Study Guide

The Terminator Mortality

Mortality

News flash: we're all gonna die. But that doesn't mean we have to go at the hands of an indestructible cyborg sent from the future with the sole purpose of murdering us.

Yet that's the exact situation faced by Sarah Connor in The Terminator. Borrowing liberally from the slasher horror genre, the Terminator's pursuit of Sarah leaves a trail of bodies in its wake. Nothing—not love, not the authorities, and not a backpack full of explosives—can prevent this thing from doling out the death.

Is there any hope for Sarah?

Questions About Mortality

  1. As Reese explains, the machines rose as the result of a defense network gaining consciousness. How does the machines' backstory fit into the theme of mortality?
  2. Sarah is the only character to survive the Terminator's rampage, making her an example of the Final Girl character type. How does the Final Girl relate to mortality?
  3. Would you say the film's message about humanity's future is ultimately positive? Why or why not?

Chew on This

In The Terminator, the only characters that kill are machines. No human character takes the life of another human.

The only character we know to have survived the war with the machines is John Connor. Sarah dies before the year 2029, and Reese dies in the past.

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