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World War Z

World War Z

by Max Brooks

Education Theme

"We don't need no education; we don't need no thought control." Well, okay. But, we're thinking that Pink Floyd might have been less anxious to break the wall had there been a zombie on the other side. According to World War Z, an education is the most valuable resource you can have against the deadhead army. The Battle of Yonkers is an epic fail of a military campaign. Why? The higher ups didn't study their enemy, didn't educate themselves on zombie mentality, or lack thereof. The tide only turns for humanity when it learns from its mistakes, educates its populaces, and turns those lessons against the horde.

Questions About Education

  1. How does the world educate itself to combat the zombie threat? List specific instances. What do these instances suggest to you about the nature of knowledge and education?
  2. What reasons are given for why people choose not to gather knowledge on the zombies? Based on these reasons, what can you say about the nature of ignorance as portrayed in the novel?
  3. Pick two characters that seem pro-education in the novel. Why did you pick these two characters and what do they have in common?
  4. Why do you think the novel promotes education through this type of character?
  5. Pick two characters that seem anti-education in the novel. Why did you pick these two characters and what do they have in common?
  6. Why do you think this type of character was put in opposition to education?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The zombies don't just represent disasters as hurricanes, plagues, and war. They also represent the end result of a society that decides to no longer educate itself—because they literally can't think. Get it?

The novel suggests that the greatest teacher is total warfare.

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