Skip Nav

Z for Zachariah Essay

Found what you're looking for?

❶The title derives from an alphabet book Ann used while learning to read. One girl and one man survive the attack.

Navigate Guide

How to cite this page
Learn more
Critical Context

Conly and daughter Jane Leslie Conly completed the book guided by his notes. According to Sally Conly, Z for Zachariah was her husband's second novel intended for adults, following his science-fiction thriller A Report from Group Z for Zachariah received a honor award from the Jane Addams Children's Book Award [3] [4] and the Edgar Award for the best mystery fiction in the juvenile category.

Ann Burden is a teenage girl who believes she is the last survivor of a nuclear war. Since her family's disappearance on a search expedition, she has lived alone on her farm in a small valley spared from radiation poisoning. A year after the war, a stranger in a radiation-proof suit approaches her valley.

Afraid he might be dangerous, Ann hides in a cave and does not warn the man when he mistakenly bathes in a radioactive stream. When he falls ill, her fear of being alone forever leads her to reveal herself to help him. She discovers that the stranger is John Loomis, a chemist who helped design a prototype radiation-proof "safe-suit" at an underground lab near Ithaca, New York. Ann moves him into her house and fantasizes about eventually marrying him.

As Loomis becomes more ill and delirious, he has traumatic flashbacks to the underground lab, and talks of how he shot his coworker, Edward, who tried to take the safe-suit to find his family. Though troubled by this revelation, Ann continues to nurse him through his illness and keeps secret her knowledge of Edward's death. As Loomis recovers, Ann is taken aback when he begins criticizing her farming and giving her orders. He forbids her to touch the safe-suit. His plan "as if this valley is the whole world and we are starting a colony," makes her uneasy.

One night soon afterwards, she awakes to hear Loomis in her room. When he attempts to rape her, she flees to the cave again. After some days, Ann approaches Loomis and proposes sharing the valley and farm work but living apart.

He professes surprise when she tells him she won't live with him anymore and asks why, as if he has no idea. Ann remembers that he acted the same after he had grabbed her hand, "as if nothing had happened, or as if he had forgotten it," [6] She refuses to justify her choice to him, to tell him where she is living, or to come back to live with him. Loomis answers that he has no choice but to accept her proposal. Though the arrangement is "unnatural and uneasy," and Ann worries about surviving winter, she sticks by her decision and wishes Loomis had never come.

When she approaches the house, Loomis shoots her in the ankle. Ann flees back to the cave, realizing that he had not shot to kill, only to lame her to make her easy to capture. Loomis uses her dog, Faro, to track her to the cave, where he burns her belongings, though Ann escapes. Ann's ankle wound becomes infected. This fascinating piece of fiction is set in a post nuclear landscape.

Her parents were lost, ironically on a search expedition, leaving only Ann and her dog Faro to tend the farm.

She has survived for a year, growing crops, living off the land, and staying safely quarantined within it as she believes she is the last person on earth.

Naturally, she believes that Zachariah must be the last. After about a year alone on the farm, Ann notices a strange man wearing what looks like a hazmat suit, enter the premises. Afraid, she hides in a nearby cave and monitors his actions. He searches the area and washes himself in the river, which is affected by radiation. Ann does not warn the man as she fears he might be dangerous — but after the man becomes sick, she is faced with the reality that she will be alone forever and so attempts to help him.

Loomis shot Edward dead. Ann hears Loomis having his flashbacks but keeps the secret to herself. As she cares for Loomis, she begins to fantasize about marrying him. After a short while, Loomis is recovering well, however, his demeanor is growing saltier.

The smoke comes at the same time everyday, in late afternoon. I like this part of the book the most because in it you find out what it has been like for Ann being alone for so long because her family left her to look for other people and had never returned. It is obvious why Ann would be excited about someone else coming into the valley but maybe not so clear why she would be scared. Ann is scared because after the nuclear explosion some radio stations had still broadcasted, but towards the end of them broadcasting the presenters seemed to be going crazy.

Or suppose it was someone mean, or cruel, and brutal? What could I do? After this quote, you realise that Ann is a very sensible and careful person because she decides to move her things to a cave nearby her home and make it look as though no one has lived in her house.

That way she can watch whoever is coming into her valley and if they are crazy or mean she can stay in the cave unbeknown to the visitor and wait until they leave. The most remarkable character in the book I think is Ann Burden. In the following paragraph I will explain why Ann Burden is all of the things I have just said:. The proof that shows this, is all of the words I am using to describe her and she also thinks about having children to begin the human-race again.

Also Ann still helps Mr Loomis after he tried to rape her — she gives him half of everything i. It is obvious that Ann is confused, as she does not know why Mr Loomis is being so horrible to her especially when she has done everything she can to be nice to him and to help him.

The last words to describe Ann are strategic and logical; I think these words describe Ann well because when she does not want Mr Loomis to find her she thinks about what he can and cannot see e. During the book, there is not much direct speech as the genre of the book is in diary form so it contains more of the thoughts and feelings of Ann Burden. The themes of survival, dominance and age against youth are all linked together and are in a way very similar to each other.

Z For Zachariah Summary

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

" Z for Zachariah" is the title of the science fiction novel that I have been studying. It was written by Robert O" Brien which was first published in and was written during the "Cold War", wrote it. The plot of the novel is basically about isolation and the struggle to survive not directly a /5(4).

Privacy FAQs

Z For Zachariah essaysScience fiction stories frequently have some kind of disaster andthen the reaction of human kind to that disaster. Robert O.

About Our Ads

Z For Zachariah study guide contains a biography of Robert C. O’Brien, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Both ‘Z for Zachariah’ and ‘Touching the Void’ have uniquely different ideas of how survival can vary in different ways, as well as change the people involved in the event for the rest of their lives.

Cookie Info

Unlike most editing & proofreading services, we edit for everything: grammar, spelling, punctuation, idea flow, sentence structure, & more. Get started now! Z for Zachariah was a very dramatic book due to the amount of external conflict between Mr Loomis and Ann. Ann had to face Mr Loomis while he was in various different states of mind, many when he was extremely angry. Mr Loomis wanted to over power Ann, and with him being a male and Ann being a female he assumed that he would be .