Oppression In Maurice Ogden's Forbidden City

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The events of the 6/4 incident are still indiscriminately hushed up to this day; officials persistently denying that it ever occurred. Citizens are forbidden to converse about it, and the topic is taboo in China. However, the novel Forbidden City goes into detail about it from the eyes of a Canadian reporter, Alexander Jackson. It takes place during and after the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, when student protesters calling for political, economical, and social reforms were brutally murdered by government forces. The people who participated/witnessed the massacre could be organized into four groupsroles; oppressor (one who oppresses others), victim (one that is oppressed), upstander (one who is privileged and helps the victim), and bystander (one who does not interfere). Alexander (Alex) Jackson's character shows two different ways people react to systems of oppression by playing the roles of the upstander and bystander. . The two roles are ambiguous and may gradually change from one to another over time, as shown by Alex while the novel progresses. He is first introduced as a bystander, the same role as the narrator from the poem “The Hangman”, by Maurice Ogden. Ogden’s poem starts with the…show more content…
However, when he witnessed Lao Xu’s death and saw innocents being murdered by the PLA, he made the conscious decision to become an upstander. “‘Nobody will be able to pretend this isn’t happening,’ [he] vowed, ‘because I’ve[he’s] got it on tape. And [he’s] going to see that the tapes, somehow, get back to Canada.” (Bell, 129) Another character who acts in a similar fashion is the French woman from the film “Pigeon”. She, too, makes the choice to act as an upstander, after seeing the Jewish man’s act of kindness. Alex and the French woman both act as upstanders, and risk their life doing

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