Z For Zachariah Themes

Z For Zachariah Themes

Conflict: Man vs. Self, Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature.

A well represented theme within the story is the idea of internal and external conflict.

In the case of external conflict (specifically man vs. nature), Ann is forced to remain contained within the confine of the valley, as the "deadness," or radiation poisoning, has spread to the surrounding areas. If she leaves her valley, she will die from radiation sickness.

In conflict such as "man vs. man," there are many instances in which Ann must run from and/or fight Mr. Loomis in his attempts to run her down and return her to the house. Since he is the only other human character living within the bounds of the story, there is very little "man vs. man" conflict to be found in the story. A man vs. man conflict not regarding Ann could be the standoff between Mr. Loomis and his associate Edward, when Loomis murders Edward for fear of losing he radiation suit.

Regarding the internal "man vs. self" aspect of conflict, Ann has many internal conflicts throughout the story. A very good example of this would be right at the end of the book as Ann begins to leave. She feels deep inside of herself that she should return and say one last goodbye to Mr. Loomis, though she is warring with the idea of him capturing her, or worse, shooting her as he did Edward. Being the introspective character that we can tell she is, Ann often fights her own internal battles with things like leaving Mr. Loomis when he is sick to go to church, killing Faro, and leaving him behind altogether.


Throughout the entire story, there are many instances when Ann is left with nothing but hope to depend on.

When her family leaves and doesn't return, she can do nothing but hope for their return, or at least for the appearance of another human.

When Mr. Loomis becomes gravely sick, Ann has little left but Faro, prayers, and hope to guide her through the time when she is unsure if Loomis will even make it through his illness.

And when Ann makes her daring plan to escape and steal the safe suit, she can only hope that the scheme goes through as planned without her being caught or hurt by Mr. Loomis.

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