Study Guide

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Appearances

Appearances

GERTIE: I don't like his feet.

ELLIOTT: They're only feet, you little twerp.

We'd argue that—be it human or alien—the average foot isn't anything to write home about. Ugly feet span galaxies. See? We have so much in common.

MICHAEL: Maybe he's some animal that wasn't supposed to live; kind of like those rabbits we saw. He could be a monkey or an orangutan.

ELLIOTT: A bald monkey?

GERTIE: Is he a pig? He sure eats like one.

Listen, Gert: If you'd been living on Reese's Pieces you'd found on the ground, you'd be pretty hungry, too.

MICHAEL: Did you explain school to him?

ELLIOTT: How do you explain school to higher intelligence?

MICHAEL: Maybe he's not that smart. Maybe he's like a worker bee who knows only how to push buttons or something

ELLIOTT: He is too smart.

MICHAEL: Okay, I just hope we don't wake up on Mars or something, surrounded by millions of little squashy guys.

Do you think Michael's skepticism is justified, or is he being too hard on the "little squashy guy"? And what about Elliott? What makes him so sure that E.T.'s smart?

DOCTOR: Has it lost any hair?

GERTIE: He never had any hair.

The pronoun choices in this brief exchange reveal a lot about the varying attitudes toward E.T. The doctor refers to E.T. as an "it," while Gertie, seemingly over her toe prejudice, refers to E.T. as a "he."

DOCTOR: He's got DNA!

This unnamed doctor may refer to E.T. as a "he," but he is straight-up shocked that E.T. has DNA. Why?

GERTIE: He's not going to hurt you, Mom.

MICHAEL: He's not going to hurt you.

MOM: Michael, get her downstairs!

GERTIE: He's the man from the moon! The man from the moon!

(MOM carries ELLIOTT out of the bathroom.)

ELLIOTT: You don't know him! You don't know him!

This exchange embodies the importance of appearances. Here's why: When Mom first meets E.T., he's dying on her bathroom floor. Not exactly the best first impression. She's scared, she's suspicious, and she doesn't want to listen to what the kids have to say. (In other words, her reaction is pretty typical of all of the adults in the film when they first encounter E.T.) Meanwhile, the kids have already gotten to know him at this point and are confident that he's not a threat.

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