What are some conventions of the post apocalyptic genre in works such as Z for Zachariah and The Matrix?Post apocalyptic genre conventions for Z for Zachariah and The Matrix.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The idea of life as one knows it having come to an end and the struggle a select few to live it becomes one of the critical elements of this genre of fiction.  In both works, one sees how the issue of resistance is still evident even in the post apocalyptic world.  While life has been wiped out for all practical purposes, choice has not and Neo as well as Ann must make conscious choices or decisions to make sure that they use their choice to repel the forces of encroachment which seek to make them like all other aspects of humanity.  The post apocalyptic setting that is described in both works helps to bring out that human choice will never leave.  While this is both good and bad in both, it is distinctly human.  Individuals must make choices to define their existence even though existence, in general, has been threatened.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

So many of the post-apocalyptic books and movies focus on the failure of modern technology, or in the case of things like The Matrix, its ability to turn on its creators.  This is a very common trope in much of the post apocalypse literature as well as movies.

One of the other themes, not necessarily discussed at length in the article, is the dependence on human character and the choices that humans make for good or for evil.  The humans that are left after whichever catastrophe occurs are often broken into factions or are at least confronted with choices that force them to think deeply about morality and whether it exists in the bleak worlds created in post-apocalypse fiction or film.