Frankenstein and Bladerunner Parenting

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Frankenstein and Blade Runner both explore the issue of the role of parenting. Through their texts,
Shelley and Scott express their concern for a lack of parental responsibility. Their concern is shown
through the poor parental guidance illustrated in the texts and the negative repercussions that
follow, for both ???child??™ and ???parent.??™ From comparing both texts on this common issue, the
responder gains deeper insight into the universal importance of the concept.
Both texts individually portray a lack of parental responsibility, and in the novel this is represented
through Frankenstein. Upon the birth of his unnamed ???son,??™ the monster, Frankenstein describes in
horror the monster??™s, ???yellow skin [that] scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries … his
watery eyes, that seemed almost the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set.???
The pejorative, grotesque imagery emphasises Frankenstein??™s rejection of his creation, based purely
on physical appearance. The use anatomical terms also alludes to the macabre influences of the
Gothic novel, an important literary contextual influence on Shelley. Frankenstein, exclaims in the
name of ???Great God!??? and abandons his ???son,??™ as he was ???unable to endure??? such his birth,
condemning it a ???catastrophe.??? The repetition of derogatory epithet??™s used for the monster by
Frankenstein, like ???daemon,??? ???vile insect??? and ???wretch,??? dehumanise the monster, as his ???father??™
fails to recognise him as a human and as his offspring. Frankenstein shows prejudice to his ???child,??™
based on appearance, not fulfilling the parental responsibility of accepting a child for who they are.
Through exposing the responder to this and the latter consequences of Frankenstein??™s actions,
Shelley expresses the integral value of parenting and her concern for parental responsibility.
In Blade Runner, Tyrell is the ???father??™ of the Replicants, whom he had created for the ???Off-world as
slave labour, in the hazardous exploration and colonisation of other planets.??? This section, from the
rolling titles sequence at the start of the film, expresses Tyrell??™s ignorance towards his parental
responsibility over living creatures that he created, with the pejorative, deprecating connotations of
the words ???slave labour??? in reference to his the Replicants. The pervading advertising blimps in one
of the first scenes, hovering menacingly above advertising the Replicants as a ???tireless field
hand[s] … designed especially for you needs,??? also elucidate Tyrell??™s lack of parental responsibility
as he rejects the view of Replicants as humans, they are objectified as ???just an experiment.??? The
blimps also convey the influence of context on Scott, as during the production of the film
consumerism and advertising were the pinnacles of society??™s progress. After Rachael??™s ???Voight-
Kampf??? test, Tyrell comments that, ???Commerce is our goal here are Tyrell.??? This is a difference to
the novel, as Frankenstein had created the monster to progress science and ???penetrate into the
recesses of nature … show how she works in her hiding places,??? while Tyrell??™s core purpose of
creating the Replicants was commercialisation. This dehumanises and commercialises the
Replicants, which is also emphasised by them being ???built??™ for specific roles, like Pris, a sexualised,
???basic pleasure model.??? The responder gains insight into Tyrell??™s attitude towards his offspring,
which is completely ignorant and inhumane. This expresses the influence of Scott??™s historical
context, as during the 1980s commercialisation and globalisation were central to America,
exponentially progressing.
Frankenstein and Blade Runner also convey the consequences of this lacking parental affection, on
the offspring. In the novel, without a father??™s guidance, the monster was not mentally prepared for
the human world. His moral philosophy was not conditioned by a parent??™s love and knowledge of
life. The monster??™s physiological needs were also not upheld by a parent, the monster ???felt cold …
half frightened … instinctively, finding [himself] so desolate.??? The use of sensory words, such as
???cold,??? in this quotation enable the responder to relate to the monster, and portray that the
traditional family structure is imperative. In a tripartite construction, the monster continues that he
???was a poor, helpless, miserable wretch.??? The results of Frankenstein??™s inhumane actions are
elucidated here, through the monster??™s words. The monster also states that, ???when [he] looked
around [he] saw and heard none like [him].??? In a rhetorical question he then painfully ponders,
???was [he], then, a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled and whom all men
disowned??? The responder gains insight into the monster??™s psyche and through Shelley??™s use of
metaphorical language, begins to empathise and understand that a lack of parental guidance is the
core behind the monster??™s ???insatiable thirst for vengeance??? for his ???accursed??? creator, later in the
novel.
In Blade Runner, the Replicants, like the monster, are abandoned, in the ???off-world,??? as slaves.
Scott conveys this through Roy who says that it??™s, ???Quite an experience to live in fear, isnt it
Thats what it is to be a slave.??? This echoes Leon??™s words to Deckard, ???Painful to live in fear, isnt
it??? These two quotations from the dialogue of the film use the repetition of fear, sense and
rhetorical questions to portray the experiences of the Replicants, a consequence of Tyrell??™s lack of
responsibility for his creations. Roy and Leon almost question the audience, who can empathise
with the them, as they do with the monster of Frankenstein. A parallel can be drawn between the
monster??™s first sensations, after being abandoned and alone, ???dark and opaque bodies,??? surrounding
him, and the scene where Pris is alienated on the sordid, dark street of Los Angeles. The influence
of film noir can be seen here, with the uneasy jazz sound track and contrasting dark shadows. Pris
buries herself under refuse and it is clear to the responder that she truly is ???an orphan,??? abandoned
by Tyrell. The monster??™s physiological needs, as he ???felt … hunger and thirst and darkness,??? are
mirrored through Pris, who exposes to Sebastian that she is ???hungry.??? By comparing these two
characters, the monster of Frankenstein and Pris, who were deprived of the imperative needs
provided through parenting, it can be seen that Scott and Shelley both share a similar concern for
the lack of parental responsibility.
Frankenstein and Blade Runner expose not only the repercussions of parental ignorance on their
children, but the consequences on the parents themselves. Through this, both composers represent
their value of parental responsibility. In the novel, the monster, ???an unfortunate and deserted
creature,??? was exposed to the ???barbarity of man,??? as Frankenstein failed to attend the duties of a
parent. The monster??™s emotions ???gave place to a hellish rage,??? and he ???vowed eternal hatred and
vengeance??? to his creator. The monster murdered Frankenstein??™s family which resulted in a
hell of intense tortures,??? that would ???torment and destroy??? Frankenstein. The high modality of these
phrases exposes the intensity of the monster??™s ???rage,??? which resulted from Frankenstein??™s own
ignorance. Frankenstein had the ???weight of despair and remorse pressed on [his] heart, which
nothing could remove.??? In this quotation, Shelley employs pejorative terms, ???despair,??? and
negation, to expose the emotional and psychological ramifications on Frankenstein. Throughout the
novel this continues and the responder sees Frankenstein??™s dehumanisation, as life was ???torture to
[him]; solitude was [his] only consolation – deep, dark, deathlike solitude.??? The tripartite
construction in this quotation, strengthened by the alliteration, represents the consequences of
Frankenstein??™s blindness to ???the duties of a creator towards his creature.??? An allusion to a Gothic
classic, Coleridge??™s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is used to further represent the emotional
consequences of the monster??™s actions, on Frankenstein. A rhetorical question is used when
Frankenstein asks, ???Could I enter into [marriage] with this deadly weight [of guilt] yet hanging
around my neck, and bowing me to the ground??? The allusion to Coleridge is expressed through the
???weight,??? around Frankenstein??™s neck, a reference to the albatross, and this emphasises the
paralysing consequences of Frankenstein??™s actions, paralleled to those of the Mariner. In this
quotation it is also evident that Frankenstein??™s human relationships are damaged as a result of the
monster??™s actions, and he cannot fulfill traditional family commitments, as he did not provide these
to the monster.
In Blade Runner, the consequences on the ???parent,??™ are different to those illustrated in Frankenstein,
however they still express the concern of parental responsibility. In the scene where Roy had come
???to meet his maker,??? Tyrell, the outcomes of Tyrell??™s ignorance to his ???children??™ are explored.
Tyrell??™s blindness is illustrated through his thick, crystal glasses and the dark lighting in the scene,
obstructing metaphorical and literal vision. Tyrell??™s ironic remark towards Roy, ???The light that
burns twice as bright burns half as long,??? is representative of himself, as the music foreboding,
builds dramatic tension to Tyrell??™s death. Death is the consequence in both texts, with
Frankenstein??™s relatives murdered by the monster, and Tyrell killed by his ???prodigal son.??? Roy kills
Tyrell by gouging out his eyes, which continues the recurring motif of eyes, so that Tyrell may see
clearer what he had done. Scott incorporates close ups of Roy??™s face and diagetic sounds of bone
cracks to expose the physical ???tortures??? or Tyrell, contrasted to Frankenstein??™s emotional and
psychological pain. Through this Scott represents the importance of parenting, by exposing to the
responder the consequences of a lack of parenting, as does Shelley in her novel.F

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