What is one instance in the film where a name deliberately reveals or conceals something important about the identity of a character?

HOWEVER, choosing to do it will give you a head start on the long essay question for the Final Exam. As you’ll see on the Final Exam review sheet, if you watch Gattaca and write an essay of about 300 words in answer to any of the five questions below you will have the chance to upload that on the final. All that work will have been done by you in advance.

Of course, you could also choose simply to write the essay during the limited time period of the exam itself. But still, at least you’ll know what long essay question you’ll be picking so you’ll have thought about your answer.

If you don’t watch the movie it won’t make much sense to pick this option.

Below you’ll see five questions that can help focus your viewing of this movie, as well as help you prepare for the Final Exam.


Guide to Watching “Gattaca”

I) Names play an important role in the tracing personal identity throughout the film. Note when and how characters are named, change names, conceal or reveal names.

What is one instance in the film where a name deliberately reveals or conceals something important about the identity of a character? (For example, the main character, Vincent, has as a last name “Freeman.” That family name is significant because it says something about a quality (“freedom”) that he is striving to experience throughout the course of his life.)

II) An important theme in the film involves the way by which many of the characters are in search of their identity. More to the point, characters like Vincent/Jerome, Jerome/Eugene and Irene are constantly expected to verify or validate who they are via objective criteria such as DNA sampling. The irony is that these objective forms of verification are often deployed in the service of concealing

Describe an instance in the film with one character in mind where such a thing takes place.

III) Briefly describe how one of the following environmental symbols functions in the film: 1) water/ocean, 2) sun/light, 3) blood or 4) sky/outer space.

IV) The opening credits of the film include two quotes: 1) “Consider God’s handiwork: who can straighten what He hath made crooked?” (Ecclesiastes 7:13) and 2) “I not only think we will tamper with Mother Nature. I think Mother Nature wants us to.” (from Willard Gaylin) Initially these two quotes present a view of nature that is in tension, one where God’s power to create and order things is paramount, and another where the human capability to manipulate our own being is encouraged. Are these two viewpoints necessarily conflicting? Why or why not?

V) When being interviewed by the detectives (one of whom ends being Vincent/Jerome’s long-lost brother!) the Director says “No one exceeds his [genetic] potential.” In your opinion, is this true? Why or why not?