Report on the Threatened City

by

Doris Lessing

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Report on the Threatened City can help.

The Four Youths Character Analysis

On their third day on Earth, the alien envoys encounter a group of four youths who have come to the remote area of the landing site because it is a hang-out spot for young people. They come in a “metal conveyance,” or a car, in which they will return to the city in the morning. While they’re able to absorb the envoys’ telepathic message about an impending earthquake more readily than the elders, they also react to the warning with resignation and hopelessness. Their behavior while driving the car indicates carelessness, too. The envoys ride along secretly, and they are horrified by the youths’ reckless driving and laughter when they narrowly avoid accidents. This lack of fear leads the envoys to conclude that they are damaged specimens, so they abandon these four for another group of youths at a gas station.

The Four Youths Quotes in Report on the Threatened City

The Report on the Threatened City quotes below are all either spoken by The Four Youths or refer to The Four Youths. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Perception and Belief Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Cambridge University Press edition of Report on the Threatened City published in 2018.
Report on the Threatened City Quotes

We believe we have established one of their mechanisms for maintaining themselves in impotence and indecision. It is precisely this: that they do continuously discuss and analyse.

Related Characters: The Envoys (speaker), The Four Youths
Page Number: 253
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Report on the Threatened City LitChart as a printable PDF.
Report on the Threatened City PDF

The Four Youths Character Timeline in Report on the Threatened City

The timeline below shows where the character The Four Youths appears in Report on the Threatened City. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Report on the Threatened City
Perception and Belief Theme Icon
Indifference Theme Icon
...for the envoys to make their second attempt. Just as the light of day faded, four youths arrived, and the envoys used the same method—but less time—to convey their warning. Again, they... (full context)
Perception and Belief Theme Icon
Indifference Theme Icon
Phase II Attempted. The envoys travel into the city with the four youths . The trip began at dawn and continued until full light. The envoys were shocked... (full context)
Perception and Belief Theme Icon
When the four youths stopped at a fueling station, the envoys noticed three dazed, shaggy-haired youth sitting on a... (full context)