Cell as the Product of Technophobia

As we have seen in the other sections of this website, there are many elements at play within Cell, and the novel can very much be viewed as a product of its time. Given the setting when it was written, including the threat of global terrorism and the rise of cell phone usage, it is easy to track the story back to its likely inspiration. When combining all these elements, we can view Cell as the embodiment of the next logical step in the evolution of the zombie in popular culture.

“Zombies” by Benjamin Réthoré is licensed under CC by 2.0

The Zombies

The zombies in this story are representative of technology and fears associated with technology. This is made clear not only through the delivery method of the initial signal which turns them into zombies, but through other aspects of the story as well. These zombies are seemingly controlled by an electronic force, and seek to convert others to their ranks. This is representative of the control technology has over our lives, and how even those who wish to avoid technology will have it constantly presented to them.

“Pulse” by Johan Larsson is licensed under CC by 2.0


The Pulse

Although the source of The Pulse is seemly unknown, it is commonly attributed to terrorism of unknown origin. This is very telling of the mindset of many Americans in the early 2000s, who were understandably fearful of terrorism from any source, whether overseas or here in the United States.

Other Aspects of the Story

After the initial Pulse, the zombies in the story seemingly begin to evolve, and to develop what the book refers to as a “Hive mind.” Through this hive mind the zombies are able to think as one being, and they then use this to aid in finding food and people which they could potentially convert. This can be viewed as representative of the way technology can remove the identity of an individual. As the vast majority of Americans are all presented with the same form of media, they lose the ability to think independently, leading to a hive-mind of sorts. The zombies in the story also begin to appear in the dreams of others. This could represent how technology will work its way into our lives whether we want it to or not. While many, including King, may have been weary of owning cell phones, it has now become very difficult to function in many aspects of life without one.