The community of the Nostromo isn't made up of family, friends, or neighbors, but the far more perilous, far more volatile community of co-workers on the job.
Brace yourself, Shmoopers, for some serious inter-office politics.
The Nostromo's crew is there to do a job and get paid: in other words, they're motivated by self-interest, although that self-interest quickly shifts from lining their space wallets to staying alive. Is this a crew of individuals, or are they going to be able to work together and triumph? Let's put it this way: you can't spell Alien without "I."
Questions About Community
Who would you say is the most concerned with his or her fellow crew-members? Who would you say is the least concerned? What does this tell you about community in the film?
In what moments do you see the crew of the Nostromo coming together? Contrast these to the moments you see them arguing with each other? Does this suggest anything to you about the theme of community in the film?
How does Ripley being the lone survivor of the Nostromo play into the theme of community? Does this turn of events suggest to you anything about community in the horror genre as a whole?
Does the alien being a lone wolf, so to speak, add anything to this theme?
Chew on This
The alien helps equalize the community of the Nostromo. When everyone is worried about survival, everybody is equal.
There are several clues that Ash is not part of the community of the Nostromo, like when Parker asks him to get out of his seat to Ash eating away from everyone else at the dinner table before Kane's death. Then again, maybe he just didn't want to be in the splash zone.