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The Walking Dead: Compendium One Character Analysis

Introduction

The Walking Dead: Compendium One is the first part of the saga about zombies. It presents stories of its characters before the apocalypse and after it. However, the book that is initially regarded as the book about zombies appears to be the book about changes that еру modern society experiences (Oxley 189). It depicts the change in moral values, standards, laws, and relationships between people (Herman 434). It shows that most people nowadays are zombies who are blindly following their instincts and obeying what is told to them (Tracey). The paper deals with the analysis of the protagonist’s personal characteristics, attitude towards moral principles, and relationships with others.

Personality

Rick is a wise, brave, and skillful character. When at stake there is the safety of the group, he instantly makes the decision, even the most difficult. He is constantly at risk for the sake of others and is sent to the most dangerous challenges for the benefit of the group. He has a strong sense of responsibility. Therefore, experiencing the death of someone from his group, he begins to blame himself for not being able to protect them. Despite the fact that Rick is an atheist, he still attends church service, but rather for entertainment.

Attitude towards Leadership

From the perspective of leadership, Rick is a respected leader who throughout the whole book manages to subordinate different groups of survivors. Being a commander is not easy for Rick, while he always doubts whether he is skillful enough. However, the support on behalf of members of his group gives him confidence and strength to overcome all difficulties and remain a good leader. If the group remains without a leader even for a short time, it starts to fall apart. In one of the episodes, Rick tells Lori that he is an officer of the law and has to protect those who see him as a guarantee of safety and calmness (Kirkman, Adlard, Moore, and Rathburn). Accordingly, he tries to do everything possible not to disappoint and betray them.

However, after Rick’s stay in prison and a series of affecting actions such as beating of Thomas Richards, murder of Dexter, and Allen’s amputation of the leg, the group begins to admit that leadership is driving him crazy and is too complicated for him. Rick agrees to renounce from leadership, calling it a heavy burden. Nevertheless, in some time the group realizes that the council is not a good governor and asks Rick to return to his previous duties. He appears to be a very sensitive and responsible leader. However, the principal factor that does not allow him to continue his leadership is the constant feeling of guilt (Wilson). After the situation in prison, he swears that he will never be able to make decisions for someone, while, in his opinion, it only makes the situation worse.

Attitude towards Murder

Rick’s ratio to how to deal with murderers is undergoing significant changes. Initially, Rick, following the code of the police, is trying not to kill people. After Thomas Richards cut the heads of twins Susan and Rachel Green, he establishes a rule: “you kill – you are dead”. Soon, he breaks this rule by shooting Dexter who threatened a group with a weapon and explains to the group that in a new world the murder is sometimes justifiable. As a result, he establishes a new rule: “you killed – you live” (Vasich). 

After the murder of Martinez, Rick confesses to Lori that it has become much easier to refer to murder. Moreover, he admits that he is ready to kill anyone, even from his group, in order to protect his family. The killing has made him realize how much he has changed from being a good cop to becoming a lawless savage. He admits that he cares about and tries to protect every member of his group, but in case there is a right reason, he is ready to kill any of them at any time. With the establishment of the rule “you killed – you live”, his behavior changes. When he meets zombies and pedophiles who pounce on his son, he dispatches them with cruelty. However, Rick does not kill his most evil enemy Nigay, instead he captures him, therefore maintaining the authority of the leader. Nevertheless, the theme of zombie is very popular in American literature and it differs a lot from such popular themes as vampires and werewolves. While vampires are depicted from a romantic perspective and werewolves are tragic figures, zombies do not render any social value (Petsko 108). They are creatures that are not able to think, feel, or communicate. Moreover, all they do is look for human flesh; therefore, it causes no difficulties for the main character to kill them.

Before the apocalypse, Rick was a police officer in a small town Sintiana, Kentucky. Apparently, his work was calm and as he mentions later, he had no reasons to hurt another person. He used his gun for several times, but he never fired at a human being. Rick was a fan of American football, especially of the team “Vikings”. His younger brother was the reason he met his future wife Lori. In some time, they got married and had a son named Karl. After the apocalypse, his life significantly changes and the main aim now is to survive. He learns that to kill a zombie, he has to crush its skull, learns how to use different types of weapon, and how to live in a constant state of fear (Lawhon).

Relationships with other Characters

Lori

In one of the episodes, Lori mentions that their couple is the most compatible couple in the world. Rick, in turn, tells hundreds of words, expressing gratitude for love and support in all challenging situations. Rick is a faithful and loving husband. He surrounds Lori with care and often demonstrates his love for her. He loves her to such an extent that even tries to justify her connection with Shane. Moreover, he forgives her relationship with Shane and the fact that Judith might not be his daughter.

Rick always morally supports Lori, encountering constant mood changes due to her pregnancy. He soothes and comforts her, trying to cheer her up. Staying in prison, he admits that he is ready to kill anyone, even from his group, if there is some danger to their family. Lori does not understand to a full extent Rick’s leadership role in the group. She is terribly angry when he goes to the next dangerous mission as she believes that first he should take care of the family. However, eventually she begins to treat it with more understanding. After her death, Rick experiences strong remorse. He suffers from hallucinations with a dead wife on the phone. She assures him that he is not guilty of her death. Finally, he experiences nightmares where Laurie, being a zombie, kills him.

Carl

Rick takes care of Carl and, realizing that a new world is very different, teaches him to shoot. He speaks with his son for long hours, instilling in him the moral values. For the sake of his son, he is ready for everything, even for cruel killings. Rick and Carl become very close after the death of Lori and Judith. After Carl kills Ben, his father explains to him that sometimes people have to do bad things, but it should not change them. In Alexandria, Rick tries to convince Carl that it is time to return to normal life and remember what it means to be a child. When Carl matures, Rick entrusts him with various important missions. Reluctantly, he allows Carl to leave Alexandria and live in Hilltop where he wants to study blacksmithing.

Shane

Rick and Shane are teammates and close friends. Rick does not doubt the reliability of Shane even when Dale hints at his relationship with Laurie. When Shane threatens to kill him, he is shocked by actions of Carl who shoots Shane. After Lori’s and Judith’s deaths, he does not blame her for her relationships with Shane even though he is convinced that Judith was Shane’s daughter.

Andrea

After the death of Lori and Judith, he begins a relationship with Andrea who is one of the few survivors of the initial group.

Dale

Rick, as the leader of the group, has a difficult relationship with Dale. Dale admits his authority, but often criticizes his decisions and words. In strenuous situations, Dale supports Rick, but this does not prevent him from instigating a part of the group to leave Rick while he remains unconscious in prison. After an unsuccessful assault, which killed seven members of the group, Dale gets angry with Rick. He considers that Rick constantly exposes the group to danger and cannot protect it. Nevertheless, he does not claim it in Rick’s face, preferring to complain to Andrea. Before his death, Dale reconsiders his views and thanks Rick for taking tough decisions and saving the group.

Tyreese

Rick and Tyreese become good friends. They cleverly work in pair, killing zombies. They share feelings with each other and discuss the future of the group. Tyreese saves Rick in the Wiltshire estate, therefore earning his trust. In prison, Rick gets with the group to the gym and finds alive Tyreese surrounded by dozens of zombies killed by him. The trust between them increases when Rick does not tell the group about the real reasons of Chris’s death and Tyreese does not tell that Rick killed Dexter deliberately.

Tyreese often does not agree with Rick. After the situation with Thomas Richards, Dexter’s murder, and Allen’s leg amputation, Tyreese believes that Rick cannot control his thirst for blood and does not deserve to be a leader. When Rick accuses Tyreese of Carol’s suicide, Tyreese aggressively beats him, but Rick still considers him as a friend. After Rick leaves for Woodbury, Tyreese experiences extreme worry about him. He is leading a sally, but it fails and zombies fill the prison yard. After Rick’s return, they reunite. Nevertheless, Rick does not attempt to rescue Tyreese from death, believing that it is his fault that he has been captured.

Conclusion

Having analyzed personal characteristics and relationships with other characters, it can be stated that despite frequent cruelty the main character remains a loving and caring husband and father for his children and his group. He is brave enough to take the responsibility for the whole group of people, expecting support and protection from him. Moreover, the fact that he is teaching his son to remain a human being in any situation and respect moral values presents him as an intelligent, prudent, and cautious character. However, though the book contains a lot of cruel scenes, it does not provoke cruelty in those who read it for entertainment. The hidden message one can notice while reading the book and analyzing the character of Rick is a call to remain human and not to become zombies who are unable to feel, think, and control their existence.