Life as We Knew It

The Pantry Symbol Icon

In the days following the disaster, Laura, Mrs. Nesbitt, Jonny, and Miranda have a shopping spree for nonperishable items, which they use to fill their pantry. It is later re-stocked with boxes of food when Mrs. Nesbitt dies and they take her supplies, and again when Hal comes to visit. The pantry represents security and a chance that the family will survive. But, with the exception of the few times when they are filling it, Laura discourages her children from opening the door or looking inside. The pantry, with its door closed and contents hidden, can create a false sense of security—lulling them into a belief that their food supplies are sufficient. When, late in the novel, Miranda decides to take an inventory of the pantry, she is horrified to discover “There’s maybe 2 weeks worth of food if only Jon and Matt eat. With Mom and me eating occasionally, we’ll run out of food in 10 days.” But after her life-saving discovery of the food distribution at the end, Miranda proudly records the new bags of food in the pantry and hopes that these and more like them will help her family endure.

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The Pantry Symbol Timeline in Life as We Knew It

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Pantry appears in Life as We Knew It. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Survival and Death Theme Icon
Currency, Commodities, and Value Theme Icon
...look for open stores. Miranda has noticed that Laura looks with pride at her stocked pantry, and since she has cash left, she seeks to add to it. But the grocery... (full context)
Currency, Commodities, and Value Theme Icon
Perspective Theme Icon
...had instructed Jonny and Miranda not to talk about the goods they’ve stockpiled in their pantry. Miranda wondered if everyone else was being quiet for similar reasons. In an assembly, their... (full context)
Chapter 5
Currency, Commodities, and Value Theme Icon
Faith Theme Icon
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...they’ve run out of food. Miranda knows she shouldn’t complain, since due to her mother’s pantry stockpiles she’s eating better than most. She sits with Sammi, Megan, Dave, Brian, and Jenna.... (full context)
Chapter 8
Survival and Death Theme Icon
Currency, Commodities, and Value Theme Icon
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...send them away, but that doesn’t solve the problem of the dwindling supplies in their pantry. (full context)
Chapter 9
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Despite the replenished food in the pantry, Laura has started skipping meals again, which scares Miranda, who sees it as an indication... (full context)
Chapter 12
Currency, Commodities, and Value Theme Icon
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...her mom is taking a nap, Miranda decides on a whim to go examine the pantry—something Laura has asked them not to do. Instead, Laura leaves food out for them on... (full context)
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In the pantry, Miranda spots the bag of chocolate chips she’d impulsively thrown in her cart during the... (full context)
Chapter 13
Survival and Death Theme Icon
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...playing poker and enjoying each other’s company. Laura even trusts Miranda to go into the pantry and choose dinners—and while their supplies are decreasing, Miranda feels confident they have enough to... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...empty room and reminisces about their friendship. When she goes home, she sits in the pantry until it’s time for supper. She’s not hungry, but eats anyway to prove that unlike... (full context)
Chapter 15
Survival and Death Theme Icon
Currency, Commodities, and Value Theme Icon
Faith Theme Icon
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...in the sunroom, only venturing into the house to get firewood or food from the pantry. Laura gives an impassioned speech about them needing to survive and Miranda begs for and... (full context)
Chapter 16
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November 8-10. Miranda finds Laura crying in the pantry over Mrs. Nesbitt. Peter also stops by to comfort her. (full context)
Chapter 20
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...meal a day like the rest of his family. Miranda thinks he peeked in the pantry and saw how little food remains. Laura has practically stopped eating. They are startled by... (full context)
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March 4-6. Everyone is getting weaker due to lack of food. Miranda looks in the pantry and wishes she hadn’t. Laura asks her to skip eating a few days a week... (full context)
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Currency, Commodities, and Value Theme Icon
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Legacy Theme Icon
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...for days. Miranda realizes that there are less than ten days of food in the pantry if they’re all eating, and two weeks if just Matt and Jonny do. Miranda wonders... (full context)