Study Guide

Snow Crash Family

By Neal Stephenson


The world of Snow Crash is harsh and unforgiving. If you're lucky, your family has your back: they'll help raise and educate you, maybe send you to a university to study pizza-making, maybe even help you get a connection to the local Mafia outfit. Perhaps your family even gives you a sense of purpose, like Raven's commitment to avenge his father's treatment at the hands of the Americans.

Not every family's perfect, though; Y.T.'s communication with her mom is pretty broken, and Hiro's heritage leaves him feeling confused most of the time. Still, when you consider the fact that bad dude Rife has zero family? Maybe having a loving—or at least not totally dysfunctional—family background contributes to your development as a person.

Questions About Family

  1. Do you think Y.T.'s relationship with her mom can be fixed? Why or why not? 
  2. How does Juanita's family impact her thinking as an adult?
  3. Which family structures appear in the creation myths and religious stories discussed in the book? 
  4. How is the Mafia like a family?

Chew on This

Hackers support each other through their own family-liked structure.

Family: They're like strangers that you have to let into your home.