Forbidden City – a discussion Mao Zedong Mao Zedong was one of the founders of the Communist Party in China (1921). He stressed the role of self-sufficiency and guerrilla warfare in the revolution and believed that the peasants were the most important people in any republic. How are his beliefs ironic in light of what happened in Tian An Men Square? rights and freedoms William Bell’s novel stresses the importance of personal and political freedom. Through the protagonist, Alex Jackson, the reader understands that rights and privileges that are taken for granted in Canada and the United States are impossible dreams under a dictatorial Communist regime. What are some of the rights and freedoms North Americans take for granted that are denied to the Chinese? glorification of war The glorification of war is another issue that is addressed in the novel. Alex creates military displays as a hobby when he lives in Canada. For the innocent Alex, war is a wonderful set of complex maneuvers where soldiers dressed in coordinated military uniforms carry out the orders of their superior officers. It is only after Alex sees the reality of war in China that he understands its true destructive force. He destroys his military displays when he returns to Canada because they have taken on a new and ugly meaning for him. Explain how this is a symbolic action. Alex – the character Contrast Alex’s personality before he goes to Beijing and following his return from China. What makes Alex an admirable character? Describe the relationship between Alex and his father. Throughout the novel Alex matures. In what specific areas does he mature and what causes him to mature? Give concrete evidence that he has matured. the Chinese What specifically does Alex learn and admire about the Chinese and their culture? Explain in detail why Alex admires Lao-Xu and Xin-hua. How does William Bell encourage his readers to side with the Chinese students and their cause? Describe the various means the Chinese government uses to end the student protest and quash resistance. Forbidden City – the title Beijing becomes a forbidden city, a place where innocent people are sacrificed owing to their beliefs. This sacrifice is covered up and minimized by the powers in control. No one in China is allowed to mark openly the anniversary of the Tian An Men Square massacre. In what sense is the title of the novel an appropriate one?