Stephanie Sadaka Mr. Sisti April 26th, 2010 ENG 4U1 Literary Insight Paper After reading the novel1984and watching the movie Gattaca, I was able to perceive many concepts and similarities and differences between both pieces of art. Gattaca, directed by Andrew Niccol, shows a story of a society where life is controlled by genetics, rather thaneducationor experiences. Based on your DNA, society determines where you belong, and your future. This allows no room for people to gain experiences and to grow, as they are confined to a specific lifestyle.
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It is evident however in the film that Vincent tries to violate societies’ structure, by playing the role of a navigator, using his blood samples and urine. George Orwell, the author of 1984, shows a similar concept, where life is controlled by the Party and where the main character, Winston, tries to defy the Party. Although it is obvious that both works have a dystopian society, the societies within it struggle to achieve a utopian society instead.
Through its intense depiction of struggles to fit in and altering way of life to be accepted in society, Gattaca enhanced my understanding of the impact that surveillance has in 1984 and how it has limited the people to prosper in life within society. Due to the dystopian society, the totalitarian government is enforcing surveillance which plays a negative impact on the characters and the plot. Throughout the novel 1984, it is noticeable that surveillance throughout the city plays a deep role in the growth of the characters.
Surveillance had an underlying impact on the love connection between the main characters Winston and Julia. When engaging in a love affair, it is vital to spend time with one another and to show affection. The surveillance that the Party has enforced upon the society hindered their love connection and the ability to pursue a serious relationship. By not allowing citizens to show love and affection to one another, they are enforcing loneliness and isolation within the society, which ultimately leads to the lack of social skills and ability to care or love.
Gattaca allowed me to understand this issue in 1984, because in the film Gattaca, the love between Vincent and Irene was kept a secret from society as they couldn’t show love and affection towards one another in public. This caused them to rebel against society, by meeting up secretly and showing affection towards one another outside the public eye. The surveillance that the Party enforced within society did not allow the people to enjoy hobbies or areas of work they may excel in. Instead of allowing citizens to spend time doing things they may enjoy, they obligated them to do what the Party needs.
This is obviously shown when Winston is trying to write in his journal in his room. Instead of freely writing about the topic of his choice, he sits in the corner to write because he fears the consequences that the Party may enforce on him if they found out. Gattaca opened me up to this idea due to the fact that Vincent’s dream is to travel to space, yet due to his genetic make up, society does not permit him to do what he enjoys. People are under surveillance at all times, therefore they may never experience what they enjoy due to the constant fear of being caught.
Not only did Gattaca allow me to view a different side of how love and hobbies may be restricted due to surveillance, it has also given me a view on how surveillance causes people to change who they truly are. Instead of expressing their true selves and bringing forth their assets to society, the characters are wearing a mask around others, by acting or pretending to be like someone they are not. Vincent in Gattaca is hiding his true identity in society in order to pursue his life long dream of travelling to space. In order not to get caught, he must mirror the life of another character and must not let society find out his true identity.
This broadened my understanding about the Party’s surveillance on society and the effect it had on the growth of the characters. Due to the Party’s constant surveillance over people, the characters are hiding their true selves and playing the role as a perfect citizen in front of the cameras, as they are confined to a specific lifestyle and in order not to face the Party’s consequences. Throughout the novel, Winston is always hiding his thoughts about the Party and about Big Brother, although he is completely against it.
However, in order to ensure that he does not get caught, he must act as though he loves them and agrees with their power over society. Surveillance is shaping these characters to be a perfect representation of what they are expected to be, instead of being who they are. In conclusion, it is evident that surveillance has taken a toll on the characters in these pieces of art. Gattaca helped me understand and notice the severe impact that surveillance has on society and the impact it has on the lives of the citizens in 1984.
The characters are covering their true selves in order to be accepted and to fit within the society. Not only is surveillance restricting their ability to show love and affection, it is also preventing the characters from expressing what they enjoy, and being who they are by living to their full potential. This new perspective has helped me understand the underlying significance that surveillance has on society in both 1984 and the film Gattaca and the restrictions it placed on the many characters.