â€œ Z for Zachariahâ€ is the title of the science fiction novel that I have been studying. It was written by Robert Oâ€™ Brien which was first published in 1973 and was written during the â€œCold Warâ€, wrote it. The plot of the novel is basically about isolation and the struggle to survive not directly a nuclear war but the after effects.
The main character in the novel is Ann Burden, from Burden Valley, in the United States of America. A nuclear war has left Ann all alone, as her complete family have been killed by the disaster: â€œWhen I look beyond I see that all the trees are dead, and there is never a sign of anything moving. I donâ€™t go out there.â€ The valley however has been untouched by the devastation. Ann is entrapped, as everything beyond the circumference of Burden is unproductive of life. She leads a simple life-style. Cleverly using nature to survive. She shuts herself off from the past, and looks forward to the future: â€œI am hopeful to be an English teacher.â€ I believe that Ann is a very optimistic person who never gives up on hope.
Her farm upbringing has equipped her with a great deal of common sense, practicality and resourcefulness. Ann can shoot, cook and drive a tractor, as well as fish and do agricultural work. This helping her to make life on her own a lot less of a struggle and showing us that she has good survival skills. This shows us that she is independent and well organised.
A stranger arrives one day in a plastic suit and Ann watches him explore the valley from the cave that she is observing him from. Ann has mixed feelings: â€œI am both exited and afraid.â€ She longs for companionship but sheâ€™s also a very cautious individual: â€œI want to see who it is before I show myself.â€ She carefully watches his every move: â€œSuppose he was crazyâ€¦ A murderer? What would I do?â€