Report on the Threatened City

by

Doris Lessing

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The Technicians Character Analysis

The envoys visit the Institute for Prognosis and Prevention of Earth Disturbance, where they encounter a group of “highly skilled” geological technicians who study earthquakes. These technicians live and work close to the fault line in the city, the most dangerous place to be if there’s an earthquake. Their equipment enables them to diagnose tremors and convulsions, and it is their duty to warn the public before earthquakes, which they do with great accuracy. Despite their advanced knowledge and awareness that the city will not survive a major earthquake, they seem content to live in this dangerous area, and they are more emotional about the city’s economic concerns than about potential disasters.

The Technicians Quotes in Report on the Threatened City

The Report on the Threatened City quotes below are all either spoken by The Technicians or refer to The Technicians . 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

For it is as if the mechanism fear has been misplaced from where it would be useful—preventing or softening calamity—to an area of their minds that makes them suspicious of anything but the familiar.

Related Characters: The Envoys (speaker), The Technicians
Related Symbols: The Earthquake
Page Number: 251
Explanation and Analysis:

But, very shortly, a strong emotion was raised by phrases and words of which we list a few here: profit motive, conflicting commercial interests, vested interests, capitalism, socialism, democracy—there are many such emotive words. We were not able to determine, or not in a way that our economic experts would recongise as satisfactory, the significance of these phrases, since the emotions became too violent to allow the conference to continue.

Related Characters: The Envoys (speaker), The Technicians
Page Number: 255
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Technicians Character Timeline in Report on the Threatened City

The timeline below shows where the character The Technicians 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
Paranoia and Conspiracy Theme Icon
...and Prevention of Earth Disturbance as observers. It is a place where 50 “highly skilled technicians’ work equipment that is just as advanced as the technology on the envoys’ planet. The... (full context)
Perception and Belief Theme Icon
Indifference Theme Icon
...discussion and debate—“one of their mechanisms for maintaining themselves in impotence and indecision.” Thus, the technicians at the Institute issue warnings one after the other, all of which come true. Yet... (full context)
Perception and Belief Theme Icon
Indifference Theme Icon
Paranoia and Conspiracy Theme Icon
Altruism vs. Capitalism Theme Icon
...Herbert Bond (age 35) and John Hunter (age 40). They did not directly ask the technicians  why they weren’t trying to avoid calamity. They had learned to engage in a roundabout... (full context)