Zulus: A-Z

There are two different ways you can read Zulus. One of which being, you can read each chapter heading/title. The other is choosing to completely skip over them. When I first started to read Zulus I ignored them and I only paid attention to them when it told me where to stop reading for class. It wasn’t until after a few class discussions that I went back and read them, and began to read them along with my chapters. After that, I started to piece everything together. I started to make connections, and I started to read the book a little more closely. When you look up the people, places, and dates in the chapter headings a lot of things start to make sense, but it also raises many more questions. I mean Chapter B tells you how the book is going to end! “Z is for Zulus” (21). The book title Zulus doesn’t really make much sense until you get to Chapter B where it gives a very brief history of the Zulus people and how they “fought for three hours, leaving three thousand Zulus dead” (21). It made me wonder if Everett chose them on purpose because their story was a brutal one, just like the history of the society in the book. When you get to Chapter I, the end of the heading says “I is for Imhotep”. I didn’t know who Imhotep was until Professor McCoy told us in class that he is often considered the father of medicine. I fact-checked this with an article I found, “Imhotep and Medical Science – Africas Gift to the World” by Don Jaide which said, “Imhotep was the world’s first-named physician”. NOW, put that into context with our book; the society in which Alice lived in had no medicine, so why is Imhotep relevant? What does he have to do with anything in the book other than being the father of the medicine that they DON’T have? The only thing I could think of was the irony behind this. The society has no access to medicine. After discussing in class one day, a few people brought up the idea that the reason they might not have access to it is so everyone winds up dying and the planet has the chance to heal from the disaster that struck.  It brings up the idea of our course epigraph again and how as readers, it’s our job to notice when the author embeds hidden clues and meanings behind things in their writing. It’s also our professors’ job, and also our own job to make sure we are noticing those things to better ourselves and our observing skills. Often times we overlook things that are right in front of our faces and don’t think about it because it either seems too obvious or because it is too sensitive and we don’t want to talk about. As readers, and as members of society we have to start being more observant of the things going on around us. We have to be more willing to talk about sensitive topics, the ones we don’t want to talk about if we are ever going to change as a society. 

Washington wrote in Medical Apartheid about how 42 years ago a man named Casper Yeagin vanished. His family had reported him missing, and after a few months of him missing and his family calling and visiting the cops many times, they finally found his body. Yeagins body had been awarded to a medical school to conduct research. They were able to find his body before they dissected him (115-116). Many people are unaware of situations like this that happened in our history. I didn’t know that was a thing until I started this class. It’s crazy to think that this happened only 55 years ago (the book was published in 2006, 13 years ago. 13+42=55). 55 years ago my grandma was my age, it’s crazy to think that this was happening during her lifetime. It’s sickening how many people turn a blind eye to things like this. We need to be better-informed citizens about our history, so we can make sure things like that never happen again. 

My takeaway from Zulus is to be more observant and to ask more questions in my day to day life. Not only will that make me a more informed citizen, but it will help me to educate other people. My future plan is to become a middle-high school English teacher and I believe that by being informed on all past and present topics I can better teach my classes and better shape the youth of America.

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