Avatar Research Paper

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at 1. Explain how the aliens are anthropomorphized in the movie, basically, how the motives and reactions are expressed in terms that translate into human interpretation. Explain in particular how nonverbal communication is used to accomplish this. Part of this is explaining how humans are reacting/interpreting the behavior of the aliens. Remember that the major character has to learn how to interpret the reactions of the others.


The movie AVATAR is an excellent example of the use of nonverbal communication for Storytelling. The central messages are dramatized nonverbally, visually contrasting the conflicting communities and showing through symbolization, use of light and color the stark differences between the cultures. The anthropomorphization of the aliens provides numerous examples that can be translated into human interpretation.

According to Wikipedia “anthropomorphism is any attribution of human characteristics (or characteristics assumed to belong only to humans) to other animals, non-living things, phenomena, material states, objects or abstract concepts, such as organizations, governments, spirits or deities. The term was coined in the mid 1700s. Examples include animals and plants and forces of nature such as winds, rain or the sun depicted as creatures with human motivations, and/or the abilities to reason and converse. The term derives from the combination of the Greek (ánthrōpos), "human" and (morphē), "shape" or "form". As a literary device, anthropomorphism is strongly associated with art and storytelling where it has ancient roots. Most cultures possess a long-standing fable tradition with anthropomorphized animals as characters that can stand as commonly recognized types of human behavior. In contrast to this, conventional Western science, as well as such religious doctrines as the Christian Great Chain of Being propound the opposite, anthropocentric belief that animals, plants and non-living things, unlike humans, lack spiritual and mental attributes, immortal souls, and anything other than relatively limited awareness.” The two ideologies and cultures, avatars and humans, resulted in thoughts on both sides that the other was inferior. The Na’vi believed that humans/sky people were ignorant aliens who only wanted to destroy and kill. The humans thought of the Na’vi’s as savages based on looks and living. These misunderstandings were fundamental factors between the two races. The Na’vi and the humans had many things in common. They could see, think, feel and communicate. While the Na’vi were different, they possessed many human like qualities as well as customs. Once the Na’vi took the path to manhood and passed the tests he was then accepted into the clan as an adult. He was then allowed to make his bow from the wood of the hometree and was also able to choose a mate. After the mate has been chosen they will mate before Eywa. These are similar to the human customs of enlisting in the military and marriage, rites of passage in their cultures.

2. Explain how the film maker and script writer provides a basis for you to learn about the aliens. Coming into the movie you do not know them, but the movie essentially “teaches” you about them. Give examples of how this learning involves nonverbal communication elements and what is “learned” as this continues.


The Avatar filmmaker does not only tell us about the aliens, he shows us. The use of nonverbal communication is the primary teaching method employed by Cameron, the central messages of the movie could be understood without words, perhaps without sound. Teaching is done through visual messages, seen, experienced and understood.

Visually you can see the difference between the two cultures, how life was like for Jake back home at the naval base but once he was transported into the Avatar body it was a whole other world. The first interaction Jake had with the Omaticaya’s as a whole group was a learning...
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