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The City of Ember
by Jeanne DuPrau
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1.Why do you think the author named this city "Ember"?
 
2.What would you miss most about our world if you had to live in a place like Ember?
 
3.What do you think happened that caused the city of Ember to come into existence in the first place?
 
4.Is having the Assignment Day, where people draw their jobs from a bag, a good idea? Why or why not?
 
5.Would you like to be given a life assignment? Why or why not? How are these assignments similar or different from jobs in our world?
 
6.Why do you think children in the city of Ember only went to school until they were 12 years old?
 
7.Would you be willing to go live in a city like Ember? Why or why not? What if you were 60 years old?
 
8.Why do you think all the original adults in Ember were over 60 years old?
 
9.Describe Lina and Doon. What are they like? How are they different from each other?
 
10.What are some of the "Mysterious Words from the Past," and why don't the people of Ember know what they mean?
 
11.Why do you think colorful things are so rare in Ember? Why are the colored pencils so expensive?
 
12.What kinds of things did Looper give to Lina's friend Lizzie, that made Lina suspicious? What would you have done if you were Lina and found out Looper could get things?
 
13.Can you think of some things that are missing in the city of Ember that you couldn't imagine living without in our world?
 
14.What is happening to the potatoes grown in the greenhouses in Ember? Does this plant disease sound like something from our own history? (What do you know about the Irish Potato Famine?)
 
15.Why do you think they had beehives in the city of Ember?
 
16.Why does Doon want to see the generator? What does it do? Why do you think no one in Ember can fix the generator? What will happen to the city if the generator breaks down?
 
17.Why do you think no one, except Doon, is interested in The Instructions found in the box?
 
18.Lina and Doon find the door in the river wall. What is stocked in the room so that the people can leave the city of Ember? What else would have been helpful to have stored there?
 
19.Where was the sobbing coming from at the greenhouses? Where did Sadge Merrall try to go? Why? Why is it impossible for the people of Ember to explore the Unknown Regions?
 
20.Why do you think Lina draws pictures of a city that is not quite the same as Ember, even though the Book of the City of Ember clearly states that there are no other cities besides Ember?
 
21.Where does the light come from in the city of Ember? Why is the shortage of lightbulbs and other items a problem?
 
22.Why do you think the people of Ember sing the same three songs every year at the Singing?
 
23.Did you think Lina and Doon were heroes? Why or why not?
 
24.If you were in a situation like the people in the city of Ember were in, would you have accepted the food from Lizzie and Looper? Why or why not?
 
25.Earth today has many environmental issues. What sort of problems could have led to the building of the city of Ember?
 
26.Doon and Lina like very different things. Doon wants to work in the Pipeworks and Lina as a messenger. But their friendship grows. Why do you think they work so well together?
 
27.In the diary left by one of the people who first came to the city of Ember, a motorboat pilot said, "People find a way through just about anything." How do you know if this is true or not?
 
28.Did you like the map of the city of Ember? Why or why not?
 
29.What do you think happened in the world above the city of Ember that made the Builders decide to build the city underground?
 
30.The book said that "The people of Ember rarely threw anything away. They made the best possible use of what they had." How is that different than how we live in our world?
 
31.Clary told Lina that "There is so much darkness in Ember. & It's not just outside, it's inside us, too." Which characters seemed to have the most darkness in them? And do you think there would always be people like this in any civilization?
 
32.The Ember Library only had "packets of pages" written by the people who lived in the city of Ember. It had no books from the time before the city began. Why do you think the Builders told the first people to go to the city of Ember not to bring books or photographs and not to say anything about the world they came from?
 
33.The Believers sang songs and told each other that "help" would be coming, but they didn't do anything to change their situation. Do you think these people would believe the note that is dropped down from their sky at the end of the book?
 
34.Did you figure out any of the Instructions before Lina and Doon did? If so, what part did you figure out? (See pages 94-95.)
 
35.Was it a good thing that Lina brought her little sister Poppy with her to the Pipeworks when it was suddenly time to go? Why or why not?
 
36.If you were one of the Builders of the city of Ember, what else would you have thought to do? What additional instructions would you have left?
 
37.Describe the new world that Lina, Doon, and Poppy found. What does it look like? Smell like? Feel like? What kinds of things do they see? Does it sound familiar to you?
 
38.What if everything you ever thought you knew changed suddenly? How do you think Lina and Doon felt when they discovered the candles and matches, when they found the way to another world, when they learned that the city of Ember was not the only light in a world of darkness, and when they saw a sunrise for the first time?
 
39.What did Lina and Doon discover through the chasm in the hilltop? From there, they sent a message to the people left in Ember. If you had been Lina or Doon, what would you have written in your message?
 
40.Were you surprised by the ending? Why or why not?
 
41.What do you think will happen in the sequel, The People of Sparks? Or, if you have already read the sequel (dont give anything away!), what did you think was going to happen after you just read the first book?
 
42.Did you think building the city of Ember was a good plan or a poor plan? Why?
 
43.What was your favorite scene or part of the book?
 
Author Website:
http://www.jeanneduprau.com
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