Sorry, but although I was a bit vague where possible, most of this is a spoiler for the latter parts of the The Book of Eli. Please stop reading now if you've not already seen it. There are many surprises.

At the start of the movie The Book of Eli, the woman Solara seems a pretty average woman with lucky circumstances (the town was a dump & she was forced into prostitution, but she was a lot better off than most people in town and certainly better off than 'Trolley no-wheel lady'). Throughout the movie she goes through things which change her & make her realize just how horrid the 'outside town' world is, while also gaining strength & confidence.

She and Eli make it to the safe haven and he completes his mission to deliver to them 'the book'. In the closing moments, we see a discussion between her and the curator, where she mentions she is determined to go 'home'.

I thought that it was odd she'd want to leave, and expected to see her toting a big hulking copy of 'the book', now with her own mission, but there is no book in evidence. In fact, after she leaves the gates of the sanctuary (replete with Eli's weapons and possessions) we see the curator lovingly placing (what seems to be) the first copy of the first edition into its place in the bookshelf.

So.. where is 'home'?

One might think she means back to the town she came from. She had no way of knowing it might be worse for wear, but you'd think she would be determined to take a copy of the book whose words so moved her when she heard them (after learning how to read, obviously).

On the other hand, as Solara is traveling up the road away from the sanctuary, she disappears in a 'shimmer of heat wave'. She just vanishes. Was Solara actually some sort of 'guiding spirit' for what would be a difficult part of Eli's journey? Was 'home' actually heaven?

Note that her actions along the way did soften the stance of Eli, and at one point he even risked all so that she might be spared harm. It could almost be said that her presence helped bring him to the realization that he need not be so tied to a physical object. 'Mind the words, not the book'.


Solara is human.

Her mission at the conclusion of the movie is simple: to return to the town she came from and take care of her blind mother, who as far as Solara knows is still in the clutches of Carnegie and his men. She only left town with Eli because her mother thought she would be safer with him than in town. Eli's mission became Solara's mission because of Eli's sacrifice for her (giving away the location of the book to avoid Solara being killed). But with Eli dead and his mission completed, there's no reason for Solara not to return home and resume her life.

As for the final scene in which Solara fades as she walks away from the camera, I believe that scene was a visual metaphor not meant to be taken literally. It's an effect that's been used in other films. For example, Doughboy faded out while walking away from the camera at the end of Boyz N The Hood, but it didn't mean he was a supernatural being. Also, if we were meant to interpret Solara as having been sent by God to aid Eli, I don't think she would have returned to heaven carrying a machete and an iPod. It's the wrong sort of symbolism for such a creature.

  • I think it was a poor place to use such a visual device given the nature of the story (heavily dependent on the power of faith and unseen guiding forces). OTOH your answer is plausible enough for me to accept. Thank you. :) – Andrew Thompson Jan 26 '13 at 4:31
  • Heavenly helpers need to have fun too. Apparently iPods transcend mortal barriers. – Xantec Jan 26 '13 at 6:22
  • @Xantec Ha, I knew Eli was a divine figure when I saw that he had a classic iPod that still worked after thirty years. – Kyle Jones Jan 26 '13 at 6:57
  • @Xantec iPod 1, Harp 0? ;) – Andrew Thompson Jan 27 '13 at 14:55

So this is what I think:

Eli traveled miles and miles memorizing the bible on his iPod and reading from his own Braille bible hoping to get to San Francisco where he would pass on the Braille bible to a group of survivors from the apocalypse. (Eli was an apostle spreading knowledge of the Lord; he was "led by faith" as quoted). Here is where my theory comes in: after he recited the bible to a man who wrote it down and printed it into a book, he gave Solara the iPod to memorize the bible so she could mimic what he did since he was going to die. So she geared up with knives and guns (like Eli did) listened to the iPod (like Eli did) and went on her way to spread the knowledge of the Lord (like Eli did).

(I'm not very religious but this may also be a theory: God planned for him to make it to San Francisco and die, then Solara would take over.)

I really think this is what happened, but I just want to know if this is what the writers wanted us to think.

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    The iPod is only ever seen to be used to play music. If Eli had the entire thing on iPod, it makes his 'hauling a book around' seem less sensible. – Andrew Thompson Apr 5 '14 at 1:03
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    I just realized that Eli could have recorded it into the iPod at the same time he was narrating it for the curator! This 'sending Solara away with the iPod' answer finally makes sense to me. :) – Andrew Thompson Jun 26 '15 at 9:38

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