Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury Discussion Questions

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Would you like to educate your students about Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury? These helpful discussion questions will aid them as they take a deeper look at the intriguing classic.

Why Zero Hour?

It has been said that children are impressionable and innocent, but adults can become jaded and cynical about life. This thrilling cautionary tale by science fiction legend, Ray Bradbury depicts what can occur when adults get too caught up in their mundane everyday existence, and fail to notice obvious clues that are right in front of their noses. The result will teach your students what can happen when people become overly complacent.

Questions about the Plot

  • The first two lines of the story were 'Oh, it would to be so jolly. What a Game!' How did these phrases set up the entire story?
  • Can you analyze what the author meant by 'overhead the rockets flew and beetle cars whispered by on the streets?' Did the author's vision of the future really happen? Why or why not?
  • How did the switching back and forth between the narrator and the characters' dialogue add intrigue to the telling of the story?
  • Can you evaluate why the author said that Mink 'was off like a rocket?'
  • When Mink told her mom about Drill and the Invasion game, how did the mom react?
  • How did the younger children treat the older children when the latter asked to play?
  • Can you imagine why humans were 'quite certain there would never be trouble again?'
  • Who was in charge of all the world's dangerous nuclear weapons, and how did that ultimately play a part in the fate of the human race?
  • Can you compare and contrast the innocence of young children with the concepts of triangles, hexagonals, and mathematics which they were trying to learn?
  • How ominous was it when Mink said it was 'a matter of life and death', and how did her mom react?
  • What was the importance of the mom declaring she was young once herself? Can you juxtapose the way she reminisced about her childhood with the life she created for Mink?
  • How did Mink sympathize with the difficult plight of Drill? Can you create in your mind's eye how the aliens utilized propaganda to trick the younger children?
  • When her friend Helen called, what did Mrs. Morris talk about with her?
  • Did Mrs. Morris, who remembered what it was like to be a kid, sense the danger more than the other adults? Why?
  • How would you describe the mood of Mr. Morris when he arrived home?
  • How would you depict the conversation between the couple just before the invasion?
  • Why did Mrs. Morris run up to the attic to hide?
  • Why did she toss away the key, and how did Mr. Morris react as the story began to culminate?
  • What one word did Mink say to her parents when she came up to the attic, and who was behind her in the hallway? What is the dichotomy between that word and the reality of the situation?

Vocabulary (in the order they appeared in the text)

  • Tremulous
  • Wistfulness
  • Televisors
  • Earnestly
  • Impregnable
  • Melodramatically
  • Audiovisors
  • Consternation

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