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The City of Ember

The City of Ember


by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember Theme of Man and the Natural World

Given that The City of Ember is a planned post apocalyptic community under the earth's surface, it makes sense that we only get a few glimpses of the natural world. There are, of course, bugs and dust (we can't really imagine any scenario on earth without bugs or dust). And the citizens grow their own food under lamps. But there aren't animals, trees, mountains, or oceans. None of that. It seems safe to say that the citizens of Ember are pretty out of touch with the natural world—that is, until Lina and Doon figure out how to escape to the mysterious world above.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. What are the most common foods that people in Ember eat? Where do they come from?
  2. Which relics of the natural world have persisted in people's speech and actions?
  3. How do Lina and Doon react upon emerging onto the earth's surface?
  4. Does it look like the world above was destroyed in an apocalyptic event? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The people of Ember live poor, sad lives without nature. They won't be happy until they move back up to the earth's surface.

You can take people out of nature, but you can't take the nature out of people.

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