Ender's Game and the Matrix - Comparative Essay Practise & Essay Scaffold - Science Fiction

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“In a comparative study of texts we see that the connections between texts are realised through the different textual forms used by each composer.” How accurate is this statement for the pair of texts you have studied in this unit? In your answer you may like to discuss some or all of the following: form, structure, language features, context, information & ideas.

When texts are considered together, responders realise that texts are connected through their similar themes and ideas displayed in their textual forms. Texts are allegories of human existence which simultaneously examining contextual ideas. This is seen the two texts, the Wachowski brothers’ film The Matrix (1999) and Orson Scott Card’s novel Ender’s game (1985), through their mutual form of the science-fiction genre. These two texts allow the responder to gain new understanding of the values of the contextual times in which the text was composed.

The use of defamiliarisation is a key concept in the science-fiction genre, where the composers create a futuristic world which is alien to the responder, yet drawing parallels to the context of the text. This causes the responder to evaluate their own world in light of the new ideas suggested through the text. In The Matrix, the Wachowski brothers critique the value of technology, in the context of computer advancements in the late 20th century to early 21st century. Defamiliarisation is seen early in the film through the subversion of the Warner Brothers logo, showing the well known symbol in the electronic green used to display the scrolling green numbers of the coding of the matrix. The use of this colour alludes to the direction of the film, and also increases our feeling of alienation. This feeling of discomfort and alienation is highlighted in the film, with Morpheus emphasising Neo’s discomfort and uneasiness with the world around him by comparing it to a “splinter in the mind.” This discomfort with surroundings is acutely felt by Ender from Card’s novel Ender’s game. Constantly being systematically physically and psychologically isolated from humanity by military superiors, Ender Wiggin sacrifices his sanity to save the entire human race by the xenocide of the insectoid bugger race. Written in the context of the 1980s Cold War, Ender’s Game is set somewhere in the distant future. Through this, Card is able to create a tangential interrogation of our world through his analogical landscapes of ‘the future,’ a world comfortably foreign to our own, thus allowing audiences to relate to the text by being comfortably defamiliarised with the technology and setting. By suggesting that “obviously we can now control gravity... but they tell us nothing...” Card creates the feeling of paranoia toward military attack felt in the 1980’s. This military paranoia is highlighted through Card forcing the reader to move between two viewpoints of a suspicious, manipulated child and a paranoid, utilitarian machine worker. Card opens each chapter in a different font to highlight the adult’s ultimate control over the world of the children, juxtaposing it with the vulnerability often felt by Ender, often displayed in first person internal monologues. “Can’t think of an answer. Anything I say will make it worse.” Through textual forms and the use of defamiliarisation, both Card and the Wachowski brothers highlight their themes and ideas.

The usage of the textual form of sci-fi allows the composers to use defamiliarisation to critique their society. One theme that shows up in both The Matrix and Ender’s game is the effect of technology on our own lives. The Wachowski brothers suggest that in a world that values technology individuals exist in a simulacra rather than reality. In The Matrix, the entire human race is used as batteries, harvested for the use of machines, existing in “a prison for the mind,” the matrix. Foreshadowing this revelation, Neo reaches for a green book in the opening scenes titled “Simulations and...
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