Life as We Knew It

The Ash Cloud Symbol Analysis

The Ash Cloud Symbol Icon

When the ash from erupting volcanoes first appears in the air, turning the sky a murky gray, Miranda is relieved because it obscures the moon and wistfully writes in her journal, “I’m glad I don’t have to see it anymore. I can pretend it’s not there and if it isn’t, maybe things will get back to normal.” But instead of things getting better, the ash cloud makes things worse, as temperatures plummet and crops die off from lack of sunlight. The ash cloud represents dreariness and a loss of hope. It is a physical manifestation of the bleak chances of the characters’ survival.

The Ash Cloud Quotes in Life as We Knew It

The Life as We Knew It quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Ash Cloud. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Survival and Death Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harcourt edition of Life as We Knew It published in 2006.
Chapter 7 Quotes

Maybe we’ll be lucky. Maybe something good will happen that we can’t imagine just now. But we have to prepare for the worst. You and I and Matt and Jonny have to prepare for the worst. We have to assume frosts in August. We have to assume no power and no food coming and no gas for the car and no oil for the furnace. Up till now we’ve been playacting survival, but from now on we have to take it seriously.

Related Characters: Laura Evans (speaker), Miranda Evans, Matt Evans, Jonny Evans
Related Symbols: The Ash Cloud
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Ash Cloud Symbol Timeline in Life as We Knew It

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Ash Cloud appears in Life as We Knew It. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Survival and Death Theme Icon
Currency, Commodities, and Value Theme Icon
Perspective Theme Icon
...world for the past few days. This has caused the sky’s strange gray color—it’s an ash cloud blocking out the sun, which means crops will die and major climate shift could occur. (full context)
Chapter 8
Survival and Death Theme Icon
Currency, Commodities, and Value Theme Icon
Perspective Theme Icon
...conserve his energy and strength, and because he’s worried about the air quality of the ash cloud sky. (full context)
Chapter 14
Survival and Death Theme Icon
Currency, Commodities, and Value Theme Icon
...unreliable, they have no idea what is happening in the larger world, but since the ash cloud is worsening, they think volcanoes must still be erupting. Matt and Jonny continue to chop... (full context)