Study Guide

The Terminator Perseverance

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Winston Churchill once famously said, "If you are going through hell, keep going" (source). In The Terminator, that advice holds true—whether you're going through hell, or whether hell is coming after you in the form of a six-foot killer cyborg sporting a crazy big gun.

Reese and Sarah show perseverance in their will to survive against incredible odds. Even the Terminator shows perseverance in its unwillingness to give up on its mission.

The difference? The Terminator is programmed for a single objective. It couldn't deviate from its mission even if it wanted to. In fact, it can't want not to do it. For Sarah and Reese, on the other hand, giving up would be the easier option. But they don't give up. What pushes them on? Not dying seems a pretty powerful motivation. There's love, too. But the main thing is that they have a goal, and it's a whopper: they have to save humanity.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. Where do you think Sarah's perseverance comes from?
  2. Do you see any human characters as lacking perseverance? If so, who? Why do you think so?
  3. Would you say the Terminator truly has perseverance? Why or why not?

Chew on This

The film suggests that perseverance is inherent within all people. Even secondary characters like Matt and Vukovich show it.

Although we never meet him, John Connor's backstory suggests that his perseverance was key in humanity's victory over the machines.

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