Reflection

This is my final post of the semester, and I wanted to write my reflection on both this blog and my expository writing class in general.

I have enjoyed finding all of these doubles in sci-fi. I found a lot of movie characters that were inhuman but were also doubles of humans in ways that I would not have thought of if I did not take this course. I had a fun time finding the short stories that I read; they were all quirky in their own ways. I liked that I had many different types of human doubles in all of my pieces of fiction.

In this class my eyes were opened to how doubling in fiction can further the literary elements already present. I was especially interested in the identity doubling that we looked at in our first unit of study. We studied how social issues cause people to develop double identities of themselves. Other instances of doubling that we studied included the scientific doubling that I discussed in my blog and the uncanny doubling present in inanimate objects such as dolls and mannequins.

I think my writing has improved a lot due to this course, and I will be using many of the writing techniques that I learned in the future.

C-3PO and R2-D2

The Star Wars franchise is full of robots and artificial intelligence. For this post I’m going to focus on C-3PO and R2-D2. These two droids are always together and are always in support of the Resistance. They each are doubles of humans in unique ways. C-3PO’s doubling is more obvious as he looks more like and behaves more like a human. He is much more realistic which causes audiences to him more as a hero and R2-D2 as more of a side-kick.

Image result for c3po and r2d2

R2-D2 reminds me more of a pet side-kick. He doesn’t look or behave like a human. The most interesting thing to me about R2-D2 is how much more audiences love him than C-3PO. I’m curious if this has to do with C-3PO’s closer resemblance to a human and how it might bring uncanny feelings to audiences. As we have learned throughout the semester, the things that are unreal but appear almost real can make us very uncomfortable.

Both droids have human goals, but this is the only similarity they have in their doubling. R2-D2 seems to evoke human emotions more than C-3PO without even speaking English. C-3PO’s doubling is more obvious, but through R2-D2’s emotional doubling, he becomes more likeable. This one of the most iconic duos in Hollywood that doesn’t even have a human. This duo is able to be liked because of their similarities to humans.

Images: R2-D2 and C-3PO

Our Final Project

For our final project for our Expo class, we were asked to create something that wasn’t an essay. I decided to write a piece of program music that drew inspiration from one of our early course readings, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman. Program music is instrumental music that conveys a certain narrative, usually with an additional text to aid the audience in their understanding of the story. I’ve included a poem with the time stamps of the parts of the song that each line matches up with.

The basic plot of the story I am trying to tell is of a young girl full of dreams and goals who later finds that she is unable to accomplish any of these goals due to the patriarchy and her marriage. After being trapped in this situation, she breaks free and begins to write her own story. My biggest goal was to convey the emotions that I believe the narrator would be feeling in each of these situations through the music.

I used different minor and major keys to convey the joy or sadness that the narrator is experiencing in each time of her life. I worked a lot on the part of the song in which the narrator breaks free to make it sound the most triumphant that I could.

I chose to do my project over “The Yellow Wallpaper” because I used it to write my first essay and was really interested in how it made me feel as a woman. I enjoyed finding all the little ways in which the story shows doubling.

I have attached the song and the poem for your listening.

Femme

Playing in a flowery meadow                         0:00                

Unbridled happiness

I didn’t see the future lying ahead                  0:14

My happiest day                                             0:17

It trapped me, stuck me in a pattern             0:20

No hope, but                                                    0:41

something was there, a glimmer of light    0:45

I reach out, fight for it , expose it                    0:58

There is power, freedom, love, peace            1:05

Happy again, with a new perspective            1:16

A new page 

http://seeingdouble.oucreate.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/New-Recording-44.m4a

The Matrix

The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves, depicts a world after the machines have taken over. Almost all people have no control over any of their actions, and they have no idea that they are trapped in this matrix.

Image result for the matrix

The movie watches Reeves’s character, Neo, join the resistance and work to destroy the matrix, allowing everyone to have control over their own lives.

The movie watches Reeves’s character, Neo, join the resistance and work to destroy the matrix, allowing everyone to have control over their own lives.

A lot of people would make big changes to themselves if they were given a second chance. I think it would be very interesting to see how people today would change if they were given a fresh start. This change would be much more conscious and deliberate than it would be in the movie probably. The people in the movie were unaware that they were being controlled, so they probably wouldn’t be making an effort to better themselves like people in the real world would if they could.

Overall, this movie has a lot of scientific doubles. There are machines, virtual clones, and bodies trapped in coma-like states. I could write a blog post about every type of doubling seen in this movie, but the idea of being given a new identity is most intriguing to me.

Images: Movie Poster

Brave New World

This week’s post is over Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. This novel sees a new society in which all humans are created in test tubes.

In Brave New World, the Bokanovsky Process is used to generate 96 identical humans from one egg. This method completely eliminates childbirth. There is no individuality within this society as each person has to live knowing that there are ninety-six versions of each other. The batches of people are predestined to be part of certain classes and have certain jobs. This class system is based on intelligence. The embryos were manipulated scientifically to produce smarter or dumber people.

Like in the film Us, the clones are exact replicas of one another with no genetic differences. However, the uses of these clones are much different in each work. In Brave New World, the clones are aware that they have ninety-five other copies of them because they work together. Us only has single copies of the original humans, and the original humans have no idea that there is a copy of them. It seems better that the clones in Brave New World are aware of their copies, and none of the copies are oppressed compared to their other copies. In Us, the clones are trapped underground, completely oppressed. There is oppression seen in Brave New World as well, but it is of entire castes together, not of people within the castes. The upper classes seem to not have as many clones, implying that they are not as conditioned to monotony. The clones are probably unaware of the manipulation of their bodies before they were born. The clones in each piece have little control over their actions. The clones in Us are stuck doing the actions of their humans while most clones in Brave New World are conditioned from birth to follow the actions predestined for them by the hatchery. Both stories have the cloning done by some sort of government agency.

These different types of cloning situations raise individual issues that would occur were either of them to be realized. The lack of individuality caused by both cases is a huge problem to me. I also think that a lot of problems would rise from the ideas of who is the “real” person and all of the legal issues surrounding the questions of who deserves those rights.

The Copy

This week’s blog is about yet another human cloning story. Paul Jenning’s short story, “The Copy,” sees a young boy named Tim use his inventor friend’s cloning machine to make a copy of himself. This was a split-second decision and he had no idea if it was a smart decision or not. His copy would end up stealing his life by pushing him back into the cloner and reversing the reaction. Tim didn’t realize he was the clone, however, until the end of the story when his parents pointed out that he was writing with his left hand when he had always been right-handed.

Image result for clones clipart

The most interesting idea in this story to me was the fact that the clone had all the same thoughts and memories as the original did leading up to the cloning. I feel like most cloning stories depict the clone as having no memory or intellectual skills. This depiction of clones raises another question of the ethics of cloning. Most people would picture a blank slate if they saw a clone, but if this were to occur, we would have to decide whose identity was in which body. This also makes it pretty hard to decipher who is the original and who is the clone. The clone not realizing he was the clone until the end also implies that theses clones are completely unaware that they are the clone.

There are so many mind-bending ideas in “The Copy.” A lot of them have not been considered when talking about the future idea of cloning. If any of this were to happen with clones, I would be very opposed to human cloning.

Read “The Copy” here

Images: clones

The Research Paper

This week’s blog is instead about a research session for the research paper I am writing.

My focus for my paper is the process of becoming a villain in a movie and how that may affect an actor or the perception of that actor.

During this review session I looked at two sources: an article from The New Yorker about Marlon Brando’s acting career and a journal article discussing how Freud’s theory of the psychoanalysis was applicable to acting with respects to Stanislavsky and Brecht’s acting theories.

The Marlon Brando article was very informative and detailed. Brando did use Stanislavsky’s “method acting” which has prompted me to look for sources explaining that in more detail. Brando is often seen as a bad guy, mainly due to his iconic role in “The Godfather.” This article didn’t discuss much about how that role affected him, but it did give information about his first villainous role on stage. It was very hard for him to go on in this role even though he was incredible for it. I plan to discuss both how Brando used his own life to become a villain and how he became closely associated with his roles in my paper.

The journal article about psychoanalysis may end up being a counterpoint for my paper because it gives points about how the past events of an actor’s life can actually affect how they may play a role. The article argues that each portrayal of a character is different because of the different histories of the actors that play it. This says the opposite of my argument that the actor’s are changed by their roles. It says that the actors change their roles instead.

I plan on looking at one more actor who is always the bad guy and finding more information about method acting.

Terminator Franchise

Image result for terminator

James Cameron’s Terminator is a perfect example of a robot takeover. The movie sees an android Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) travel back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). Her unborn son, John, will lead the humans in a revolution against the androids.

People today fear a world in which the robots have taken over. It’s even a simple fear in the work force. People worry that robot will take their jobs. By depicting a world in which robots have completely taken over, Cameron portrays human fears.

The similarities between this android and actual humans are uncanny. They are designed with skin and voices just like those of humans. In later movies in the franchise, they are able to shape shift to look like any human or object.

Because there are so many similarities, it is hard to decipher a real human from an android. The Terminator is thought to be a human by the authorities throughout the entire movie.

The Terminator then takes on a different role in the sequel Terminator 2: Judgement Day. John Connor (Edward Furlong) sends a Terminator from the future to protect himself from a more advanced T-1000 Terminator. Schwarzenegger’s Terminator is now the good guy.

With the use of good and bad Terminators comes the idea that robots and androids can be good or bad. Maybe Cameron wanted to show robots in a better light. Everyone has their own opinions of the future of robots, but if one thing is for sure, they will continue to get more and more similar to us.

Images: Terminator Poster

Us

             This week I will analyze Jordan Peele’s sci-fi thriller Us. While there are no robots or artificial intelligence, there is the use of cloning which is a sci-fi motif that causes even more doubling in this movie.

             The film Us has uncanny doubles as humans have exact clones created of them. The twist of the “real” Adelaide actually being the clone of her exemplifies how uncanny things may not be recognizable. Nobody noticed for many years that she was actually a clone. This was such a close copy of her that the line between the real and unreal was completely blurred. The natural human and scientifically created human are seen as juxtaposed from an outside viewer, but as shown in the movie, if the human and clone are swapped, the characteristics of each side can be easily swapped. This makes us reevaluate our opinions of the doubles within the movie. Up until the twist, we are led to believe that the clones are the bad guys, but after the twist, they can be viewed more as victims. In my opinion, it is impossible to decipher who are the protagonists and who are the antagonists in this film. Since the twist happens to be this, it proves that in this universe it could be impossible to tell the real from the unreal, which leads viewers to question if other people in this universe were also clones living in the light.

             Would it be ethical to clone humans? I don’t think so after seeing this movie. By design clones are not real and authentic, which can lead to debate about what they may deserve. Cloning also would cause the original humans to feel uncomfortable as they would find it hard to differentiate between humans and clones. I think it would be hard for people to treat clones like regular people because they wouldn’t be. They would always have a stigma surrounding them about how unnatural they were. Within this film, there is oppression of these clones that is actually symbolic of oppression in today’s society.

             Overall, this film raises many questions about how the world would work if human cloning was real. Cloning is already being used for things like stem cells. Maybe full body cloning will be possible one day, but I’m not sure if I want to see that.

Images: Poster

You Might Be a Robot or Android If…

This week’s post is not about any specific piece of sci-fi. Instead it will show some qualities common to robots and artificial intelligence in many pieces of sci-fi. You may actually be a robot if all of these apply to you.

Your movements are rough and choppy.

via GIPHY

Your voice has little emotion or inflection.

via GIPHY

You know everything about anything.

Image result for robots solving problems

You obey all commands.

Image result for robot doing work

You are made of metal.

Image result for emotionless robot

All of these qualities of robots create the defining line between the human and inhuman. If these qualities are ever made more human-like, we will all have difficulty distinguishing between the inanimate and animate. Artificial intelligence is already so good, that when we talk to Siri or Alexa, we feel as though we are talking to a real person. They are doubles of us. Within works of sci-fi, the use of robots is often for the purpose of create a human-like being with some aspects that improve upon the original human.

I really wonder if one day there will be robots walking around that we treat as humans. Would there be some sort of prejudices against them? Would we be a divided society? How would the robots feel if we enforced the fact that they were just copies of us?

Images: Thinking Robot Working Robot Black Robot