Jack London. "The Apostate". Reading Questions.

  1. How would you describe Johnny's preparation to go to work in the morning? What is his mood like?
  2. What clues are there at the beginning of the story that tell you about the family's economic situation?
  3. How would you describe the morning meal? What does it tell you about the family's economic situation?
  4. In several places Johnny is compared to a machine. Find several examples throughout the story. How does he resemble a machine?
  5. The author doesn't tell us Johnny's age right away. Why do you think he doesn't?
  6. In what kind of factory does Johnny work and what does he do there?
  7. Where was Johnny born? What is the significance of him being born there?
  8. Compare Johnny to the other boys working there.
  9. One day an inspector comes to the factory. Why is he there? Why does he want to know their ages? Does he really care?
  10. Find some examples of how Johnny acts as the "father' in his family. How does the author describe him as acting much older than his age.
  11. Why does Johnny beat up his brother Will?
  12. Where else had Johnny worked and what was his experience there like? At what age did he start working?
  13. What "great moments" in his life did he recall? Were they really that great? Why do you think he recalls only such moments?
  14. Next we learn that Johnny has been promoted several times in the factory. Then the author tells as that "there was no joyness in life for him," even after being promoted. Why not, do you think?
  15. After Johnny recuperates from his "illness" he decides not to go back to work. How did he come to this decision?
  16. At the end of the story Johnny decides to leave his job, the town, and his family. Why do you think he did that, and where do you think he is going?