COVID-19: Finding meaning through literature

COVID-19: Finding meaning through literature

COVID-19: Finding meaning through literature


As we approach a month of online classes and social distancing, changes to routine have become a daily occurrence. With COVID-19 still spreading, it’s important to take frequent stock in yourself and make sure your own needs are met. Is everyone doing okay? Both Wayne State and the English Department are dedicated to helping students maintain themselves during these times.


This list is non-exhaustive, but contains some useful links for keeping safe during this time.

Quarantine Guidelines: Social distancing is the best thing you can do right now. Maintaining social distancing will help to flatten the curve as well as decrease your own chances of getting sick. Guidelines for social distancing and University updates regarding COVID-19 can be found in the links below.

Guidelines for Social Distancing -

WSU COVID-19 Updates -

Campus Health Center


Mental Health: It can be difficult to cope with sudden changes in routine. If you feel you need help, mental health resources are available from the University. In addition to CAPS Counseling, a COVID-19 hotline has been established by the Psychology Department. Please do no hesitate to ask for help if needed.

CAPS Counseling -


Tips for studying from home -


Other Resources: The W Food Pantry will remain open throughout the crisis to provide students with essentials free of charge. Short term loans are available through the HIGH program for emergency needs, and many textbooks can be accessed online through the Wayne library website.

WSU Food Pantry -

Urgent Short-term Loans -  

Wayne library -

Finding Meaning Through Literature

One of the perks of studying English is the ability to contextualize life’s events in relation to the stories we’ve read. We reached out to several professors in the English department asking for stories related to the new pandemic culture of the world. If you’re looking for meaning in these confusing times, these media recommendations may help. If not, you’ll at least find something new to read or watch.

Dr. Hillary Fox, our professor of medieval studies, cautions that while the coronavirus is very different from something like the Black Death or the Spanish Flu, there are still lessons to be learned by looking to the past. “The medieval texts that most readily spring to mind are Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron and Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.In Decameron, a group of young nobles seclude themselves in a villa outside of Florence in order to escape the Black Plague. They pass the time by telling stories, which becomes the framing device for the collection itself. While very few of us likely have access to a Florentine villa at this moment, telling stories to one another is likely an excellent way to stay active while social distancing.

Chera Kee, media professor and author Not Your Average Zombie: Rehumanizing the Undead from Voodoo to Zombie Walks, had a slew a zombie related media to recommend. Though macabre, the genre of zombie stories often repackages our fears and beliefs surrounding viruses and sickness. Two books which she said might be particularly useful are Dahlia Schweitzer, Going Viral: Zombies, Viruses, and the End of the World by Dahlia Schweitzer and …But if a Zombie Apocalypse Did Occur: Essays on Medical, Military, Governmental, Ethical, Economic, and other Implications by Amy L. Thompson and Antonio S. Thompson. Both are nonfictional works presenting viewpoints of society and culture through the lens of zombie media. Kee also recommends the novel World War Z by Max Brooks, the video game The Last of Us, and the movie Pontypool.

Thanks for reading! We hope everyone is keeping healthy and active. Please stay safe and check the Wayne State website often for updates.