• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Who's Zoomin' Who?": On "Passing" and the Intersection of Race and Humanity in Alien Resurrection

Extracts from this document...


David S. Neale Lewis Gordon AA 10 August 9, 1999 "Who's Zoomin' Who?": On "Passing" and the Intersection of Race and Humanity in Alien Resurrection This paper will detail an observed theme of "passing" in Alien Resurrection (AR). In this film the two characters who pass are Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and Call (Winona Ryder). But instead of passing as a racial other-at least in terms of how we think of phenotypically racial characteristics on the body-Ripley and Call pass for human. Lewis Gordon's reading of Pico Della Mirandola's scheme of humanity assists recognition of this observed theme of passing in AR. In addition, the information about the history of racial passing in Naomi Zack's Race and Mixed Race is of useful comparative value; for as this paper will show, the structuring paradigm involved in human passing in AR seems to correlate, both positively and negatively, with that involved in racial passing. To understand the observation detailed herein, a definition of passing is necessary. For the purpose of this paper, passing refers to: 1) the phenomenon of pretending to be something or someone that one, by definition, is not; and 2) successfully fooling an audience that one really is his/her feigned persona, and not an imposter. ...read more.


In the Alien saga, the human race has always presumed superiority. Whether they were plotting to subjugate the aliens as a military war force, or plotting to kill them because the alien parasitic reproductive cycle involved the loss of human life, the humans have sought mastery and control over the alien species. These humans, then, make a similar move as Europeans made when venturing into Africa to find slaves. The metaphor of space exploration into the threatening blackness of the unknown, and ultimate colonization of "other-wordly" galactic territories, strongly resonates with European colonialism in the "Dark Continent" of Africa. In addition to this alleged superiority, the humans also harness the ability to revive and clone the lives of past humans, hence the theme of resurrection. And mythologically, the power to resurrect life has always been thought to reside in the hands of gods. So in accordance with Gordon's reading, the humans in AR take on a godlike status, instituting a social hierarchy between them and the aliens, who clearly reside at the bottom given their more animalistic nature. If this is the case, one might subsequently wonder who/what represents humans in the hierarchy? In AR, both the hybrid-or mixed-raced- technologically cloned character of Ripley, and the technologically engineered character of Call, "pass" for human in the stated hierarchy. ...read more.


even seems to identify more with the humans-those at the top of the social hierarchy-inasmuch as she is greatly invested in helping them kill the aliens and find a way off the ship. Indeed, Ripley's allegiance definitely does not lie with the aliens-those at the bottom of the social hierarchy in a parallel position to blacks in the racial paradigm. Even when Ripley realizes that she is a "mommy" of a "mixed race" baby alien, she eschews motherhood like a disease, deceptively showing the baby affection only to have it "aborted" by being sucked out of her life into the nothingness of space. Thus, having used both Gordon and Zack to detail how both Ripley and Call pass for human in AR, there is one more minor twist to this observation of passing. That is, if Ripley and Call pass for human, then the godlike status of the "real" humans essentially has them passing for gods, a particular insight I skirted around but did not explicitly state until now. As a result, a dilemma arises, just as it does with the discrimination of race among our Earthly humans: if in the end so many beings-both "humans" and "gods"-really all look alike as humans anyway, then ranking along a social hierarchy is superfluous. Indeed, the utility of its duality and deception escapes me. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Zoology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Zoology essays

  1. This study attempts to explore the basis of people's fear of animals.

    (1+ 0.546) 2(1 - 0.665 -0546 - 0.843 ) 2* 0.665 * 0.546* 0.843) td= -0.178 40.196 0.3223 td= -1.987 With N=29, df = 26 One tailed Alpha = 0.05 t critical = 1.706 Therefore reject null hypothesis: no difference and conclude that the correlation between fear and strangeness is greater than that between fear and harmfulness.

  2. The grasslands of North American are called as prairies; they cover about 1.4 million ...

    away, as long as its base remains intact, new growth follows immediately. Grass leaves are also heavily endowed with silica, which wears down the teeth of grazing animals, and some forbs of this zone (locoweeds, for example) are highly toxic to grazers.

  1. Human modernization leads to outbreaks of the Ebola virus.

    In contrast, technologically advanced humans can also be considered an exotic species to the African rainforests, which have been virtual undisturbed for thousands of years. Besides the local pygmy groups that have lived and probably coevolved with other organisms in the depths of the rainforests for hundreds of generations, technologically

  2. Evolutionary Arms Races.

    An evolutionary arms race may be characterised as follows: - One or more individuals within a plant population develops a new, genetically based defensive trait by random mutation or recombination. - Individuals within this trait suffer lower levels of insect herbivory than other individuals within the entire population.

  1. This paper attempts to investigate whether the associated consequences of global warming could lead ...

    occur in British coastal waters for only part of the year due to seasonal migration patterns. Common Name Latin Name Frilled shark Chlamydoselachas anguineus Seven gilled shark Heptranchias perlo Bramble shark Echinorhinus brucus Shortfin mako Isurus oxyrinchus Smooth hammerhead shark Sphyrna zygaena Table 3: Vagrant shark species found in British coastal waters.

  2. Only Humans Have Souls. DiscussMost definitions state that a soul is the spiritual ...

    The only problem with giving animals souls concerns at what level do you stop? If a dog has a spiritual aspect or soul, does a chipmunk? A bird? A worm? What about a fly? Or bacteria? In fact, perhaps all living things have a spiritual aspect.

  1. When One Becomes Two

    There were several characteristics in which the populations differed. The average mass of the St. Kitt's rodent was 83g, while it was 86g for the rodent from Nevis. The average length of the rodents from St. Kitt's was 21.8 cm, with the average length of the Nevis rodents 23.3 cm.

  2. A Study of the Fishes Caught by Anglers in Downtown Madison, Wisconsin.

    Additionally, some frequency distributions were analyzed. These included the sizes of perch and bluegill and crappie (Figures 5 - 7), and the CPUE for each site (Figures 8 -11). Most of the analysis presented in the Tables and Figures does not include Lake Wingra because no fishes were caught there.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work