After the First Death
In Robert Cormier's After the First Death, the accounts of a terrorist hijacking are presented within a well developed plot. The fictional tale begins as a group of foreign "freedom fighters" takeover a camp school bus filled with young children. These hijackers had usually worked in quick bombing demonstrations, but in this operation the plans are switched around. The four terrorists used doped candy to keep the children quiet and forced Kate, the driver, onto a bridge to wait for the CIA to complete demands. The demands were for the release of fifteen political prisoners, ten million dollars, and the disassembly of a secret government organization known as Inner Delta. In order to preserve their own safety, the hijackers had declared that if any of their own were killed then one kidnapped child would be shot. One of the authorities of Inner Delta, General Mark Marchand, used his son Ben as a messenger between the terrorists and the government. Ben had his behavior monitored since birth and because of this his father knew he will betray information under extreme pressure. Although most of the end results were successful, once Ben found out his father planned on his failure, he tragically ends his life.
The themes presented in this novel were man versus man, man versus society, man versus nature, and man versus self. The theme of man versus man was shown through Kate and the government against the terrorists. Man versus society was the cause of the terrorist takeover because the "freedom fighters" saw a war going on that they wanted acknowledged by United States government. Man versus nature was shown in the elements of heat, darkness, and a swamp when the hijacker Miro was trying to escape. The central theme was man versus self; the self trials humans face in order to grow. The central theme of self struggles was presented multiple times through main characters. Kate struggled with finding her true identity and becoming brave. Miro...
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