Themes and Discussion Themes in Gattaca Genetic Engineering and the moral and ethical issues surrounding it. Human Frailty vs. Inhuman Perfection Oppression and Discrimination
Science vs. Religion (or Ethics) Most of these themes are inter-related Names in Gattaca
Jerome = Genome (Genetic material) Morrow = i.e. as in tommorrow (of the future) Eugene = comes from Greek, which means well born Eugenics Science of improving the hereditary qualities of a race or breed. Gattaca = GTCA, symbols for four main chemicals in DNA. Hoovers or J. Edgars = vacuum cleaning brand and
also J. Edgar Hoover, director of FBI. Irene Cassini the Cassini division is the largest gap in Saturns rings Oppression As night-fall does not come at once, neither does oppression It is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air however slight lest
we become victims of the darkness. - Justice William O. Douglas Discrimination and Oppression Gattaca is set in a future where science, and not religion, has taken over society. A new form of discrimination has arisen, called GENOISM, discrimination according to ones genetic purity.
Write down three examples of how people are discriminated by their genes in GATTACA. Discrimination and Oppression Examples of discrimination: Labels
Invalid in todays world this means useless. Use of illegal genetic testing in job interviews. God-child and Faith birth Other examples? What examples of discrimination and oppression are there in the world?
World Examples of Oppression Nazi Fascism Untouchables caste of India ?? Discrimination against India's lowest Hindu castes is technically illegal. But try telling that to the 160 million
Untouchables, who face violent reprisals if they forget their place. The sins of Girdharilal Maurya are many, his attackers insisted. He has bad karma. Why else would he, like his ancestors, be born an Untouchable, if not to pay for his past lives? Look, he is a leatherworker, and Hindu law says that working with animal skins makes him unclean, someone to avoid and revile. And his unseemly prosperity is a sin. Who does this Untouchable think he is, buying a
small plot of land outside the village? Then he dared speak up, to the police and other authorities, demanding to use the new village well. He got what Untouchables deserve. One night, while Maurya was away in a nearby city, eight men from the higher Rajput caste came to his farm. They broke his fences, stole his tractor, beat his wife and daughter, and burned down his house. The message was clear: Stay at the bottom where you belong. To be born a Hindu in India is to enter the caste system, one of the world's longest surviving forms of social
stratification. Embedded in Indian culture for the past 1,500 years, the caste system follows a basic precept: All men are created unequal. The ranks in Hindu society come from a legend in which the main groupings, or varnas, emerge from a primordial being. From the mouth come the Brahmansthe priests and teachers. From the arms come the Kshatriyasthe rulers and soldiers. From the thighs come the Vaisyasmerchants and traders. From the feet come the Sudraslaborers. Each varna in turn contains hundreds of hereditary castes and subcastes with their own pecking orders.
By Tom O'Neill http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0306/feature1/ The World of Gattaca is Dystopic How is the world of Gattaca Dystopic? It could be a utopian world: most people are engineered to be born with little or no disabilities. But it is a dystopia. It is a perfect world,
but only perfect for those who are genetically gifted. Lack of individuality. Gattaca is Dystopic and Oppressive Numerous identity checks. Police and detectives all uniformed in grey trenchcoats and bring up memories of
dark secret police organisations (e.g. SS in the Nazi regime) Buildings are large, bare and artificial and huge compared to individual. Surfaces of the world are polished clean and shiny, and almost sterile. Gattaca is Dystopic and Oppressive It
is a picture of a world ruled by science. Tiny individual vs. monster engine of society. Nearly everyone is accepting and passive of their place in society (best example?). It is a world where an oppressive system has been created, not by intention, but by the simple choices of individuals and their applications of scientific discovery. Visual metaphors which show
Oppression Motifs (repeated symbols) of glass and water illustrate the invisible walls Vincent is rebelling against. Where do we see glass and water in the film? The swimming scenes and Anton as a symbol of the society who rejects Vincent. Bars are a metaphor for the visible barriers (find three examples in the film)
Human Frailty vs. Inhuman Perfection Who is the best example of human frailty in Gattaca? How is it shown? Who is the best example of inhuman perfection? How is it shown? How is the way this theme is shown ironic? Vincent spends his life trying to hide his frailty.
Eugene ends his life as a result of not being able to cope with his imperfection. What is the symbolism of the ladder? Borrowed ladder DNA Double Helix Social status
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