Week 2 Response / Eugenics and Science Fiction of Gattaca

According to the Marriam-Webster dictionary, eugenics is defined as a science that tries to improve the human race by controlling which people become parents.  In the film Gattaca (1997), the citizens struggle with genetic stratification, wherein one group is dominant and privileged based on the genetics that they are born with, and the naturally-born group without modified genetics, as such a citizen as Vincent.  Unlike most citizens in Gattaca, Vincent was not born with the genetic engineering that his brother Anton had, and thus he fell behind in terms of becoming part of the more privileged social class, which is essentially determined by one’s DNA.  Vincent and Anton’s parents originally wanted Anton to be born without any genetic modification, but the doctor insisted upon it, because he wanted what was best for him.  In the film, those who are genetically disadvantaged are discriminated and looked down upon.  Despite having the brain capacity, drive, and knowledge for going into space, Vincent still lacked strength, stamina, and poise that was required to become part of the space crew.

In this clip, Vincent explains why he must go through the struggle of adopting another’s identity in order to move up and pursue what he wants to, additionally experiencing what the higher classes do.  He refers himself as a de-gene-erate, which is loseley defined as an underprivileged, and non-genetically engineered citizen of Gattaca.  He additionally refers to Eugene having to keep up with samples so that Vincent’s identity is not discovered, he suffered from the burden of perfection.  Additionally, in Eugene’s home, his staircase is the shape of DNA, and has he struggles to climb it because of his legs being unusable.  The staircase and his bind to his wheelchair resemble a metaphor of his struggle to live up to societal expectations of his perfect genetic makeup.

– Rasmikah (Mikah) Al-arfaj

I believe I signed up to talk about Week 3’s material, so I would be discussing Week 4.



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