Little Fires Everywhere

by

Celeste Ng

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The youngest and most rebellious of the Richardson children, Izzy is a freshman in high school and is desperate for escape from her heavily-regulated life. Born prematurely and, as a result, over-parented by her mother Mrs. Richardson, Izzy learns throughout the course of the novel—at the prodding of Mia Warren—to use her voice and her action to “do something” about her circumstances. Izzy, drawn to Mia because of her freedom, artistry, and sensitivity, asks to become her photography assistant. Mia agrees, and the two begin spending most of their afternoons together, working in the rental house. Mia teaches Izzy several lessons about agency, change, and renewal, prodding her to “do something” to change the things in her life with which she is unhappy and warning her that, like ground razed by fire, sometimes “everything” must be burnt to the ground to make way for the “growth” of new ideas. Izzy takes Mia’s advice a bit too literally, and uses Mia’s words as fuel for school pranks, for challenging her parents, and for, eventually, literally setting a fire to her family’s home. Izzy represents disruption and ostracism, and her relationship with her own mother is one of the relationships at the heart of the novel’s theme of mothers and daughters.

Izzy Richardson Quotes in Little Fires Everywhere

The Little Fires Everywhere quotes below are all either spoken by Izzy Richardson or refer to Izzy Richardson. 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:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of Little Fires Everywhere published in 2017.
Chapter 1 Quotes

“The firemen said there were little fires everywhere,” Lexie said. “Multiple points of origin. Possible use of accelerant. Not an accident.”

Related Characters: Lexie Richardson (speaker), Izzy Richardson
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

“Well?” said Mia. “What are you going to do about it?”
It was not a question Izzy had been asked before. Until now her life had been one of mute, futile fury. What was she going to do about it? The very idea that she could do something stunned her.

Related Characters: Mia Warren (speaker), Izzy Richardson (speaker), Mrs. Peters, Deja Johnson
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

She had learned, with Izzy’s birth, how your life could trundle along on its safe little track and then, with no warning, skid spectacularly off course.

Related Characters: Mrs. Richardson / Elena (speaker), Izzy Richardson
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

“Is she going to be okay?”
“She’s going to survive, if that’s what you mean.” Mia stroked Izzy’s hair. It was like Pearl’s, like her own had been as a little girl: the more you tried to smooth it, the more she insisted on springing free. “She’s going to get through this because she has to.”
“But how?”
“I don’t know, honestly. But she will. Sometimes, just when you think everything’s gone, you find a way. Like after a prairie fire. I saw one, years ago. It seems like the end of the world. The earth is scorched and black and everything green is gone. But after the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too, you know. They start over. They find a way.”

Related Characters: Mia Warren (speaker), Izzy Richardson (speaker), Bebe Chow
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 295
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

The police would find Izzy, she told herself. They would find her and she would be able to make amends. She wasn’t sure how, but she was certain she would. And if the police couldn’t find her? Then she would look for Izzy herself. For as long as it took, for forever if need be. Years might pass and they might change, both of them, but she was sure she would still know her own child, just as she would know herself, no matter how long it had been. She was certain of this.

Related Characters: Mrs. Richardson / Elena (speaker), Izzy Richardson
Page Number: 336
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Little Fires Everywhere LitChart as a printable PDF.
Little Fires Everywhere PDF

Izzy Richardson Character Timeline in Little Fires Everywhere

The timeline below shows where the character Izzy Richardson appears in Little Fires Everywhere. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...of gossip to discuss—the Richardson family’s house has burned down in a raging fire and Izzy, the youngest of the Richardson children, is the suspect. All the following summer the residents... (full context)
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...at her best friend Serena Wong’s house. Alone on the lawn, Mrs. Richardson wonders where Izzy “had gotten to” and where her sons are. (full context)
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...hasn’t been entirely burned down—a “brick shell” remains. All of the Richardson children, except for Izzy, have gathered on the lawn. Lexie had been awakened by a phone call from her... (full context)
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The siblings talk about how Mrs. Richardson “is going to murder” Izzy when Izzy comes back, and they assume that they’ll all stay in a hotel, which... (full context)
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...Multiple points of origin. Not an accident.” Moody chastises his siblings for always picking on Izzy, saying that maybe that’s why “she acts mental.” Meanwhile everyone has seemingly forgotten about the... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...Richardsons’ house, and feels enveloped and accepted right away. She does not see much of Izzy, though she does not notice this, as “dazzled” as she is by the other Richardsons,... (full context)
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...it is “a psychological study” or “anthropology.” Lexie and Trip joke that their younger sister Izzy, who doesn’t enjoy watching the show, will soon be on Springer herself. They recount to... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Izzy and Moody are not invited to the party, as they’re underclassmen. Moody is disappointed that... (full context)
Chapter 7
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A week into working for the Richardsons, Mia finds herself alone in the kitchen with Izzy, who is suspended from school. Izzy introduces herself as “the crazy one,” then sits with... (full context)
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Izzy is frustrated with having been suspended when she believes she was standing up for what... (full context)
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A bit later, Izzy, with “the heart of a radical but the experience of a fourteen-year-old living in the... (full context)
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Moody, Pearl, and Izzy “immobilize” their high school in under ten minutes by inserting toothpicks into every locked door... (full context)
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In the wake of the prank, toothpicks are banned from school, and Izzy and Deja experience a moment of silent solidarity—Mrs. Peters now leaves Deja alone. The prank’s... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Izzy walks to the house on Winslow every day after school to work as Mia’s photography... (full context)
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...and Moody back to the Richardson house, where Mia is preparing the Richardsons’ dinner while Izzy watches. At Lexie’s nudging, Pearl confronts Mia about the photograph, but Mia is defensive and... (full context)
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Izzy, hungry for answers that will help her understand Mia, researches Pauline Hawthorne but can’t find... (full context)
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...be unraveled”, returns to her assigned work for the newspaper. She recalls that it was Izzy who sent her down this futile “rabbit hole” in the first place. (full context)
Chapter 9
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Mrs. Richardson remains annoyed with Izzy for the rest of the week—though she admits “she [is] usually annoyed with Izzy.” Mrs.... (full context)
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...are invited to attend a birthday party thrown by their friends, the McCulloughs. Moody and Izzy want to invite Pearl, but Mrs. Richardson refuses, telling them that “Pearl is not part... (full context)
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...the baby—originally named May Ling—was theirs. While Lexie and her mother gush over the baby, Izzy needles Mrs. McCullough for having assigned May Ling a “random” birthday and changing her birth... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...McCulloughs’ representation, telling his family that “they just want to do right by the baby.” Izzy calls her father a “baby stealer,” and is sent to her room. As she leaves... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Lexie is admitted to Yale and, to celebrate, Mrs. Richardson offers to take Lexie, Izzy, and Pearl out for a fancy girls’ lunch. Pearl is surprised by the invitation, but... (full context)
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...Mrs. Richardson and Lexie side with the McCulloughs, as does Mr. Richardson, while Moody and Izzy, inspired by Pearl and Mia, take Bebe’s side. Lexie and Brian also argue amongst themselves... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...to happen,” just as Pearl arrives home to check on Lexie. A few minutes later, Izzy arrives for her afternoon photography session with Mia. She sees Lexie inside, and, suspicious, asks... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...hear that Lexie’s perspective has shifted—she feels a great deal of sympathy for Bebe now. Izzy is suspicious, and Moody describes the case as one which will tear families “all over... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...if he knows who his older brother’s “mystery girl” is. Moody returns home and finds Izzy there—she tells him that Mia is working at Lucky Palace, despite Pearl having told him... (full context)
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...“better this way.” Lexie, distraught and dazed, walks to the house on Winslow. She finds Izzy and Mia sitting at the kitchen table, and she sits with them and tells them... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...gone to the state, “with the recommendation that the adoption by the McCulloughs be expedited.” Izzy, who has not heard the news, arrives at Mia’s as usual, and is frightened by... (full context)
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...that Pearl and Trip are the ones who are “screwing.” In the room next door, Izzy sits in stunned silence and thinks about what she’s just overheard. (full context)
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...[it is] her house, after all.” Mia is surprised to see her. Mrs. Richardson notices Izzy’s jacket draped over a chair, and the sight of it here, “as if [this] were... (full context)
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...“whole life” she ran away from in order to follow the “rules.” Mrs. Richardson takes Izzy’s jacket from the back of the chair and tells Mia to vacate the apartment by... (full context)
Chapter 19
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There is a knock at the door—Mia answers it, and finds that it is Izzy. Izzy is confused because the door has never been locked before. She asks if Bebe... (full context)
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When Izzy returns home, she finds the house empty. Moody and Trip were home earlier; they fought... (full context)
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Izzy tells Moody that she knows Pearl didn’t have an abortion. She tries to think of... (full context)
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Izzy goes to Serena’s house, where she confronts Lexie about her abortion. Izzy tells Lexie that... (full context)
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...Trip has gone to play basketball, and Moody has gone to Pearl’s house to apologize. Izzy believes her mother is at the rec center, swimming laps. Overwhelmed by the unfairness of... (full context)
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After having spent the entire night awake and planning, Izzy barely thinks at all as she retrieves a can of gasoline from the garage, pours... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...hood of Lexie’s car across the street. Mrs. Richardson knows that her husband is discussing Izzy’s absence with the police, probably giving them a description of her and asking them to... (full context)
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...one bedroom for the boys, and the sleeping porch for the girls—she is “certain” that Izzy will be home “shortly.” (full context)
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...newsprint, and Mrs. Richardson is “sure” the text is from “one of her own articles.” Izzy has already removed her print, which featured a black rose made from boot leather. Mia... (full context)
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...a chance to say goodbye to the Richardson children. The two of them lament “poor Izzy” being stuck in a place she wants to leave, and Pearl suggests going back for... (full context)
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...cross into Iowa, and the Richardsons gather at the duck pond near their burned house, Izzy, with “the smell of smoke still [in] her hair,” boards a greyhound bus for Pittsburgh.... (full context)
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...of the duplex in just her bathrobe. Though all day she has been angry with Izzy, now she is worried—Izzy has crossed a line, and “she might never [come] back.” A... (full context)