Study Guide

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story Chapter 5

By Diane Ackerman

Chapter 5

  • Jan joins the army, while Antonina and Ryś move into a small apartment in the city.
  • Antonina depends on the kindness of strangers—i.e., the old ladies downstairs—to help her with food and other necessities.
  • Occasionally, Antonia leaves the apartment and wanders the city, looking at wreckage. She worries that "the teenage boys left in charge" won't look after the animals.
  • We worry that since all civilians are supposed to evacuate, that these teenage boys are either a) imaginary or b) vulnerable to be bombed to death.
  • But Antonina doesn't worry about such small details. She only thinks of the animals, and she herself feels like "a hunted animal" (5.14).