About The City of Ember: A Setting Analysis

Quick Summary

The City of Ember is a book that is about a city underground that has been there for nearly 200 years and for the many decades in the past a huge generator has sustained the needs of the residents of the City of Ember. In the book, two characters named Lina and Doon went on an adventure to try to fix the generator that is starting to have multiple fails causing many power outages. The two settings in the book are inside and outside the City of Ember when they escape.

Inside The City of Ember

The City of Ember is not an inviting place in any sort of way. In the city, it is a very dark place and only lit by an abundance of flood lamps which hang from the ceiling and are powered by the big generator. The colors of the city are very grim, consisting of mainly dark browns and very dim and dirty yellows. The air is dusty and unclean, especially inside the mines and the pipeworks areas.


The leader of the town who goes by the name of Mayor Cole seems to be a nice guy and caring to the people that live in his city, but it is later revealed that he is not as good as everyone else thought he was. The Mayor was in fact hoarding food in a secret room locked and hidden in the pipeworks area while the rest of the city was parishing low on food.


To be in the City of Ember was not terrible for the residents as they have lived there their whole lives and don’t know the difference between inside the city and outside in the open. Although the citizens of the city have no problem with where they live, it is a very grim place compared to what the outside of the city is like. In the city the citizens do not have a choice of jobs, they cannot choose or apply for jobs but instead, they have to choose randomly from a hat full of small cards with a job on them.


At age 12, citizens are expected to enter into something called Assignment Day and this is when the citizens are assigned their job. This day is a very important part of everyone’s life inside of Ember and symbolizes becoming a man for the kids in the city. When the citizens are assigned a job they start their new job almost instantly, the next day they are trained by a random worker. The people will work at their new job for the rest of their life, as will everyone else in all the job areas. These are all good reasons why the Ember is not a very inviting place to live.

The Unknown Region

After spending the whole young part of their lives in the City of Ember Lina and Doon decided to escape. A box that has been passed down from mayor to mayor has somehow ended up in Lina’s grandma’s closet. The timer that had been set for 200 years was about to go off. And when it finally did, Lina’s little sister Poppy had torn up some of the important papers in the box.


After careful investigation and following the steps on the paper that Poppy had found inside the box Lina and Doon finally reached the unknown regions. Even though this part of the book was very brief and left it open for them to make another book their first thoughts among making it out of the City of Ember were, “Wow we really made it”.


After the sun rose and the sun was hovering over the sky Lina and Doon were in utter amazement in how open, fresh, and beautiful it all was. As they felt the warmth of the sun for the first time in their lives, they looked around in amazement of the bright colors and life. Obviously getting out of Ember was a great feeling for the two, they were relieved now that they knew what was in the unknown regions and that it is greater than anyone has thought. They realized they were missing something, their family and friends.


Both Lina and Doon badly wanted to share this with everyone still in the city so they did what they could to alert the rest of the people still in the City. Lina writes a letter, ties it to a rock, and sends it down a crack in the ground to the City in hope that someone will see it and show the rest the way out.

Our Society Compared to Ember

In our current day society, we have a large amount of freedom and luxuries. We have easy access to food and clean water in most parts of the world. We can apply for jobs that interest us and can choose at what point of our life we want to get those jobs. Depending on where someone live there are mountains, flat plains, rain, sun, snow, sand, forest, and many many more types of landscape and surroundings. These things that we have are not compared to what the people in the City of Ember have.


There are many differences between our society and Ember. We have our luxuries and our wants. Although our luxuries and our wants are not the same as the people in the City of Ember, luxuries that we have meant as much to us as their luxuries mean to them. This also goes for the things that they want vs. the things that we want in our common day society. Compared to the City of Ember we have exponentially times more landscape and explorable area. For a person that has lived without seeing the sun and seeing outside of an underground city, you can only imagine what it would be like for them to come to the surface and see all the land and open area that we have. For all of these reasons is why our current day society is better in most ways compared to the City of Ember.

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