Compare and Contrast Frankenstein and Blade Runner
Various perspectives of which some are spiritual and others are scientific guide human identity. Frankenstein and Blade Runner are two literature pieces that clearly portray the differences that exist in these perspectives that help define human identity. While some people define identity based on such things as family, community, and affluence, others define it as merely the ability to have emotions such as anger and joy based on the conditions of one’s environment and experiences.
Frankenstein is based on how different experiences within one’s environment contribute to the formation of human identity as we grow up. These experiences act as lessons, which one carries to their adult life. Family experiences, associations with family members and the community at large play a great role in shaping one’s identity. At the same time, affluence and poverty also contribute to one’s identity in society, which is evident in the character Beaufort. Having lived an affluent life and unfortunately experiencing poverty, his pride and magnificence was ruined, thus he chose to relocate to another town as opposed to live with the shame of moving from affluence to abject poverty. “Having paid his debts, therefore, in the most honorable manner, he retreated with his daughter to the town of Lucerne, where he lived unknown and in wretchedness” (Shelly).
Blade Runner on the other hand centers identity as the ability for humans to portray emotion such as anger. The movie explores the ability of science to contribute to human evolution in ways that can make it hard to distinguish between real humans and ‘replicants’ as the movie refers to them. Based on the scientific development of human replicates, the ‘Nexus Six’, the movie portrays the ability of science to outdo other social perspectives in creating human identity purely based on scientific knowledge. The scientific replicates are so identical to humans and even have the ability to “develop their own emotional responses – hate, love, fear, anger, envy” (Bukatman 23). This underscores the scientific perspective of evolution, which gives humans their identity, and the ability to develop identical replicates based on scientific knowledge.
Clearly, the Frankenstein literature piece is based on spiritual perspectives and how they often differ with scientific perspectives in shaping human identity. The writer narrates of his admirable childhood that was based on a friendly family unit guided by the spirituality, kindness, and indulgence of her parents. His interest in the workings of nature, science, is evident when she says, “It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learnâ€¦” (Shelley). This interest was explored in the study of different philosophers and scientists such as Isaac Newton. This literature piece also brings out the profound differences between science and spirituality as evident in the reaction of the narrator’s father based on his interest to pursue and understand science when he said, “Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash.” (Shelley). In light of this, it is clear as the author implies that though one’s identity is largely defined by their experiences growing up, they develop personal ambitions and dreams, which often are not in line with that identity. In general, people become who they are based on a whole lot of aspects that work together to create identity including experiences growing up, knowledge acquired through learning and what has been imparted in them by parents and the community.
The narrator in the Frankenstein piece went ahead to explore their interest in science based on individual ambitions they developed despite the spiritual identity that his parents bestowed upon him growing up. Blade Runner focuses on the possibilities of science to facilitate the evolution of human identity. This is seen in the association of Batty and Deckard, which though strained throughout the movie, Batty is able to save Deckard from falling off the roof. As a result, Blade Runner suggests strongly that human identity is largely based on human emotions that make people express feelings of anger, empathy, and sympathy towards other humans (Bukatman 31). These emotions are shaped by previous experiences in our lives that created memories that elicit different emotions. This is one aspect in which both literature pieces; Frankenstein and Blade Runner have in common. They both depict the fact that experiences contribute to the formation of human identity.
Bukatman (35) also brings out the importance of emotions in formation of human identity. When the ‘replicants’ developed human emotions, it became hard to distinguish them from normal humans. The same case is clear when the ‘replicants’ are implanted with memories as in the case of Rachel, which helped her develop an identity based on those memories just as a real human does. In Frankenstein, life experiences such as illness, death, crime, and poverty as the narrator experiences throughout his life help to shape identity. These life events all contribute to the formation of human identity as the writer says, “I shall relate events that impressed me with feelings which, from what I had been, have made me what I am.” (Shelley).
From both literature pieces, it is clear that human identity is determined by aspects such as our previous experiences and the emotions that those experiences elicit in us. Frankenstein expresses clearly that our interactions with people contributes to the experiences that end up forming our identity. Family and friends play a big part in the formation of our identity. Blade Runner also stresses on the fact that associations do contribute to the formation of human identity as seen in the association of Batty and Deckard as well as Deckard and Rachel. Overall, though there may be conflict between spiritual and scientific perspectives of human identity, there are common things that contribute to identity in both perspectives. Such are past experiences, emotions, and associations within our environment.