The People of Sparks
The People of Sparks picks up where The City of Ember leaves off. Lina and Doon have emerged from the underground city to the exciting new world above, and it isn't long before they are followed by the other inhabitants of Ember. The Emberites soon come across a town where they are welcomed, fed, and given places to sleep. But the town's resources are limited and it isn't long before resentment begins to grow between the two groups. When anonymous acts of vandalism push them toward violence, it's up to Lina and Doon to discover who's behind the vandalism and why, before it's too late. From the Hardcover edition.
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The author has chosen to include this quote of Martin Luther King at the beginning of the book. As you read this quote, think about how it suggests a conflict that is about to take place and how the conflict might be solved.
The author is using third person narration. However, the author also uses phrases like "he thought," and "he realized," which give you insight into a particular character's perspective. Throughout this book, the author will continue to use third person point of view while shifting between characters to give you access to particular characters' thoughts and feelings.
Think about how this statement relates to the Martin Luther King quote from the beginning of the book. Does Torren seem to believe that hate can drive out hate?
What does the word bedraggled mean in this sentence?
As you read these sentences, think about why the author included the number of people in each group. What series of events might the author be foreshadowing? (This annotation contains a video)
The People of Sparks is a sequel to the book, The City of Ember. In this chapter, the author uses flashback to let you know some of the major events that led up to where The People of Sparks begins. (This annotation contains a video)
Whose point of view is represented in this paragraph?
In addition to flashback, the author uses dialogue to reveal information about what happened in the past. Think about what Mrs. Murdo's dialogue with Lina reveals about the fate of the city of Ember.
Provide at least three words or phrases in these paragraphs that suggest that the word listless means "lacking in enthusiasm or energy."
As you read the descriptions of the "huge, amazing, terrifying, animals," you should be able to visualize a horse and a goat. Because Lina and the Emberites have never seen these animals before, they do not have the words to name them. As you read on, pay attention to the way that the Emberites describe everyday objects that they have never seen before.
In this sentence, the author is setting the scene for a conflict as the Emberites and the people of Sparks divide themselves into groups - "us" versus "them."
This is the first time that the setting of the story is described as post-Disaster. The end of the world as we know it is called the Apocolypse, and books and movies that take place after that time are referred to as post-Apocolyptic. Watch this video about the post-Apocolyptic genre. Pay attention to the three questions that readers should ask themselves as they read books in this genre. (This annotation contains a video)
What common object is the author referring to in this sentence?
What mood is suggested in this paragraph?
The purpose of this paragraph is to describe the
Living her whole life underground, Lina doesn't have a lot of experience with open flame and she is afraid. As you read on, pay attention to how fire is used throughout the story.
As you read this chapter, consider how the author shows the perspectives of the three town leaders through dialogue.
Which quote from the text best expresses the conflict?
Summarize the major elements of the proposed solution.
As you read these paragraphs, you should have been able to visualize what the trucks look like and how they run. Also, think what the misspelling of the word gasoline suggests about both the Emberites and the people of Sparks.
Which story element is developed in these paragraphs?
From the way that this new character is introduced, you can tell that he is
In this paragraph, a new character is being introduced. Pay attention to the details the author gives about this character, and think about what role he might play in moving the plot forward.
Explain how the setting of Sparks has changed Doon's outlook.
In this chapter, the author describes some of the ways that Ember and Sparks are different. How does Lina react to being in an unfamiliar environment?
This passage is an example of
The word flummoxed most closely means
Some information about Torren's past is revealed through Dr. Hester's dialogue. Think about how this new information might explain some of Torren's behavior.
The Disaster has been mentioned several times in the book, but nobody has described it yet. Think back to the video you watched about the Post-Apocolyptic genre. As you read Torren's description, consider the question, "What could have been done to prevent the disaster?"
After reading Torren's explanation of the Four Wars, describe what could have been done to prevent the destruction.
In this dialogue, Ordney, Martha, and Doon are discussing whether or not the Emberites are a "different kind of people," or if they just look different. Although this book is set in a fictional time and place, this is a question that confronts modern day society as well. Are people who like different really a different kind of people?
Which other characters could also be described by this sentence?
As you read on, what impressions do you have of Tick? What words or phrases from the text help you to draw those conclusions?
What quote from the text supports the idea that Doon admires Tick?
Here is a picture of what the cooking stove might look like. (This annotation contains an image)
What can you infer from Torren's response?
In this sentence, the author uses the word "sun" instead of saying the "brilliant yellow ball in the sky." Think about what this substitution suggests about Lina's understanding of her surroundings.
Explain how the Emberites are responding to being in Sparks.
A common theme in literature is "coming of age" which marks the change from childhood to adulthood. As Lina and Doon get older and more mature, what kinds of adult decisions might they be faced with in Sparks?
In the Hebrew Bible, God told Noah to build a boat called an ark. On the ark, Noah and his family, along with a pair of every animal on Earth, would be safe from a disastrous flood. Think about how the word Ark also makes a good name for the storehouse in Sparks. (This annotation contains an image)
What does this simile suggest about Doon?
In this next episode, Ordney makes an announcement that will contribute to the conflict of the story. As you read on, pay attention to how the characters respond to the conflict, and how their responses move the plot along.
The purpose of this paragaph is to explain which of the following story elements?
Pay attention to the feelings that Lina has when drawing the city, and think about how she might respond to those feelings.
The author is introducing sunglasses to symbolize evil secret plans. As you keep reading, pay attention to which characters wear sunglasses and when.
Which word or phrase might complete the shopkeeper's sentence?
The text evidence in this paragraph most strongly supports the idea that
Doon agrees to clear the field and make a plaza because he doesn't want to be left out from the group. As you keep reading, think about the other things that characters do or don't do in order to be a part of the group.
Why is the Ark a good name for a library?
People fly flags to symbolize that they are a part of a group. What possible outcomes are foreshadowed by each group choosing to fly their own flags?
What might Caspar's glasses symbolize about him?
Torren's "ancient statue" is most likely a plastic lawn flamingo. (This annotation contains an image)
What can you infer about Caspar based on Dr. Hester's comment?
The author does not reveal a lot about Maddy's character except that she says almost nothing to anyone. As you continue reading, pay attention to how information is revealed about Maddy and when.
What does the city represent for Lina?
This sentence shows that
As you read this sentence, think about what possible events are being foreshadowed.
Lina isn't interested in reading Charlotte's Web because she mistakenly believes it is a book about spiders. Charlotte's Web is a book about friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice - themes that would help the Emberites and the people of Sparks.
Part 1 Quiz
In Part Two, the author uses the structure of parallel plots to tell Lina and Doon's stories. (This annotation contains a video)
Whose point of view is represented in this episode?
What motivates Torren's anger?
Once again, the author is setting up a conflict of "us" versus "them." As you keep reading, think about how this conflict emerges as a theme in the book.
This chapter marks the beginning of Lina's story in the parallel plot structure. As you continue reading, pay attention to how each plot line develops, and how they will merge back together.
What conflict is emerging in this plot line?
In this paragraph, the author is revealing more details about Maddy's character through her interaction with Lina. What role might Maddy play in advancing the plot?
In these paragraphs, the author describes for the second time Lina's reaction to fire. In literature, things are often repeated three times. Make a prediction about what Lina's third encounter with fire might be like.
All of the following are reasons why Lina regrets coming on the journey EXCEPT
Summarize what is revealed about Maddy's character through her dialogue with Lina.
"Traces" are the two side straps, chains, or ropes by which a horse is attached to a vehicle that it is pulling. To "haul on the traces" means to pull those traps, which would steer the animal.
Cite a quote from this section that advances the theme, "Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
As you read this chapter, pay attention to the effect that Torren's accusation has on both the Emberites and the people of Sparks.
Based on what Kenny mouthed to Doon, make a prediction about what role Kenny might play in leading the story towards resolution.
Summarize the effect that Torren's accusation had on the Emberites and the people of Sparks.
Think about how all the information contained in the books might be useful to the people of Sparks and the Emberites.
What does this simile suggest about Doon's reaction to the messages on the wall?
As you continue reading, pay attention to how the search for hidden treasure emerges as a theme in the book.
Identify at least three words from this paragraph that contribute to the overall mood.
What does this simile suggest about Doon's situation?
In these sentences, the slimy, stinky green sludge might symbolize anger and hatred, and how easy it is to spread from person to person.
Think about the Martin Luther King quote from the beginning of the book:Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.Would Tick agree with this idea? Why or why not?
How do the author's style and word choices support the idea that Caspar is "out of his mind"?
Think back to the video you viewed on the Post-Apocolytpic genre. With all books in this genre, the reader should ask, "What will it take to regroup and reconstitute society?" Think about Maddy's answer to this question and see how it applies as the plot moves towards resolution.
Which evidence from the text suggests that Tick might not be as heroic as Doon initially thought?
Describe the episode following the poisoning of the Emberites that moves the story closer to climax.
This description of Tick influences the mood of the story by making Tick seem untrustworthy and dangerous. Consider how the image relates to the Martin Luther King quote from the beginning of the story. Does Tick represent light or darkness?
What influences Maddy's decision to leave?
Maddy's decision to escape with Lina indicates the climax of the parallel plot. How will Maddy and Lina's problems be resolved now?
Based on the clues in the sentence, which phrase most closely describes the meaning of derelict?
In each of the two previous town meetings, the leaders have made important decisions and rules that effect both the Emberites and the people of Sparks. What decisions might they be making in this meeting and what is their reasoning?
Summarize the decision that Ben and Wilmer made.
The chapter title, "Getting Ready for War," signals that the plot is approaching a climax. As you continue reading, think about how the characters might be repeating the mistakes of the past.
Using text evidence, explain how Doon's perception of Tick has changed.
Part Two Quiz
Parts One and Two have had a series of episodes that have raised the tension in the story. Part Three is called "The Decision." Think about what decisions need to be made, and how one of those decisions might indicate the climax, or turning-point, in the story. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Torren not understand about the reality of war?
Now that Lina has returned to Sparks, the two parallel plot lines have merged back into one. Think about how Lina's experiences on her journey might impact the plot line in Sparks.
Hubbub refers to
A magnet makes things stick together, and a magnifying glass makes things look bigger. What significance might these gifts have as Doon and Lina struggle to find a solution to the problem?
Pay attention to how the apple is used throughout this scene. Could Lina eating the apple symbolize her desire to get to the core of the problem?
According to the text, what are three possible solutions to the problem in Sparks and why do they seem unlikely?
Lina does not like the two solutions that have been proposed. As you read on, pay attention to how a solution emerges.
The author is describing how a cloud came and covered the sun. Think about what the cloud might symbolize and why the town was covered in darkness as they are approaching a war.
The word motley in this sentence means
What does Doon's decision to save Torren revel about his character?
In this sentence, the author is using a literary technique called personification to describe the flames. (This annotation contains a video)
What decision was made in this chapter that signifies a climax, or turning-point in the plot?
Why did Doon know how to make the fountain overflow?
Summarize what Doon found out about Tick.
In each of the three previous town meetings, Mary, Wilmer and Ben have met privately to discuss matters and make decisions. Pay attention to which characters are now included in the town meeting, and where it is held. How does this support the theme?
According to Mary Waters, what caused the people of Sparks to close their hearts?
The title of the book is The People of Sparks. Think about what new meaning this title has now taken on and how it relates to the theme.
What mood is suggested in this passage?
Here is a picture of what Doon's electromagnet might look like. (This annotation contains an image)
Part Three Quiz