© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The City of Ember

The City of Ember


by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember Chapter 2 Summary

A Message to the Mayor

  • Lina runs home, taking a different route as usual. Passing a particular street, she notices that a bunch of lights are out and haven't been replaced. Hmm. That's odd.
  • There have been rumors of shortages, but they've never been completely out of light bulbs before. Without light bulbs, nobody would be able to see. Could Doon be right that something's seriously wrong with the city?
  • Lina shakes off those dark thoughts and keeps running, thinking about how lucky she is to have her job. She used to be friends with Doon, until an awkward moment when she'd laughed at him when he was embarrassed. But she's so grateful to him now, maybe they'll become friends again.
  • When Lina gets home—her grandmother's yarn shop—she tells Granny the good news. Lina's little sister Poppy is around two years old, so not quite old enough to understand all this.
  • Turns out that two years ago, Lina's father had died from a coughing sickness going around the city, and Lina's mother had died a few months later giving birth to Poppy.
  • Now, Lina takes Poppy up to their apartment, which is above the shop. It's absolutely crammed with old stuff, because the people of Ember don't throw away anything that they can still use. They're not hoarders, they swear.
  • Among the many things decorating the walls are pictures that Lina drew, of a shining city where the lights are always on. She's only seen the place in her imagination, but she's convinced that it's a real place. (It's called Vegas.)
  • The next day, Lina goes to the messengers' headquarters. There, Captain Fleery instructs her in how to be a good messenger. Basically, Lina has to repeat back a message anyone gives her to make sure she's getting it right; she has to wear red so people can identify her; and she can only deliver the message to the person it's intended for.
  • Lina spends the morning delivering messages for people about mundane things (dinner plans, etc.). But hey, at least she learns a little more about the city and its inhabitants each time.
  • One guy who wants a message delivered is a little strange looking (big teeth and bushy hair). He wants her to tell the mayor that a delivery will be ready at eight from Looper.
  • Lina goes to the mayor's office, which is in Gathering Hall (at the town's center). An assistant guard admits her to a waiting room, but since she's bored, Lina goes up on the roof of the hall. It's fun waving at the people down below until she gets in trouble with the guards.
  • The mayor is also annoyed, until Lina delivers the message. Then he smiles and lets her go without any trouble.
  • As Lina leaves the Gathering Hall, Doon considers saying hi, but doesn't. He'd seen her on top of the roof during her shenanigans. But he's dirty from his day at work, so he decides to talk to her later.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...