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Earth Abides Setting & Symbolism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Earth Abides.
This section contains 621 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)

Princess is a dog, likely a type of beagle, who takes up with Ish as he's preparing to make his way east in search of additional survivors. The dog is named for her tendency to do what she wants and to expect her people to treat her as subjects would treat a princess.

The hammer is called a single jack and was used by miners in the Black Creek Area. Ish finds it just before he is bitten by the rattlesnake and he holds on to the hammer in the coming days as he faces the reality of having lost everyone he knew to the virus. When Ish and Em decide that they should begin making a record of the passing years, Ish uses the hammer to chisel the words into a stone. As the years pass and the tribe grows, the hammer gains a significance that was never intended. The children consider it a symbol of power and refuse to touch it. When Ish's home is on fire, his great-grandson risks his life to return into the burning house for the hammer. As Ish lays dying, it's noteworthy that the young men around him want to know who should receive the hammer.

San Lupo Drive is the neighborhood where Ish lived with his family before the virus and where he returns once he's traveled across the country.

Black Creek is where Ish is working on his thesis when bitten by a rattlesnake. He is there when the virus strikes and suffers through the snakebite and likely a lesser version of the virus alone in a cabin in the mountains.

Arkansas is where Ish finds a family of three Negroes who are living on the land. He notes later that these people seem to have more creativity than his own community who are happy to scavenge on what civilization left behind.

The Bay Bridge is where Ish finds an abandoned car that he remembers until his dying day. Ish wonders about that driver and whether the owner had simply jumped from the bridge after the disaster of the virus attack. Ish considers the bridges a sign of civilization and notes that those signs hang on past the time much of civilization fades away. Ish dies just off that bridge, having been carried across it one last time by his great-grandson, Jack.

Los Angeles is the town south of San Francisco where Charlie connects with two of the boys from Ish's tribe.

The Others are group of people from outside Ish's tribe who ask to merge. Though the adults are hesitant, they admit that there are young men who need wives and that continual intermarriage is not good. For the first few generations at least, the difference between the original group and "The Others" continues to be noted, much as a social distinction.

Riverside Drive is the New York Street where Ish meets Milt Abrams and Ann, and where he spends a few days before continuing his travels.

Ish himself believes in the power of books and education and holds up the library as a sort of a mystical place to the children of his tribe. It's not until the end of his lifetime that he admits that the usefulness of the library was confined to the age of civilization as it existed before the virus.

The Great Disaster is the name Ish gives to the attack of the virus.

The Second Kill is the secondary reaction to the virus deaths. These are the people who are unable to go on in the face of what they've seen and either commit suicide or fall into a state of madness. They are also those who fall victim to the dangerous animals and people.

This section contains 621 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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