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Report on the Threatened City Analysis

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Maxwell Kline

on 22 October 2012

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Transcript of Report on the Threatened City Analysis

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli By Maxwell Kline and Jack Strange Report on the Threatened City Analysis Written by Doris Lessing Historical Information She has received many awards including the Nobel Prize in Literature
Born in October of 1919 in Iran
She was a part of the Left Book Club (a communist book club)
Fled to London to pursue writing
Other Works
Memoirs of a Survivor (1974)
The Good Terrorist (1985)
The Grass is Singing (1950) Earthquake in San Francisco in 1906
Killing and estimated total of 3400 people
This is the event that the story refers to when it refers to disaster 65 years earlier
Another Earthquake occurred in February of 1971
Killing 65 people and causing 1 billion dollars in damage and published in 1972 Genre Science Fiction
Although the story has historical references, the story focuses on an alien race's view of the human species Style of Writing Doris Lessing wrote the story as if it were a report from aliens sent to Earth to warn a city of an impending disaster
The sub headings help to seperate different thoughts and stages of the mission
The story is written in 3rd person limited. Although you know what the general population is thinking, the narrator knows this strictly due to its ability to read minds Themes humans as a race are ""too inflexible to adapt
Also that humans just do not care. That they ignore signs of impending death and tragedy and continue with their lives as if nothing were going to happen Important Quotes #1
"... they consider it an illness or a faulty mental condition to be aware of what threatnes and to try take steps to soften it."
This quote says directly a percieved fault of the human race to the narrator, that we shut out anything of major importance or anything with a large impact on our daily life #2
"...in other words, a fire being smaller, more manageable phenomenon, they preferred, and sometimes still prefer, to use that word (the Great Fire), instead of the word for the uncontrollable shaking of the earth itself."
This was a critisism of the human race and its inability to grasp the concept of large events out of their control. #3
"We have a tentative conclusion. It is this: that a society that is doomed to catastrophe, and that is unable to prepare for it, can expect that few people will survive, except those already keyed to chaos and disaster.
This is saying that our current society is unable to prevent or deal with a large event. When one occurs, only those that are removed from society should be expected to survive Plot Summary The short story is the report from an unknown alien race that in its efforts to warn a city (San Francisco) of a disaster that has the possibility to kill thousands, finds that the human race is very flawed. Throughout the transmission the unknown narrator speaks of his attempts to warn the people of the city, and the reasons all three attempts failed. While trying to understand the human race, the narrator loses hope and abandons the attempt to warn the city, claiming the race and its society has condemned itself to extinction. Setting The story is set in late 1970 through early 1971 in San Francisco Any Questions? Characters there is really only one main character, the narrator.
It is an alien from an unknown place, an no characteristics are mentioned other than the fact the it can change shape and form
It gives a subjective overview of the human race. Symbols and Literary Devices Because the story is a report, it is a very formal and literal piece. everything that is meant is directly stated in the text.
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