister are left to fend for themselves and find sense in new Cold world making their own mistakes without any support.
In Parasite, Sal’s family are unable to believe that the world has irrevocably changed. They are still trying to find the daughter they knew and adjust to the fact that she is never coming back. They actively push her away, instead of trying to get to know their daughter who has been integrally changed and shaped by post-apocalyptic events.
Sal’s understanding of the new world alienates her from her family. She has adapted and is devoted to finding out the truth, but her family is still focused on the Sal of the past, and work to hinder the progress and changes she has made.
So there we go. If the human race survives the apocalypse it won’t be because of parents (at least according to literature). Its the children who grew up in the post-apocalyptic world that will be most able to carry on and deal with circumstances as they are.
Or we can read these stories this way: we either adapt and move on with our lives, or we will lose what is worth living for.