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The Forbidden City - William Bell
Transcript of The Forbidden City - William Bell
Key Element and Conflict
First quote represents the introductory element of the plot.
“…We have three demands. We want that the Government agrees to talk to us like equals, not treat us like children. Second, they must apologize for violence against students last week. …Third, we demand that Xin Hua News reports stops lying about us in newspapers and television.” (Pg60)
This is the first exposure that Alex (Main Character) has that indicated there may be some serious conflict in the brewing in the Square.
There are a number of quotes that represent the many escalation elements of the plot.
“The government has said that the student demonstrators are counter-revolutionaries! ….It means…that the student demonstrators are enemies of the state. It means that if they are arrested they can be shot.” (Pg87)
“Just in front of the Yan Jing Hotel I can see the troops in the distance moving towards the center of Beijing.” (Pg98)
These quotes indicate that the student protests are escalating and leaning towards a violent outcome.
Third quote represents the climax element of the Plot.
“Behind me I heard a shout, then a hollow rattle of machine-gun fire. Something that felt like a baseball bat slammed into the back of my leg, knocking it out from under me. I fell heavily to the road, face first, cracking my skull against the curb and driving all the breath from my chest. I groaned and gasped, trying the get my breath back, in a daze. I got to my knees, and tried to crawl away from the guns.” (Pg119)
At this point of the book, the Plot is climaxing as the PLA’s have started shooting their own people in the square. Alex’s’ friend Lao Xu has been shot and killed. Alex’s Father is missing, and Alex himself has just been shot by the PLA. (People’s Liberation Army)
“I had known two real heroes in my life and they were both dead. I had seen another on TV today and he was dead, too. Not one of them had worn a uniform. (Pg187)
This is very much a concluding element to the plot. With all that Alex has experienced in this journey, he realises that not all uniforms represent goodness and heroes. Many heroes are just regular people.
Next quote represents the falling element of the plot.
“The three troops manhandled me to the taxi that stood there, engine running. There were two men in the front seat staring straight ahead. The back door was open. The soldier bent me over and shoved me into the cab so hard I smashed my head on the window crank of the opposite door. Someone bent my legs towards the small of my back, sending spear pain into my right calf. The car door slammed and the taxi roared away.” (Pg184)
By this time, Alex has tried to evade the PLA and find his father. Xin-hua, the girl who was helping him has been killed and at this point Alex is unknowingly on his way to safety at the Canadian Embassy.