Study Guide

Alien Technology and Modernization

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Technology and Modernization

Have you ever had that feeling of dread when your smartphone or computer breaks down and you can't Instagram a picture of your fro-yo or listen to the latest Katy Perry song?

It's a tough life.

Now imagine you're exploring an unknown area of space when your tech suddenly fails you. You're not just going to be feeling vulnerable; you're going to be feeling dead. We've survived as a species largely because of our technology, and that goes triple in space. Alien is terrifying not just because the alien is scary but because our tech alone can't conquer it.

Questions About Technology and Modernization

  1. How does technology successfully serve the crew of the Nostromo? How does it fail them? What does this suggest to you about the theme?
  2. List Ash's actions and interactions with others from before and after he is revealed to be a robot. What do these suggest to you about technology and its relationship to people in the film?
  3. Would you say the alien is ever truly threatened by technology? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Although the film suggests all's well that ends well, there is a sinister undertone to that final shot. Ripley is in the hypersleep chamber as the technology of the shuttle flies her through space. But wasn't putting her trust in technology exactly what brought her to that unknown planetoid? And isn't she in the same predicament now?

Like the technology of the Nostromo, Ash breaks down once introduced to the planetoid—subtly at first, but culminating in his spectacular system collapse at the hands of Parker.

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