Study Guide

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Alienation

Alienation

What if we told you that E.T. is a film about two pint-sized aliens? Hear us out: E.T. is a literal alien. Obviously. He's not from around here, and he doesn't exactly fit in. But Elliott is also an alien in his own right, struggling to find acceptance and fit in, in spite of his differences. Michael—and especially his friends—treats him like an outsider. His mother doesn't listen to him. He's a textbook middle child.

And just as E.T.'s fellow extraterrestrials ditched him on Earth, Elliott's father abandoned him to soak up the sun in Mexico with some chick named Sally. Elliott is a solitary boy in need of an ally, and E.T. finds Elliott when Elliott needs him most.

Questions About Alienation

  1. When do you think Elliott feels the most alienated in the movie?
  2. Could E.T.'s fellow aliens have left him behind intentionally?
  3. How has Elliott's dad's departure affected each member of Elliott's family?
  4. Elliott gives E.T. his name when he sketches him in science class. E and T are the first and last letters of Elliott's name. Do you think this is significant? What does it represent?

Chew on This

E.T. may be a visitor from another planet, but Elliott is more of an alien than E.T. is.

E.T. is a substitute father for Elliott because he protects him, teaches him things, and helps him grow up.