Namesakes

Many people are often named after people in their family who their parents hold very special. My name is Ariana, a completely random name that my mom just happened to like. My middle name is Rose, a basic middle name. My mom chose my middle name because it was her Grandmothers, my Great Grandmother, middle name: Vincenza Rose. Naturally, when I found this out I wanted to know more. I wanted to know all about this woman who I was named after, and why my mother chose her to name me after. 

Fortunately for me, my Great Grandmother is still alive so I was able to meet her and get to know her growing up. I was able to learn about her childhood and I learned that I am a lot like her. My Great Grandmother came over to America from Italy when she was a teenager, she made this trip all by herself. She left her family, friends, and life back in Italy so come to America and build herself a better life. My mom compares me to her because of my strong will and drive to build myself a better life. To me, it is an honor to share a middle name with a woman as strong as my Great Grandmother. 

We can see a story that is similar to mine, and a desire similar to mine to find out who you were named after in the book Zone One. Mark Spitz, the character in Zone One is sent from Buffalo with characters Kaitlyn and Garry to Manhattan to get rid of the skels and stragglers. Once everyone else is infected, Mark is left to fight the zombies on his own. While he is fighting the zombies he gets swallowed in the groud of them. Just like his namesake Mark Spitz the Olympian, Mark Spitz at the end of his career he is swallowed in a crowd of zombies (people). He is the last member of the society to be infected by the zombies. Mark Spitz was an awfully average guy from the start. He never overachieved but he also never slacked off, he was just average. Mark Spitz is not his real name however, it is a nickname given to him. The irony behind this, as Gary points out is that Mark Spitz is black. This may not seem important at first, but Gary goes on with the racial stereotype that “back people can not swim” (287). The other ironic idea behind this is just how average Mark Spitz the character is compared to the man he got his nickname after. Mark Spitz the Olympian. 

Olympian Mark Spitz was a competitive swimmer and he won 7 Olympic gold medals at the 1972 summer Olympics (Wikipedia, Mark Spitz). In class, we watched a video of Mark Spitz in the summer of 1972 Olympics where the camera continues to pan from him swimming, to the large crowd of people cheering him on. This is a particularly important video to see and understand because of the way that Zone One ends. 

Once everyone else is infected, Mark is left to fight the zombies on his own. While he is fighting the zombies he gets “jumps”  in the crowd of them. Just like his namesake Mark Spitz the Olympian, Mark Spitz at the end of his career he is swallowed in a crowd. 

Just like I am like my Great Grandmother in various ways, the character Mark Spitz is ironically the complete opposite of the real Mark Spitz and yet their careers ended the same way. 

Are you like your namesake, or are you the polar opposite of them?

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