Alienation can be defined or rather described as a state of separating or withdrawing of the affection of a person from a position or object that he or she was formerly attached to. The concept of alienation has been found to occur either on a personal level or on a group level. In line with this, the theme of alienation therefore has existed in the lives of human beings for as long as any known recorded history. Following this point, it can be argued that the theme of alienation is not just a past literal concept but also exists in the modern literal world. On the contrary, one cannot argue that this concept is only found in the contemporary literal world and not in the past literal work. Rather, the concept of the theme of alienation has existed throughout the literal history of mankind. Some of the literal works that clearly exhibit the theme of alienation include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the film ‘Blade Runner’, directed by Ridley Scott.
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To begin with, the mentioning of the theme of alienation in the novel Frankenstein cannot in any way be done without mentioning two of the major characters in this novel, i.e. Victor and the Monster. In line with this, there is an aspect of isolation that is seen in the life of Victor when he separates himself from his family and apparently his friends. This facet of isolation emanates from the fact that Victor had a strong interest in science and as a result devotes his life to study and obtain more knowledge in it. In reference to Shelley (1869), Victor argues that no one had interest in what he was studying and his discovery and that is why he chooses to pursue his studies alone without conferring to anyone else (31). Therefore, pursuance of his interest in science is a reason enough that induces Victor to seclude himself from the rest of the society, which to him have no interest in what he desires to study and in the knowledge that he is accumulating each and every day as he studies.
The issue of alienation in this case results in unspeakable consequences in the life of Victor. As he pursues his interests, he creates a Monster that becomes an object of scorn in the society in which he lives. During this time, Victor separates from his family and does not take a single moment to set aside time in order to visit his family and friends. Apart from alienating himself from his family and friends, Victor finds himself totally separated from the general society. One can argue from this point that alienation in most cases results in evil that cannot be expected from a particular person. In this case, Victor, as a result of alienating himself from his family, friends and the general society creates a Monster that commits different evils in the society. He says that he had been the author of unalterable evils, and I lived in daily fear lest the Monster whom I created should penetrate some new wickedness (Shelley 72).
Alienation is also depicted in Ridley Scott’s film ‘Blade Runner’. To begin with, human beings try to separate themselves from the common work or rather labor that they are mandated to do. In line with this, they create Replicants as a way of easing the responsibility that man has in terms of labor. Therefore, these Replicants are supposed to work as slaves to man. However, it is important to note that, just as Victor in the novel Frankenstein manages to create a Monster that has disastrous effects on the society, the creation of these Replicants that results in man’s alienation from his responsibility only manages to create a disaster rather than fulfilling the purpose for which they are created (Ryan 2010).
The creation of a Monster by Victor is followed by a fact that he hates this Monster since it is not as good as he expected it to be. In line with this, his desire of creating something in the form of a human being and putting life in it vanishes upon completing his work and seeing what he has created. As a result, Victor finds out ways that he could employ to separate himself from what he had already created. In line with this, Victor runs away from this Monster and believes in his heart that he would remember it no more (Shelley 74). However, whereas he was physically alienated from what he had created, this separation does not last forever as his creature works on getting revenge against him. It is also remarkably important for one to understand that the Monster is also alienated from the society in the sense that people do not appreciate it as a creature in nature. Instead, due to its perceived ugliness, human beings totally alienate themselves from this Monster and this creates an element of hatred too in this Monster towards human beings.
This account is similar to what happens in the film ‘Blade Runner’. When creating robots that were commonly referred as Replicants, human beings want to alienate themselves from labor and instead leave these Replicants to perform these jobs. However, after creating them, human beings separates themselves from these Replicants by banishing them from earth hoping that they would only work for them on off-world colonies. Whereas human beings finds it possible to separate themselves from these organic robots, this is just done but for a while. It is later seen that these Replicants finds their way into the earth with an aim of executing revenge against their creators (Ryan 2010).
In the novel ‘Frankenstein’ and the film ‘Blade Runner’, the creators of the Monster and the Replicants respectively, i.e. human beings alienate themselves from their creation. In fact, these creators work on finding a different world that would enable them to live away from what they have created. In essence, the theme of alienation is clearly depicted in these instances as human beings seek for separate lives from what they have created. However, one of the issues that arise as a result of this alienation is revenge. In the case of Victor, when he finds out that he can no longer stand the presence of the Monster, he runs away. However, the Monster works out on ways of finding him and carrying out its revenge on him. The Monster swears that whereas Victor could blast its other passions, revenge must be carried out on him (Shelley 133).
The film ‘Blade Runner’ too exemplifies a similar case to that of Victor and the Monster. Therefore, the end result shows human beings having to fight against what they had created (Ryan 2010). In other words, whereas human beings are the ones that create the Replicants in this film, after their alienation from the creatures they created, they are put in a position of having to fight their creation. Therefore, the novel and the film create in the mind of their audience an idea that alienation has a way of creating enmity in the society. With this in mind, it can be argued that alienation is the major creator of the problems that are depicted in the novel and the film.
It is also important to realize that whereas human beings alienate themselves from what they had created, the creation desired to be united to human beings and since it could not achieve, it ended up separating itself from human beings and develop hatred that induces an urge of vengeance on human beings. For instance, the Monster is alienated from human beings as a result of the fact that it is not accepted in the society (Shelley 133). On the other hand, the Replicants are banished on earth, irrespective of the fact that they are created to help human beings in terms of labor. In line with this, it can be summed up that alienation of the Monster and the Replicants from human beings is as a result of the fact that human beings does not want to associate with them.
The novel and film portrays a particular form of alienation that focused on feelings. The feelings of human beings at first focus on loving their creation. However, after having created them, their feelings of love and passion towards their work of creation separates them from their work and instead, hatred and the feelings that their creation are unworthy to live with in the society sets in. This happens also in the film. Whereas the Replicants are created for the sake of dealing with labor issues in the society, this change and these Replicants are banned from earth (Ryan 2010). Therefore, in both cases there is an alienation of feelings that there initially presents when the Monster and the Replicants were being created.
The past remains also as an issue that has to be dealt in both scenarios, i.e. in the film ‘Blade Runner’ and the novel ‘Frankenstein’. Victor in the novel ‘Frankenstein’ runs away by relocating to a different region hoping that he would be able to alienate himself from the past that was so haunting and disgusting. Therefore, when Victor relocates, he believes that the memories of his past will be overcome by the new place he had found for himself (Shelley 91). On the other hand, Deckard, one of the characters in the film ‘Blade Runner’ continually escapes from his past as he pursues a life that seems to be more joyous to him (Chapon, Perrot-Minot and Emilie 2010). In order therefore to separate himself from this past, he resigns from the Blade Runner job.
In this regard, both the novel and the film record an element of alienation that that has to do with the past and the present. Whereas these characters alienates themselves from their past by changing their lifestyles or relocating to new places, they are unable to break from the fact that their past is interwoven in their minds and as result makes it difficult for them to alienate themselves from their past. Therefore, while they are physically alienated from their past, they are mentally and emotionally tied up to it thus creating a sense of false alienation.
The theme of alienation therefore plays a critical role in bringing out certain issues in the novel ‘Frankenstein’ by Shelley and the film ‘Blade Runner’. One of these issues is the animosity or rather enmity that exists between the creation and the creator. In other words, the theme of alienation is used to portray some of the consequences of separation of one from the society and from what he or she devotes his or her time to accomplish. There are many facets of alienation that are seen in both the film and the novel. Notably, without these forms of alienation, the completion of these pieces of work might have proved difficult. In line with this, alienation acted as a way of creating a continuation of this work by its author for the novel and director for the case of the film.
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