Study Guide

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Appearances

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Let's be real: E.T. isn't exactly a looker—at least not according to Earth's standards of adorableness. He looks like a stack of Shar Pei puppies.

While each person who meets E.T. reacts to him differently, each encounter is marked with fear and suspicion—at least initially. (Sure, Elliott and E.T. become BFFs by the end of the film, but don't forget that when Elliott first meets E.T. he falls down and screams his head off.) But by the end of E.T., Elliott, his family, and even the federal task force get to know the alien and soon discern that appearances, although important, aren't always what they seem.

Questions About Appearances

  1. Some might argue that things that are different are suspicious by definition. Do you agree or disagree? Can you draw any real-world parallels to how E.T. is treated in the film?
  2. Why are the adults slower to connect with, and accept, E.T.?
  3. Put yourself in Elliott's shoes (or pajamas, we suppose): If you found E.T. hiding in the cornfield behind your house, how would you react? What would your first impression of him be?
  4. Where does E.T. fit in the grand lineage of how aliens are portrayed in film?

Chew on This

In spite of E.T.'s strange appearance, Elliott is quick to accept him because children are inherently more tolerant than adults.

Keys and his federal task force are wise to approach E.T. with caution. He's an alien!

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