Roy Neary wants to know what the heck is going on. Lacombe wants to explain the mystery of the UFOs, because explaining stuff is what scientists do. And Jillian just wants to learn how to get her son back.
Knowledge is the ultimate prize in Close Encounters. Different characters know different pieces of the whole: Lacombe has the background info on global UFO phenomena; Laughlin recognizes the coordinates for the landing location; the government scientists have the technical skills to prepare for the landing; Roy has firsthand experience of an encounter. It takes the cooperation of all these folks to piece together the truth of what's about to happen.
Questions About Wisdom and Knowledge
What type of character seeks knowledge in the film?
What characters choose to not seek knowledge? What reasons do you see them having for staying in the dark? Does the film take a stand on this?
What are some of the unanswered questions in the film? Why do you think the film choose not to divulge this information for the viewers?
Chew on This
The extraterrestrials have a higher level of knowledge than the humans in this film can ever comprehend.
The extraterrestrials need to learn, too. It's why they keep borrowing our planes and boats from the Bermuda Triangle.