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

The City of Ember


by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember Chapter 7 Summary

A Message Full of Holes

  • Lina extracts as much paper from Poppy's mouth as possible, gathers up the rest of the scraps, and carries them all to her room. The printing is so weird. People can't write in such perfect neat letters anymore, so it could be really, really old.
  • After Lina puts Granny and Poppy to bed, she arranges the scraps of paper to form a whole. There are enough pieces missing, though, that the message is unreadable except for fragments of words and phrases.
  • She can make out enough of the title to tell that the paper must be instructions for something. But what? Something to help the citizens of Ember, perhaps?
  • Lina glues down the scraps so they don't blow away, and spends the rest of the night thinking.
  • She decides that she needs help deciphering the message, so she asks Captain Fleery (the head messenger) to come to her place after work the next day.
  • Captain Fleery agrees that it's probably very old, but it's most likely a recipe or assignment—nothing very important. She goes on to tell Lina all about the Believers, a group of citizens who believe that the Builders will return and solve all their problems.
  • Lina tries to be polite, but she doesn't see how waiting around will help anything.
  • She decides to go see her friend Lizzie after she gets off work at the Supply Depot. While waiting, she overhears conversations about all the shortages: food, needles, and so on. Lina remembers that it didn't used to be that way; there always used to be enough of everything.
  • Lizzie agrees to hang out with Lina, but mostly she complains about work. She mentions a secret, too, but doesn't tell Lina what it is.
  • Lina tries to show Lizzie the scraps of paper, but Lizzie has no interest in it, so Lina gives up, and they just hang out and talk until Lizzie goes home.
  • Lina has a new idea: she writes a letter to the mayor explaining that she found what seems like an important document. But after waiting a few days, there's still no reply.
  • She spends a little more time trying to decipher the message, and finds a word that's clearly a fragment of "Pipeworks." That confirms that it's about something important, at least. There's also something about a riverbank and a door… maybe a way out of Ember?
  • Lina decides to ask Doon for help with the message, since now he's working in the Pipeworks and might know something useful.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...