Z For Zachariah Essay Questions

Quiz Q’s (multiple choice answers) -

  • Why didn’t Ann tell the man not to swim in Burden Creek?

  1. She didn’t see him

  2. She didn’t want to trust a stranger so soon

  3. The creek wasn’t poisonous

  4. She wanted to steal his suit, so if he got sick from the creek, it would advantage her.

  • How did Mr. Loomis use Faro against Ann?

  1. He made tied Faro to the porch to make Ann feel sorry for the dog

  2. He used him to track Ann when he was attempting to find Ann

  3. When Mr. Loomis knew Ann was watching him, he practised the tracking game to scare her

  4. All of the above

  • What happened to nearly everyone outside of the valley?

  1. They all went on a holiday

  2. They were all forced to move towns because of war dangers

  3. They were all killed in the nuclear bombings

  4. They hid in radiation-proof shelters through the war

  • What were the names of Ann’s brothers?

  1. Joseph and John

  2. David and Josh

  3. Joseph and Dan

  4. David and Joseph

  • Where did Ann live for most of her year alone in the valley?

  1. In an underground shelter

  2. In the general store’s living quarters

  3. In the house

  4. In a cave on the hillside

Example of Essay Question

“During the novel Z for Zachariah Ann is forced to make a number of important and difficult decisions.  The plot would have taken a different direction if Ann had made different choices and actions. Choose a point in the novel and predict how the story would have been different if Ann had made a different decision at that point.”


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The novel takes its title from a religious alphabet book that Ann had as a child, which began “A is for Adam” and concluded “Z is for Zachariah”—a progression that led the toddler to deduce that if Adam was the first man, then Zachariah must be the last. This point emphasizes that O’Brien’s narrative will be an inverted Creation story, although it is less about the creation of a new world than it is about the hoped-for reclamation and reformation of an old one. O’Brien uses such reversals throughout the story, from Loomis’ hypothesis that the valley has been preserved through “some kind of an inversion” to the author’s use of the younger character to embody the values of tradition (literature, the pioneer spirit, and religion) and the older character those of inventiveness, change, and iconoclasm, as Loomis scoffs at Ann’s churchgoing and burns her copy of Treasured Short Stories of England and America. Similarly, O’Brien goes against stereotypes in associating his female character with physical labor in the out-of-doors, while the male character stands for weakness and confinement to domestic spaces. Gender, indeed, is something that Ann has relinquished, as she has learned to enjoy the “male” tasks that she once disliked and to feel comfortable in the male clothing that circumstances have forced upon her, so that Loomis’ attempt to coerce her into the female sexual role is doubly a violation.

Yet, Ann is less an inversion of femininity than a new version of it—and, perhaps, of humanity overall. If she is the culture-bearer, preserving...

(The entire section is 651 words.)

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