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The People of Sparks: Summary & Characters

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  • 0:02 Introduction to The…
  • 0:21 Recap of The City of Ember
  • 1:21 The People of Sparks…
  • 2:28 The People of Sparks…
  • 4:54 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

This lesson focuses on the 2004 novel 'The People of Sparks.' We'll look at the events of the novel and the characters that populate it, as well as a recap of the previous novel to get you up to speed. Then you'll be able to test your knowledge with a quiz!

Introduction to The People of Sparks

The People of Sparks is a 2004 novel by Jeanne DuPrau that is the sequel to her first children's novel, The City of Ember, which was an American Library Association (ALA) Notable Book. The next two books in the series are The Prophet of Yonwood and The Diamond of Darkhold.

Recap of The City of Ember

To understand Jeanne DuPrau's novel The People of Sparks, we must first visit The City of Ember, the first novel in the series. In this book, the main characters Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow are assigned the jobs they will have for the rest of their lives. Lina has always wanted to be a messenger, but she draws the job for Pipeworks. Fortunately, Doon offers to trade and they do.

In their jobs, Lina and Doon learn how awful things are getting in their city. The generator that runs everything is slowly dying, and no one really knows how to fix it. Food is getting scarce. Since their city is surrounded by nothing but darkness, everyone is scared that the lights will go out for good. Lina finds a box hidden in her house with a half-chewed note stuck inside. When she and Doon decipher the message inside the box, they make a startling discovery. Ember is really far underground, and there is a whole world outside. Lina and Doon make it out of Ember, but throw down a note with directions to the outside world. Here is where the first book ends.

The People of Sparks Characters

  • Lina Mayfleet, from Ember, is the main character of the story The People of Sparks. Lina (with Doon's help) finds the way out of Ember and into Sparks. Lina often dreams of a big, beautiful city. She is willing to risk a lot to chase her dream. Since their parents' death, Lina has been in charge of her much younger sister, Poppy.
  • Poppy Mayfleet, Lina's little sister, is chronically ill and much too young to understand the issues taking place in her city.
  • Doon Harrow is Lina's best friend from Ember, a smart, resourceful teen willing to do anything to save his people.
  • Torren Crane, from Sparks, is a boy about the age of Lina and Doon. He is ill-tempered and resents the people of Ember for the drain they put on the town's resources.
  • Ben, Mary, and Wilmer are the leaders of the Village of Sparks.
  • Casper Crane, Torren's older brother, is a wanderer who searches ruined cities to find things that are still useful and bring them back to the Village of Sparks.
  • Maddy is Casper's partner on his wanders.
  • Tick Hassler is a boy from Ember who emerges as a leader when the refugees from Ember make it into Sparks. He has a lot of plans, but they are rarely practical.

The People of Sparks Plot Summary

The second novel picks up shortly after the first ends. Ember has been evacuated, and the 417 people who lived there have arrived at the village of Sparks. The refugees from Ember are hungry and tired. The leaders of Sparks agree to let the people of Ember stay for six months.

Most of the refugees from Ember live in the Pioneer Hotel, which has been abandoned for years. Questions about the amount of food available and the drain the refugees from Ember are putting on Sparks' resources cause friction between the two groups of people. Lina and Poppy live at the doctor's house. Here, Lina meets Torren Crane.

Both sides are unhappy. The people from Ember feel that they are given more work and less food than the people from Sparks. There are random acts of vandalism against the people from Ember. Then, the people from Ember learn that they will be kicked out of the village when their six months are up—right in the middle of the winter. Torren Crane ruins the tomato crop but doesn't admit it, and each side blames the other for the loss of the tomatoes.

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