The fact that the zombie that ultimately kills Gary was a fortune teller has a lot of significance outside of the obvious. There is enough irony and subtleties in the conversation being had before the fatal bite to create a whole other blog post, but I just keep getting stuck on the fortune teller. There are many different methods of fortune telling, all with vastly different origins, but one of the most well know practice today is Tarotology. Although there is not an exact science to reading tarot cards and there are many reasons to doubt their real power, there are still many interest aspects and meanings within the deck that can be applied to the ending of Zone One.
One of the most important and well known cards in the deck is number 13, Death. It sounds ominous, but actually the card is more positive than one might think. In its upright reading, Death marks the ending of major events or periods of life so that something new can begin. Closing one door so that you are able to open another. It tells of a time of reflection on the current situation and of the excitements of what is to come. The card stands for acceptance rather than mourning or fear, and I think through out Zone One the characters learn to see this in their own world. Its obvious there is no way to stop the virus and the skels will never be fully cleared out. No matter what the wipe-out team does, there are still more to come. With Mark Spits’ final decision to enter into the stream of skels at the end of the novel, I see the full effects and meaning of the card.
As I look further into it, I can also see reflections of some of the main characters within the deck as well. Gary could be seen as The Fool, the idea of enjoyment over practicality and the acceptance of change. The image on the card actually shows a man looking off into the sky, about to walk off of a cliff. Gary himself saw his own demise after going out of his way to make a joke. In a reading many times the advice of The Fool is to fall into place within a group and to be satisfied of being part of the whole. The fact that Gary was not only part of a sweeper team, but was a triplet at one point reinforces the connection. I can also see Kaitlyn being represented by The High Priestess, striving for harmony and consistency. Out of the group, she seems to be the most ready to take charge and get things done. Just seeing her dedication to the “no-no cards” reaffirms these characteristic.
There are many other ways to read what the fortune tellers presence in this scene means when looking at it with other methods in mind, and I truly applaud Whitehead’s writing for that. It takes a lot of talent to create so much intrigue in such a tiny detail. I think I’m going to go get my palms read to see if I can get some of that writing talent for final reflection paper.