The Influence of Technology on Personal Relationships in Gattaca and Feed

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In Feed and Gattaca, how do the characters’ relationships with technology influence their connections with each other? The world today revolves around human identity and self-worth. Although many contend against the notion that your social status is determined by what you possess, as opposed to what you have achieved. Integrating with the theme of identity, a frequently explored idea in fiction is one that conceptualises a nearing future that will be tyrannised by technology. The dystopian pieces: Feed and Gattaca gives us the impression that this social prejudice is not only present today but will prevail for generations to come. M.T. Anderson has explored this idea in Feed (2002), though the characters Titus and Violet, representing two clashing social classes in the late 21st century. In the cinematic production Gattaca (1997), lies a civilisation where you can opt for a child straight out of a catalogue. Both of these pieces indicate as to how evolving technology manipulates communications and affairs in the future.

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Ameliorating technology hinders family ties. Made evident in Gattaca, interrelations between father and son are virtually erroneous at birth. ‘I’ll never understand what possessed my mother to put her faith… in God’s hands rather than those of her local geneticist.’ This scene depicts the current social norm in the dystopian future is to have children ‘in what has become the natural way.’ “Heart disorder: 99% probability, early fatal potential, life expectancy: 30.2 years.” When Vincent’s father is made aware of his sons’ physical abnormalities, he immediately comes to the conclusion that Vincent is not ‘worthy’ of the name ‘Anton’. Uttering to the doctors, ‘No, not Anton. Name him Vincent.” Throughout his childhood, Vincent is constantly shadowed by his favoured brother Anton. This is personified through heights on the wall, the game ‘chicken’ and, of course, DNA.

Even at an early age, Vincent is told by his parents to be ‘realistic…The only way that [he would] see the inside of a spaceship, is if [he] were cleaning it.’ Vincent is brought up being belittled by his own family, who never really prioritised to discern and accept who he is. To juxtapose, Feed allures you into the new, electronic world that disengages you from the old one where your family is. Being brought up with the Feed inhibits you from knowing who your family truly is, due to society being caught up in their own loops of entertainment through the chips in their heads. This is shown emphatically in Titus’ family, especially since the real name of Titus’ little brother is never actually mentioned throughout the entire book. Instead, he is referred to as “Smell Factor’, not being called by his real name even when Titus’ father reiterates to Titus, “Your brother has a name”. Disunion and disconnection are very prominent between Titus and his father, as his father does not even know how to interact aptly with his son. Validating that the discrimination and categorisation that have come as a derivative from evolving technology has corroded relations between families.

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