Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Choices

By Carrie Ryan

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Jelly donut or Boston Crème? T-shirt or tank top? Life is full of plenty of choices that don't have death or a life of misery in the balance, but those aren't the kinds of choices we're talking about here. Try on these for size: Death by beheading or life as a zombie? A miserable marriage or life locked into the Sisterhood? Mary feels like she has no choices, yet really it's just that she has rotten options to pick from. But underlying all her choices are the big picture options—options that even we jelly-donut-eaters have to deal with: Justice or compassion? Selfishness or selflessness? Freedom or confinement? Courage or complacency? No matter what kinds of zombies we're fighting or dreams we're chasing, these are the choices that will define who we are, just like they do for Mary.

Questions About Choices

  1. If the zombie attack hadn't happened, would Mary have been happy with Harry in the long-term?
  2. Was Travis right in his choice to protect Mary rather than come for her?
  3. Who faced the worst options of anyone in the gang?
  4. Would Mary and Travis have worked out if he'd lived?

Chew on This

Mary's choices directly caused the deaths of Travis and Jed.

Travis and Jed's deaths were the result of their own choices, not Mary's.

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