Comparison Between the Sparrow and the Mission

Topics: Society of Jesus, Children of God, Mary Doria Russell Pages: 3 (876 words) Published: May 16, 2013
Sparrow/ Mission Essay

Music is an important aspect in most cultures. It is usually tied to beliefs, traditions, and can completely represent a culture. When comparing the book the Sparrow to the movie the Mission, one can clearly see that both are examples of media where music is important. Although the use of music is similar between the movie and the book, the events that follow when using music in first contact largely differs.

In the Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell, a group of people are sent to an alien planet after receiving radio transmissions from another solar system. Music becomes a central theme instantaneously because these radio transmissions were of the aliens singing. The group, before departing for the alien planet, Rakhat, studied this music fervently, and suspected it would be the basis in which first contact would take place. When the radio transmissions were discovered, it was discovered because it was compared to Earth radio transmissions. This comparison was vital because it established a common characteristic between the humans and the aliens on Rakhat. This belief encouraged the thought of making contact with the species on Rakhat, which sets up the plot for the rest of the novel.

One of the crew members, Alan Pace, was an expert on music and was brought along primarily for the purpose of using music to help aid the group when contacting the aliens for the first time. However, Alan Pace died suddenly and without reason soon after the group landed on Rakhat, and therefore was unable to use his expertise in that situation. It worked out, though, being that the group first met the Runa, who disliked music because of the negative connotations it was connected to for their culture. The Runa, lower on the social class ladder than the Jana'ata, were used for food and other miscellaneous purposes by the Jana'ata. Being on top of the social ladder, the Jana'ata were "more cultured" than the Runa. Therefore, the Jana'ata had their own...
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