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Z For Zachariah

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Z For Zachariah

  1. 1. Z for Zachariah <ul><li>By Robert C. O’Brien </li></ul><ul><li>Z for Zachariah is a futuristic novel and survival story that addresses issues of self-reliance and courage. </li></ul><ul><li>Written in diary form, it is the story of Ann’s fight for survival after an atomic world war. The story involves a series of events where Ann and Mr Loomis build up a relationship based on friendship and trust – but there are also incidents where fear and hatred become the key factors. </li></ul>
  2. 2. About the Author... Robert C. O’Brien <ul><li>Born in New York City </li></ul><ul><li>Educated at Columbia University and Juillard School of Music </li></ul><ul><li>Worked as an editor for a number of magazines </li></ul><ul><li>A campaigner against warfare and all forms of pollution. Z for Zachariah reflects his deepest beliefs about the stupidity and tragic waste of nuclear war. </li></ul><ul><li>He died of cancer in 1975, leaving a wife and four children. His wife and daughter finished the book, working from his notes. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Some Background.. <ul><li>Nuclear Conflict: Nuclear weapons were used near the end of WWII, when US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. </li></ul><ul><li>The damage caused by the immediate explosion of a nuclear bomb, though catastrophic, is regarded as secondary to the long term effects of fallout. Radioactive dust can spread hundreds of miles and contaminate water. </li></ul><ul><li>People and animals exposed to radiation are likely to suffer from radiation sickness - often fatal. Many of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki later suffered from leukemia. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Some Background.. <ul><li>What message is the author trying to give us about Nuclear War? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Narrative - Point of view <ul><li>Z for Zachariah is written from Ann’s point of view. </li></ul><ul><li>Is Ann a trustworthy narrator? </li></ul><ul><li>Why / why not? </li></ul><ul><li>Suppose Ann is not the only one writing a diary - Loomis may have kept one. How would it have been different from Ann’s? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Characters <ul><li>Ann Burden </li></ul><ul><li>Loomis </li></ul><ul><li>Faro </li></ul>
  7. 7. Ann Burden <ul><li>What do we know about Ann from her life before the war? </li></ul><ul><li>Oldest child of a farming family, a brother and a adopted brother. Lived in the valley all her life, attended school a drive away, attended Sunday school. Wanted to become an English teacher, physically fit and strong. </li></ul><ul><li>The fact that she has survived tells us a lot about her. She is practical, capable, intelligent and has used her common sense. </li></ul><ul><li>Write down 10 words to describe Ann in groups. Then find examples of things she says or does that support this. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Ann Burden <ul><li>Ann is proof that although she is a girl, she is actually more effective and more powerful than Loomis. She runs the farm, tills the fields, feeds the animals. She single-handedly nurses Loomis back to health. </li></ul><ul><li>Emotionally too she is stronger. She comes to terms with the knowledge he has killed to allow a relationship between them to develop. She refuses to give way or become dependent on him. </li></ul><ul><li>In the end, Ann changes and lies and steals in order to survive. However, she still can kill neither Loomis nor Faro. </li></ul><ul><li>Ann has grown up. She matures into an adult through the hardships she goes through. She learns to survive, physically and emotionally and learns that not everything is black and white. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Ann and Loomis <ul><li>At first, Ann is scared of Loomis but then she begins to welcome him and looks for the advantages of having him as a companion. </li></ul><ul><li>Does Ann have a realistic picture of a relationship with Loomis? </li></ul><ul><li>Ann realizes she and Loomis are very different. When it becomes apparent that in order to stay with Loomis, Ann would need to become his slave, she shows her true character. She would rather leave the valley than submit. </li></ul>
  10. 10. John R. Loomis <ul><li>We see Loomis through Ann’s eyes. When he actually appears, we are already, because of Ann’s fears, afraid of him. </li></ul><ul><li>He watches Ann’s every move, is fiercly independent, he is suscious of her, he orders her about. </li></ul><ul><li>Find examples of 5 things Loomis does that show you the bad side of his nature (other than the shooting and attempted rape). What do they show you about his character? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Loomis <ul><li>It must have been difficult for Loomis, not meeting any living person since the war and to attempt to live in the same house as an attractive girl. </li></ul><ul><li>He fails to realise however, that Ann needs a relationship. His attempts on her are aggressive, like the hand-holding, or threatening such as when he asks her to read or play paino. Eventually, he can hold back no longer and tries to rape her. </li></ul><ul><li>After she has fled, he tries to track her down, locks her out of the store room and yet still accepts her labour to keep the farm going. </li></ul><ul><li>Loomis’s actions can never be seen as right - however... </li></ul>
  12. 12. His past... <ul><li>Where Ann has been sheltered from the effects of Nuclear War, Loomis has seen the worse. We never know just what he has seen, or how this has effected him. </li></ul><ul><li>We also never discover if his murder of Edward was in self-defence, or wrong motives. He certainly feels guilty about it. </li></ul><ul><li>Loomis seems a great deal worse after his illness, more irratable, more defensive. </li></ul><ul><li>How much can we excuse Loomis’s actions because of these things? Is he a totally unsympathetic character? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Faro <ul><li>Faro is a mongrel and an enthusiastic hunting dog. This fact makes him vital at the climax of the book, when Loomis uses him to hunt Ann. </li></ul><ul><li>Faro returns to the valley having been to look for David. This in itself is important because Ann comes to realise that he is proof her valley is not the only safe place, and this spurs her on to leave. </li></ul><ul><li>Faro saves Ann from Loomis’s attempted rape, growling and waking her. But he also becomes a threat to her. </li></ul><ul><li>Faro is vital to the action of the book, but also shows us a great deal about the characters... </li></ul>
  14. 14. Faro <ul><li>Loomis uses the dog for his own ends. He uses the dog to hunt another human being. </li></ul><ul><li>Ann befriends the dog, feeds it and keeps him for company. </li></ul><ul><li>When there is no alternative, Ann’s decision to shoot Faro shows us how she has changed. And when she cannot bring herself to do it, we realise she has retained her compassion. </li></ul><ul><li>Faro’s death signals the end of a particular time of Ann’s life. It is almost as if, with Faro gone, she has nothing to keep her in the valley or remind her of the child she used to be. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Themes <ul><li>Right and Wrong </li></ul><ul><li>Nuclear War </li></ul><ul><li>Man Vs. Women </li></ul><ul><li>Growing Up </li></ul>
  16. 16. Right and Wrong <ul><li>This is not a clear cut theme. </li></ul><ul><li>We see things through Ann’s eyes and she has no doubt that certain things are right and others are wrong. </li></ul><ul><li>When Loomis comes to the valley, Ann’s opinions slowly change. He does not see things the way Ann does. She shares what she has, for she realizes it is the only way for them both to survive. He takes it because he wants to survive and comes to regard it as his. </li></ul><ul><li>In the end, hounded by Loomis and shot at, Ann changes her ideas of right and wrong in order to survive. </li></ul><ul><li>When lives are at stake, people can discover capabilities they didn’t know they had; they can also become brutally aggressive and self-centered. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Nuclear War <ul><li>The idea of using nuclear weapons is not new. The concept of using weapons that can destroy a whole city, a continent has been a real threat. </li></ul><ul><li>After WWII, most of the major powers decided that in order to protect themselves against being similarily attacked, they needed nuclear bombs of their own. </li></ul><ul><li>Z for Zachariah is a book about nuclear war, and its effect on people. We learn nothing about why the war has started, that is almost unimportant, it is as if the author were suggesting that anyone could start it. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Nuclear War <ul><li>There are no gory details about the effects of the war, we are left to imagine from the family’s reaction, what they have seen. Why has the author done this? </li></ul><ul><li>Another way Ann hears about the war is over the radio. The description of the man ‘pleading’ is understated, but still horrifying. Why? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the message the author is trying to give us about nuclear war? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you feel about the problems of nuclear power, nuclear warfare having read Z for Zachariah. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Man vs. Women <ul><li>It is no coincidence that the main characters are one man and one women, and that it is, in the end, the woman who gains control, making her own decisions and has the courage to go her own way. </li></ul><ul><li>Attitudes towards the roles of men and women, even up to 50years ago, was that men and women fitted into certain roles and stayed that way. The women worked inside the home, keeping house and the man worked outside the home. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Man vs. Women <ul><li>At the start of the book, it takes us awhile to be aware of who is writing, and what gender he or she is. This is deliberate - why do you think the author did this? </li></ul><ul><li>Ann does find Loomis attractive, she describes him as ‘poetic’, and dreams of marrying him romantically. For Loomis, the issues is different. His attempts at ‘courtship’ take no account of Ann. </li></ul><ul><li>Loomis never treats Ann like an equal. Ann describes his attitude as ‘possessive... taking charge”. </li></ul><ul><li>Loomis has assumed that because Ann is a girl, that she is a certain kind of person. </li></ul><ul><li>When Ann leaves, they face each other as equals. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Growing Up <ul><li>Z for Zachariah is certainly about growing up in all its various forms. </li></ul><ul><li>Most cultures and societies accept that there is a difference between a child and an adult. </li></ul><ul><li>We are offered a number of situations in the novel that makes us think about what it means to be an adult. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Growing Up <ul><li>Shadowy figures in the background, Ann’s parents are nevertheless good role models. They obviously care for each other, encourage their children to be self-reliant and are brave enough to set out through the ‘deadness’ when war breaks out. </li></ul><ul><li>Ann has stayed where she is. She is still the in the valley, and this becomes a symbol of the fact that she is still a child, and not ready to face the big, wide world. </li></ul><ul><li>How is Ann still a child when we first meet her? </li></ul>
  23. 23. Growing Up <ul><li>Ann however, has survived alone for many months, has knowledge and experience to help her survive, is she nearly at an age where she could legally marry. But she still has growing up to do… </li></ul>
  24. 24. Growing Up <ul><li>Complete the following sentences to find out how events in the book mature Ann. </li></ul><ul><li>Her family leaving… </li></ul><ul><li>Having to fend for herself… </li></ul><ul><li>Being alone… </li></ul><ul><li>Coping with an intruder… </li></ul><ul><li>Nursing Loomis… </li></ul><ul><li>Discovering Loomis’s secret… </li></ul><ul><li>The attempted rape… </li></ul><ul><li>Being shot… </li></ul><ul><li>Living rough… </li></ul><ul><li>Faro’s death… </li></ul>
  25. 25. Growing Up <ul><li>One way of looking at it, is that Ann needs to accept other people for who they are, and she also needs to stand up for her own right to be what she is. </li></ul><ul><li>At the start of the book, she is unable to do either of these things </li></ul><ul><li>Ann learns to recognise what is right for her, not to be someone else’s slave, and in the end is making her own decisions. </li></ul><ul><li>She stops believing that everything that happens is her fault, and starts realising that she is right and Loomis is wrong. She begins to consider Loomis as an equal, and fighting him to win. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Growing Up <ul><li>Look over the final chapters. What evidence is there that Ann is now going for what she wants, not what she thinks she should want, or what she is told to? Find incidents and quotes </li></ul><ul><li>Loomis is suppose to be the adult, and Ann the child. But he is in fact a child in many ways. He has learned to survive, but he has not learned to accept others and to work with them. He acts childishly and is not a good role model. </li></ul><ul><li>When Ann leaves, she talks of leaving her childhood behind her, and when she walks out of the valley, she is walking into her adult life. </li></ul>

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