A Canticle for Leibowitz

by Walter M. Miller Jr.

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Questions and Answers: Part 1 (Fiat Homo), Chapter 1

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Study Questions
1. Why is Francis afraid as the pilgrim approaches?

2. Why is Francis in the desert?

3. Why is Francis tempted to eat the biscuit and cheese?

4. Why does the pilgrim find a rock for Francis?

5. What does Francis think Fallouts are?

1. Francis is afraid as the pilgrim approaches because he thinks the pilgrim may be a monster. Monsters are deformed humans produced by the nuclear war and protected by the law of the Church.

2. Francis is in the desert to perform his Lenten fast, as required by the abbey he belongs to. The fast requires him to be alone and eat a restricted diet.

3. Francis is tempted to eat the biscuit and cheese because he’s only eaten cactus fruit and parched corn since beginning his fast. The fast has left him weak and vulnerable to temptation.

4. The pilgrim finds a rock for Francis because Francis has told him he can rest at the abbey and it will give him food and water.

5. Francis thinks Fallouts are monsters who are half-salamander, because they were born in the Flame Deluge, and half-incubus, because they raped virgins who then gave birth to children of the Fallout. Francis does not know what “fallout” actually means.

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Questions and Answers: Part 1 (Fiat Homo), Chapters 2-3