Blade Runner1 is a Ridley Scott adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? As a dystopia (dark future) it uses the glazed cinematic techniques of film noir that tends to distance us from the characters and actions.
| This is a Gothic Novel. Mary claims the inspiration for her story came from a vision she had during a dream. Her story was the only one completed and has become one of the most famous Gothic novels of all time. Mary Shelley uses the narrative device of a Ship’s Captain retelling a tale through epistemology (letters to his sister) he has heard from an obsessed distraught Scientist he has rescued from an ice floe in the remote Arctic Ocean.
| Blade Runner has a strong environmental focus. It was only after the publication of Rachel Carson’s (An American writer and scientist) Silent Spring, (1961) that people began to recognise the potential of human disaster through the vandalism perpetrated by improved technology. Rather than resilient, nature was fragile and vulnerable when fundamental natural rhythms were ceaselessly destroyed by ruthless exploitation by ever increasing mammoth technology. If Ecosystems are repeatedly defeated, human life will be diminished and likely extinguished. The bleak vision portrayed illustrates a chaotic nuclear holocaust, ecological fragility through soil depletion and acid rain. In BR. man has not only subdued the earth but conquered and utterly defeated it. As a Canadian Indian Chief queried; “When we kill the last fish, what will we eat – money? The sixties and seventies were times of great social, cultural and historical changes with changes in attitudes in s*xual relations, racial integration and political upheaval.
| As Europe moved away from a world dominated by superstition and religious faith to one of empirical scientific research and logical deductive reasoning, the Romantics helped to retain some of the personal and emotional compassion that makes us fully human. The swing towards a more humanistic attitude towards fellow mankind and the reverence for the natural over the man made is clearly depicted in Frankenstein. Shelley questions the eighteenth-century scientific rationalists' optimism about, and trust in, knowledge as a pure good. While the Philosophers believed in the perfectibility of man through reason, the Romantics put their faith in the ‘immortal spirit’ of the individual’s emotions. The Romantics maintained suspicions about the dark inscrutable workmanship of the Scientific and empirical attempts to improve on nature. Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow. (101)
| Blade Runner depicts an industrialised society where Technology is supreme. The climate – appears a nuclear winter poisoned by fall-out- dark, dank, with constant acid rain. The City is full of human misery – crowded, homeless, so anyone with good health has moved off earth. Technology, from fire(over cold& dark) , the wheel(over gravity and distance), flight and genetic engineering all contribute to moving away from the natural rhythms of life and from what it means to be a human being. - Don McLean: “developments in technology and communications are not liberating but controlling, “I always wanted to be free.” The Dehumanising effects of technology: · Loss of power – fulfilment · Isolation from others · Loss of empathy - Increasing disconnection or alienation from society · Loss of people skills - •Loss of heroism – only celebrities
| This is a cautionary tale warning about the threat to a diminished humanity posed by Science. Both Walton, the narrator and Frankenstein are challenging the frontiers of human knowledge and will suffer for it. Shelley parallels Walton's...
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