What strategy do most of the people in Ember use to cope with the shortages and blackouts in Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember, two of the most frequent strategies people use to cope with shortages and blackouts are worrying and passively hoping for better.

In chapter 6, the morning after the big blackout, Lina notes that people were so worried and terrified that they were silent about the blackout, whereas, normally, they chatter endlessly, asking each other where he/she was during a blackout and wondering, "What's the matter with the electricians?" (Ch. 6). Lina only delivers one message that day around the city, a message stating that the blackout had lasted "seven minutes," the longest blackout they had ever had. Later, when there is a series of five blackouts in a row, the number of messages Lina must deliver doubles because people do not want to go next door or walk across the street to say something to their neighbors; they solicit a messenger instead in order to stay safe in their own homes. Lina notes that most messages say things like, "I'm not coming to the meeting tonight, decided to stay home" (Ch. 12).

Just as most people passively worry about the situation and stay home doing nothing, a small group of Ember's citizens, who call themselves the Believers, have developed their own salvation belief system in which they hope to be rescued by the Builders. As the blackouts grow worse, the number of Believers increases.