Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Fear

By Carrie Ryan

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Lions and tigers and… zombies ? Oh my! Talk about scary. Who wants to live in a place surrounded by flesh-gobbling monsters? Not Shmoop, thankyouverymuch. It's no wonder fear plays a big role in this zombie-tastic tale, but believe it or not, there's more to fear than a couple hundred moanin' groanin' zombies. Many of the characters' fears have nothing to do with the walking dead. Mary's impulsive choices cause her to fear rejection by those she loves; Cass fears failure, especially when it affects Jacob, who she protects as she would her own child; even Sister Tabitha fears rebellion and the toppling of her authority. Sure, there's plenty of physical fear when dead people want to eat your flesh, but sometimes the most destructive kinds of fear chew us up from the inside out.

Questions About Fear

  1. Which characters seem to have the most inner fear going on?
  2. How does Sister Tabitha fight her own fear of rebellion with fear itself?
  3. Which fear is worse—fear of zombies or fear of rejection?
  4. How does Mary deal with her fears? What about Cass?

Chew on This

Mary deals with her fears by ignoring them and acting out.

Mary deals with her fears by facing them and acting with determination.

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