Z for Zachariah Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. For what is Loomis searching?

2. With what information does the book open in the first sentence?

3. What does Loomis think the Creek water could do?

4. What does Ann use to gather greens?

5. Why does Ann decide to keep the man in sight for the first two or more?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Ann think someone is coming to her valley?

2. Why is the man there?

3. What does Ann decide to do as the stranger draws closer?

4. How does the man discover his terrible error about the Creek and what does he do?

5. What does Ann worry about when she discovers that Faro has returned?

6. Why does Ann bring Loomis into her home?

7. What is the situation in the valley about the water supply?

8. How does Mr. Loomis seem later that evening, and what does Ann give him?

9. How does Ann get the tractor running and what planting decision does she make?

10. What happens that convinces Ann that the man knows nothing about farm life and what is her response?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the following:

1. What is a plot? What are the most important elements of a plot and their definition? Do all novels have a plot? Why or why not?

2. Write a brief synopsis of the plot of Z for Zachariah, identifying where the various elements of the plot occur (Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution or denouement). Do you find it difficult to identify the plot? Why or why not? What about the various elements of the plot?

3. Identify the major sub-plots and their elements (They may not contain every element of a major plot). Do the sub-plots add to the main plot? Why or why not. Are the sub-plots interesting in and of themselves? Why or why not.

Essay Topic 2

Samuel Taylor Coleridge once said that in reading fantastical or non-realistic literature, the reader must be willing to suspend his/her disbelief. Discuss the following:

1. In Chapter 6, Ann along with the reader learns that John Loomis walks from New York to somewhere in Pennsylvania through hundreds of miles of radiation-laden country, along with other poisons such as nerve gas. Is it possible to suspend one's disbelief in order to "play along" with the scenario the author sets up? Is it likely that in the 1960s, a plastic would have been invented that protected one from the effects of radiation exposure? Does this unlikely scenario make you more or less inclined to be engaged with the rest of the story? Explain your answers.

2. What are two other improbable situations in this book that one has to accept in order to engage with the story? Do you have trouble with either situation you name?

3. Are there any situations that stretch your imagination too far and makes you unable to accept the basic premise of the book? What is (are) it (they)?

4. Are you willing in your reading experiences to accept some unrealistic situations in order to become engaged in a book? What would be the purpose of doing so?

Essay Topic 3

Z for Zachariah belongs to the literary genre of apocalyptic fiction. Discuss the following:

1. Thoroughly define the term genre and offer examples of it from your own reading experience. Why do you think it is useful to categorize fiction into genres? What could be a disadvantage of doing so?

2. What do you think is the main motivation for a person to read an apocalyptic novel? Is entertainment a good enough reason? Are there any other reasons to read this genre? What? Explain fully.

3. In "academe," apocalyptic novels are often thought of as less literary than some other genres and for that reason are sometimes "snubbed" in the study of literature. Why do you think this is so? Do you agree with this "snobbery"?

(see the answer keys)

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