Remember Kids Kurtz Will Crawl Into Your Room if you Support Colonial Powers.

In “Heart of Darkness” I would agree with Brantlinger that the tone of the novel is certainly not racist. With the setting being Africa, and Conrad depicting the native people who live there with language of the time, it can appear this way with a surface reading. However, even the cannibals are portrayed as a reserved and well grounded group in comparison to Europeans that are also on the ship. In comparison the pilgrims are a much nastier group who have little regard for anything except the money that ivory will bring them. Instead of people the jungle itself acts an unknown entity to be feared and misunderstood. According to Marlow’s account we have more to fear from the setting than any person living in it. The reason for Marlow’s fear is that the jungle will strip away the civilization out of any man who gives into the tremendous freedom that the land brings.

    Out of all the beings in the Congo, Kurtz is both the most affluent and the most corrupted. Other characters describe him as God like. It seems like he has transcended his humanity unlike the lesser Kurtz like pilgrims. Marlow is drawn into this mystery and finds himself haunted instead by what he found in Kurtz. Conrad manages to avoid the traditional stereotype of a corrupt colonizer by stripping Kurtz of most human qualities. Instead the reader is left with a sickly white abomination that has become closer to the ivory he collects than true flesh. Kurtz’s outward appearance is symbolic of ivory, the bleaching of his human characteristics, and also represents how close to death this man has become. Strangely enough Kurtz still has a power of voice that draws in the natives and cultists around him. His appearance takes on a supernatural power because the voice does not fit the body that it came out of any more.

    While the native cultists treat Kurtz as God, I would have to agree with them. Kurtz manages to live up to all their expectations. He carries the demeanor of a hateful God that manipulates his servants until Marlow manages to take him away from the camp. At this point though Kurtz was in bad shape before, like a God cut off from his source of prayer, Kurtz loses his strength and ambition with his loss of position. Kurtz manages to become more disturbing as he gets closer to death. Eventually Kurtz attempt to escape the ship only to have Marlow find him crawling towards his camp closer to some sort of half dead insect than any man or God. It is here that the audience gets to listen about how Kurtz had his ambition for ivory, and his intended purpose for coming to Africa. From this point Kurtz is brought back to the ship only to continue his hallucinatory trip towards death. It is only in his final moments, that Marlow witnesses what he assumes to be a final moment of clarity for Kurtz, where he only utters about “The Horror” before finally giving in and letting his degraded mind die like his body did. Out of all the ways I can take the character of Kurtz, I cannot see a man who both corrupted and was corrupted by colonialism as any type of support for racism.

Northward Bound: Archival research.

I chose to work with the novel “My Arctic Journal” by Josephine Diebitsch Peary. The novel was published in 1983 and is told from Mrs. Peary’s point of view as she travels to Greenland and up into the Arctic Circle with her husband and the rest of the crew. The artifact is in wonderful condition, as far as I can tell it is in the original binding and is constructed with a sturdy paper. The only noticeable age on the book is the coloration of the cover that I assume has aged to it’s current dull yellow color.

In the journal, Peary demonstrates a matter of fact and detail oriented personality. She had a excellent knowledge of the workings of the ship and of cartography. I would guess that these skills were a necessity if you were going to plunge into the hazardous conditions of the arctic circle with a small crew.  Another feature that shows she was a great judge of character is the respect that she has for the Inuit people that are their to greet Mrs.Peary and the rest upon their arrival. She notes that it was good to see that they were hospitable to the crew and did not see them as bothers. Mrs. Peary understood how hard it would be to try and survive this far up and had the mindset to acknowledge those who could survive and learn from them. As a protagonist to her own real life adventure, the capacity that she showed for acting in a tight situation is admirable.

She takes up regular duties on the crew, and saves and then helps to nurse him back to health before they even arrive at the destination. More than anything Mrs. Peary is a woman of action and only seems to stop when she is analyzing something, like how the Inuit people carve a seal and walrus. To relate her to what we have been talking about in class I see her as a progressive figure in many ways. Mrs. Peary does what she can to help the situation of the crew, and nothing is described in the ways of a woman’s role in society. While it is true that these skills could be seen as that in traditional society, out in the Arctic these are necessities that go beyond gender role. Furthermore, with her husband out of the picture, she does an excellent job of taking over his roles as well as her own, these include from helping to build the shelter that they would need, to dragging a wounded animal over the ice to finish it off for dinner.

Other than these roles, this journal lacks the traditional drama of the fictional works we have read in class. I got the sense that she and her husband have a solid relationship without the need of business or an awakening from getting in the way. In fact I did notice one social problem in my entire reading. Even the interactions with the Inuit people were held with respect and tact despite the language barrier. In every sense of the word I can only find respect for a person who managed to balance all the needs and worries that come with trying to travel and live in the hazardous north.

MLA Results

The first work that I am going to look at is, “The Cuckoo’s History: Human Nature in Wuthering Heights” by Joseph Carroll explores what each character represents in the novel. There is a prime emphasis on the naturalistic qualities that characters have. In particular Carroll goes on about how there is a Darwinian identity that follows each generation, that there was a trait that allowed them to thrive in wuthering heights and that while it drives Heathcliff in some of his actions, there is also a desire for himself and others to rebel against the natural order. I am interested in possibly pursuing this, because I feel it ties into the identity of each character, and the identity that lies in the names that they carry.

The second work that I am looking at is titled “’Gypsies’ and Property in British Literature: Orlando and Wuthering Heights” by Abby Bardi. Unfortunately I am still waiting for this on Inter library loan, but it should be in early this week. I am hoping to enjoy a reading that critically looks at the features behind heathcliff that shaped his upbringing. His status as an orphan and as an usurper to the house is important, but none of these would have had the impact if it was not for his racial features. I also want to see discussion on how or if Heathcliff managed to overcome these barriers, because while he does get the property and the money, there is still the mystery of how he got his fortune, and what it would mean for status in England during that Era. I am interested in finding out more about these issues in English culture.

The third work is a part of the book “The Brontës in Context” by Marianne Thormählen, and specifically the chapters titled, “Physical Health, and “Mental Health”. I am also waiting on this book to show up for me in the library mail, but I am excited to learn about the writing context that makes up the characters of “Wuthering Heights”. The ideas on what it means to be healthy is a central theme in the novel and I want to explore how this author thinks how the characters health should be interpreted by the standards of the time. The ideas that mentality and your physical condition are linked is another factor of the novel that I want to look at, and that I hope this work gives me a critical view on.


Works Cited


Bardi, Abby. “‘Gypsies’ And Property In British Literature: Orlando And Wuthering Heights.” ‘Gypsies’ in European Literature and Culture. 105-122. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.


Caldwell, Janis McLarren. “Mental Health.” The Brontës in Context. 344-351. Cambridge, England: Cambridge UP, 2012. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.


Caldwell, Janis McLarren. “Physical Health.” The Brontës in Context. 335-343. Cambridge, England: Cambridge UP, 2012. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.


Carroll, Joseph. “The Cuckoo’s History: Human Nature In Wuthering Heights.” Evolution, Literature, and Film: A Reader. 367-380. New York, NY: Columbia UP, 2010. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.

What is in a Name?

First, let’s get this out of the way, Lockwood is an unreliable person to be narrating the story. This is not the first unreliable narrator I have seen in a Bronte, novel and I am beginning to think that this is a style that the family itself liked to work with. Beyond that he is unreliable, I think that it serves a purpose, to add more exploration to the story. What I mean by this is that the audience will interpret the characters from a variety of angles. Take for example Mr. Heathcliff, we get the impression from Lockwood that he is your typical nobleman sitting on a plot of land, while in reality he is more than just a little rough around the edges. This writing style does well to offset our expectations.

Speaking of expectations, do you all know Catherine? There seems to be a Catherine everywhere you turn in the history and present events of the Wuthering Heights Estate. This shows off a long lineage of ownership that goes into this place. However, the past of heathcliff seems to derail this long history. He shows up almost out of the blue, is adopted and then the trouble starts. Of course Heathcliff’s circumstances are not his own doing at first, but appears to be more of a natural twist of fate to upset the delicate balance of a noble house. Insert your stereotypical intrusion of new blood into an established family tropes here.

The interesting part about this particular intrusion to the estate is the fact that young Heathcliff is an orphan. The present Mr. Heathcliff is considered the lord, so there are no spoilers about what happens to him. But his figure as an imposing and perhaps abusive man are a far cry from what you would expect. Not having a name in the first place, allowed Heathcliff to eventually adopt a name with power for himself. This is an opportunity that someone with a lower class lineage would almost never have the chance to do. The problem with this power, is that Heathcliff had to struggle with himself and others to do it, from a bitter rivalry to being driven out of the house in despair, which only caused further despair to Catherine. Even his love life has been filled with the question whether he truly belongs, and it shows on his character.

When Heathcliff finds the answer out of his own spite and feelings of betrayal to claim revenge, it shows how twisted this struggle has made him. Flash forward to the present issues of a fully vengeful ghost apparently haunting Lockwood, and the audience get’s the picture that this is not a happy household. While Heathcliff holds the name of Wuthering Heights as his own, the events that surround the estate have left a negative impact that matches Heathcliff in more than just a title. The original name of the estate is tainted, and once again this plays with the expectations that Lockwood originally had. A name can hold two separate meanings, the one that you hold to yourself, and the one the reputation that a name has out in the world at large.

Emma, Revision and Rewriting.

My aim in writing this piece on Emma was to break out the contradictions in her character. I focused on the contradiction of marriage, her refusal to accept it as a possibility for her, and at the same time an obsessive game that Emma can not put down. I wanted to explore the dilemma that this put Emma in as a character. I saw her as the world builder that was afraid to become like his or her creation. I chose Harriet as the example of how Emma impresses her will to act as a creator onto others because Harriet is such an impressionable person. Harriet lacks a strong conviction, and also looks up to Emma. With these two traits in combination it is easy to use Harriet as a narrative device and as a literal canvas for Emma to try her schemes on.

    Keeping with the creator motif, if Emma were an artist than Knightley is the work of art that never went according to plan. I believe that he works as a romantic interest for Emma precisely because he can see through everything that she tries to do. Knightley also goes one step farther and calls Emma out on her faults. In my draft I wanted to explore this relationship that forces Emma to acknowledge and overcome her own faults. More than this I wish I went into more detail about how Emma and Knightley play off of each other to represent the two versions of social class. The difference in the two forms, with Emma judging others based on how she perceives the patterns of social maneuvering. Knightley views class based on the character of the person, and how they conduct their character to preserve honor. These representations deserved to be worked on further than what I wrote in my draft.

    The lack of fleshing out the ideas that I presented in my draft are its major weak point. I also feel that the draft was rushed to explain too many details at one time. It may have been better if I chose to focus more on one side of the interaction between Emma’s contradiction and society. I also should have restructured my draft to better explain the creator mentality that Emma has to form a stronger argument.

Weak points aside, I feel that the assessment of Emma as a character, and a comparison for what Austen believed was true gentility is a strong part of the Draft. The ideas themselves are a strong point, and I think that they do a lot to generate thought in the audience.

The portion of the draft that talks about how Emma and Knightley play off of each other is good, and one of my favorite parts. I like that because of her contradictory nature that Emma has such difficulty in realizing that Knightley wants to be with her. These types of character developments that are built up well in the novel provide the best topics for any discussion question and I tried to show this strength in my draft.

Emma: She can match anything, as long as it isn’t two people.

Emma, as a character is seems strange to me, because she is a character who seeks to contradict her own actions, with the reality that she wants to create for herself. She believes herself first to be an expert on romantic issues, However this cannot be further from the truth. She fails repeatedly to match Harriet to anyone, and denies that she will ever be a bride. The reality of a romantic expert who can never find love is a daunting contradiction, that I believe was meant for the audience to attribute to the difficulties of finding a love of ones own in this time period. This theme is further explored with the revelation that Jane and Frank have been engaged the whole time. These two may love each other, but the circumstances of social maneuvering prevented them from being together until the major opposition literally died. In this novel you have to kill off family just to get a decent wife or husband, which is both historically pathetic and solemn at the same time.

Another moral that this romantic travesty brings to the table, is how bad that it is to meddle in someone else’s love life. Harriet is the main target for this moral, and if it was not for the second proposal by Mr. Martin the book would have ended with Harriet a spinster in training. The real problem for this is that Emma in creating her own world with Harriet as the plaything shows the audience how powerless a person of lower standing can be in the face of marriage. Though Harriet is a pushover and holds Emma in higher standards than she deserves, the fact is that the situation is remarkably similar to the plight of Jane and Frank.

The more that Jane weaves her idea of manners into the worlds she attempts to create, romantic or otherwise, the bigger failures they are. However, I do not believe that it is the problem with keeping a high standard of manners that is the problem, but a person’s interpretation of what is the correct social practice that causes the problems. While Emma is the worst example treating the lower financial class as a separate dimension her other half Mr. Knightley does the opposite. Instead he views people based on the character they possess rather than the formality of a haircut. It takes Emma far too long to realize the error in her judgement and it reaches the point where Mr. Knightley is put on the spot because Emma is too dense to realize the truth for herself.

I feel that Emma as a whole is meant to evoke the contradiction of the upper class. While they attempt to carry themselves in high regard, the energy wasted on pandering to a nonsensical social order leads to ruin more than success. Mr. Knightley is more than Emma’s husband, he represents what Austen sees as a true form of gentility. He is the better half that Austen wishes that more people who hold power would find.

History and the Limitation of Fiction

Justin Brewer




Telling Tales of the Past.


What is History, and What is the Limitation of Fiction.


On the topic of how to present a work as something of of History, one has to ask the question, how do they wish to reach their audience. History is a living entity of different mediums that each have their own intrinsic value depending on the information that needs to be processed. This was the goal of my historical fiction on the justice system of early Colonial America. In doing this I wanted to reach out and tell a narrative from a character of my own design. During the research process, I realized that actual cases of colonial law had to be taken with a grain of salt for the reasoning of a witness testimony. The reasoning behind this is that the witness testimony was the only reliable source of evidence that you were going to come across. This inherently has its flaws as a historical source, because the primary source may already be tainted from the inception date by the original eyewitness testimony.

I felt that to best represent the historical reference of Colonial American justice, the perspective of a real life historical figure had to be sacrificed. Much like in a scientific writing the goal is to eliminate the bias present. This comes down to a process of thinking whether it is better to take the character into your own hands, or to rely on the second hand account of a possibly biased and twisted account of an event that was so common considering the politics of Colonial America. So to answer this conundrum I decided to take the risk of creating a scenario of fiction so that I could better utilize the factual information about the colonial justice system, than I could have while attempting to work in the confines of an already rare and potentially flawed scenario.

The next issue that presented itself to me was what time period during the colonial period would I utilize as the source of my setting. I went through several possible answers, and my first choice was the 1800’s. However, as I researched this more I realized that there was a staggering difference between the justice system of Early Colonial America, which was based off the concept of English Common Law. This early system was the focus that I wanted to explore in the unfair treatment of supposed criminals that often came to the colonies to start over with a fair chance. Not to be thrown away without the proper chance to defend yourself against any accusations. Furthermore the setting of early Boston interested me because it allowed for a character that could still be considered into the mix of a bustling life, but with the ability to be located along the outskirts of a growing colony, that keeps a nice mix of a rural hardship, that compliments the early laws of the time.

The choice of using murder over a more, common offense was a simple course of action. In this narrative I wanted the risk of my characters guilt to go much farther than a simple whipping or time on the stocks. While these punishments were certainly more common at the time, In the research I learned that these lighter offenses would often carry little to no jail or trial time, and just result in a quick punishment. These non capital punishments were meant as an act of reformation to the colonists in a religious sense, than to inflict a lasting or crippling wound. The reasoning was to avoid injury at all cost in the event that someone would then be removed from the working population, and in a society with few human resources the results would be a much higher risk than if the person was just in a way humiliated for their crime instead.

In my story the character of Jacob is heavily religious when it comes to his impending death. This is meant to bring in the religious focus of the laws during this era. As previously stated the main goal of punishment was to reform not to kill. So even in the case of a murder there is still a very large cultural stigma to try and reform the criminal even if he or she is receiving capital punishment as a result. However it can easily be noted that Jacob does not find the public redemption in the church because of his belief in his own innocence. In colonial America this was a very real problem, on the same level as the false witness statements. The concept of honor when a person believed themselves to be innocent would often lead to and increase on the punishments that were given out. Although Jacob could not receive any larger punishment than the capitol offense, the idea of preserving honor even in the state of an impending death becomes an important theme for the role religion played as the crux of society.

As far as describing this into the broad terms of a Historical paper, I would say that my story fits well to the overarching theme and issues that were faced with in the colonial justice system. The overall story attempts to remain as period accurate as possible within the story, and all practices and punishments are portrayed realistically from that sense of the word. To me historical learning does not have to include exact replicas of people, the setting and conflicts of the time period are the messages that need to be taken away. That being said I am by no means saying that the factual details that are present in scholarly articles are not important. On the contrary these two themes of history are uniquely separate from each other and should be for good reason . Take for example the argumentative value of facts found in this statement “As early as 1760 a hanging machine had been tried out in England…thus avoiding slow deaths, and altercations between the victim and executioner” (Foucault 12). This fact of a machine is backed up with the specifics of its design to illustrate a point of function. The old adage that form is equal to function could not be truer in this sense. Factual information in this regard can be very effective to backing up a claim when the information is reliable and to the point, this keeps the historical accuracy of the research and manages to eliminate some of the human bias that can accrue in historical depictions by already biased observers.

On the opposite end of the spectrum works, like my own final paper take the differing approach of creating a system around a rigid historical system that we want the audience to interact with. A great example of this can be found in Author of myself, in which although the narrative takes liberties with the character involved “Reader these are not my words. This is not my tongue. “Tis my master’s, for he has stolen mine own, driven it from me with his lash. But ’tis the language you understand, reader, and I want you to understand me, and how – one way or t’other – I shall be free.” (Kuchta 1). A character is being explored that was rare and an uncommon site in the historical setting that the author wishes to explore. However, by creating a character to act as a proxy for the research that has been gathered, an approximate facsimile of how a person that was actually present and possible to use from a reliable first person source can be. Trying to find a balance between these two points of Realism and the limitations of source material for historical interpretation means that it is necessary for one to be sacrificed for another. Both have their inherent values and risks associated with them but from a historical perspective give a more broad representation of what the actual history may have been like to experience. My work falls under this secondary notion of historical fiction and focuses the ways in which to deal with the concept of colonial trials and law, over the notion of telling a fixed story from the perspective of a static character who has little room to explore the topic.

As a message of the class, this ideal that history is not a static media that should only be interpreted one way is an archaic model. While the idea of attempting to mix historical genres promotes a wider array of critical thinking in an audience. The reasoning behind all these different historical genres makes more logical sense when described in this way. They continue to exist because they are effective for a certain goal in the process of learning History. So anyone that wanted to monopolize the way humanity experiences history is only limiting the ways that humanity can branch out. If the goal of learning history is to not make the same mistakes as the past this then having this wide variety of experience would better suit an individual to make those choices.


Works Cited


Foucault, Michel (1975). Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison, pp 1-31.

Kuchta, David (2013). Author of Myself, pp 1-30


Persecution Without Words.

Justin Brewer




Telling Tales of the Past





Persecution Without Words.



This story tells a historical fiction of the tale of the legal system in Colonial America. The setting for this is on the outskirts of the Boston Colony in 1640, just one short decade after the naming of what will become a booming metropolis.1 Our character is Jacob Bulfinch, who is a carpenter that works with his his good friend Thomas Stone, in the contracting and construction of housing for the colony. As a carpenter Jacob naturally has apprentices to his trade, and in this case has three including his son.2 Despite being apprenticed to Jacob, these men harbor anything but gratitude towards either Jacob or Thomas. Out of a plot to be rid of them both the men have put an accident that lead to Thomas’s death into a framing to be rid of Jacob in a fortunate circumstance. Brought before the justice system of the era, Jacob is found guilty and sentenced to hang. Now he sits in his cell, the night before he hangs, with little more to do but to question the futility and silence that cost him his life.3

“I know not how this came about, but I find myself at the edge. I am sentenced to die, I am sentenced to hang” The realization sunk deep into the bones of this man who sat in darkness. The cell that he was in, if one would call it that was little more than a logged structure, no windows and one iron door blocking the man’s freedom. The seat that the man sat in dug into flesh, it was nothing more than a pine plank fastened to one side of the wall with irons. The gaols were meant to hold prisoners awaiting trial, and in his case execution.2 Once again the realization of his fate struck down upon the man, alone in his cell he whimpered “I am Jacob Bulfinch, I have done no ill”. No one answered his plea back, and no one gave him company on his last night. “Silence eats at mine will, and it stripped me of my freedom”. “Free, I was once a free man!” he shouted out at the into the darkness, “I deserve mine freedom again!”, his own voice was the only thing to meet his first shout.

Thinking of the past would do him no good now, but the men, his workers that plotted against him. They were worthy of his time and his ire. his misfortunes are numbered to many for him to care about things like that. “Traitors and that Bastard of mine own blood”, the thought of the two men, and his son, who he was sure was the leader of this treachery brought his emotion to a boil at the thought.

“Men without honor to hold them steady”, Jacob’s anger continued to eke out into the cell as he recalled the three who placed him here. The first two were of little note to Jacob, “fools made of sloth and gluttony” Jacob only thought it befitting that he should describe the source of his ire with sins that most offend god, and he let a wry cackle out of spite for them. Samuel Morgan and Abraham Morgan, these two men were brothers with whom his son grew up with an Jacob apprenticed because of that. In his opinion both were lazy men with little talent besides finding ways to spend in leisure. Jacob could not recount how many times that he told them to straighten their work for the sake of themselves and to please God with work and not wasted time. He would not deny to himself that he would often resort to showing them his meanings with force, but felt no guilt in purging sin from where he saw it. His son, James Bulfinch, if he dared to call him a son anymore, was a different matter. Jacob had cursed his child since his birth, as his wife died in childbirth to the boy. Stricken with grief that his love was gone, Jacob tried to find pride in his son whom she left behind. However in Jacob’s opinion James turned to be all the failure that his friends were, the three would often find ways to disappoint him, and he made sure to attempt to correct his son for his failure whenever possible. As a carpenter Jacob thought that he would be able to mend his son’s problems with the hard work of learning a trade, and bring those other two under his wing would be his duty to God to produce responsible Men as he could. “I gave three men a chance at life, they repay me with death” rage erupted from his throat,“I will see those bastards pay even if I reach the gallows first”, Jacob took a ragged breath as he began to tear up . “On my death I will curse them, those men did this to me, they think that they are beyond reach” The words of course that Jacob spoke of were what was said during the trial. One of his workers, Samuel Morgan, brought the offense before the local magistrate reporting an offense of murder. Upon hearing the accusation the magistrate immediately sent forth for a deputy to obtain Jacob for questioning.3 That was a process which sent a wracking agony through his flesh as he remembered.

The process of the questioning was done at the power of the magistrate by the will of the magistrate.4 No other lawman or witnesses were allowed to intervene in this matter. Jacob could only reason before that this must be some cruel mistake, but when the events of the trial took place he was revealed a greater tragedy than fate. Jacob focused into the questions raised by the magistrate. The questioning went on in simple terms, as to first where Jacob had been, he quickly answered with his men attempting to finish the barn before the winter freeze hardened the wood and soil. Next he was asked if he saw the murder, to which Jacob replied that he saw it with his own eyes, that Thomas was crushed underneath by a fallen beam. The Magistrate judged his response over with a harsh and weary eye. Finally after what seemed to Jacob to have been far to long at indirect questions the Magistrate delivered the one that he feared. “Jacob Bulfinch, you have been accused of a vile act, before God I tell you to speak truth, did you kill Thomas Stone?” Jacob of course answered that he had not, and that the beam falling was an accident. Once again Jacob was questioned if he would admit to the murder, and again he stood to his truth. What good the truth gave him was a trial to be held in two days time, and a spot in the jail cell to hold him till his time of judgment. While most men would be allowed to go free with warning to return, for the suspect of murder the accused was held for the safety of the colony.5

The thought stung at his mind “I am no threat to people, save those who would see me hang” Anger seared with each word as he Flexed his hands. Jacob felt the Irons that kept him bound, a raw wound had begun to form at his wrists where he struggled had struggled, and now served as a dull ache, a reminder of his condition. Seeking to get his mind away from his own state, Jacob once again thought about the magistrate. Magistrate being all that he knew to call this man who had passed judgment on him against his word and honor. While this man had a name Jacob cared not to recall too much about the ones who played their roles. Yet still, as he struggled to forget the look that the magistrate gave him during that questioning stuck to his mind. He was a perplexing man, whom Jacob had never sought to know personally, in fact Jacob had never given anyone the time of day after his wife had passed during childbirth leaving him to raise his son. Forcing his wife’s death into the recesses of his mind, Jacob refocused on that man, who was appointed to judge the law, and to pass down the punishment to the people in name of repentance for sins. While well aware that the lawman were elected to serve that duty the weariness in his eyes enraged Jacob when he thought of it.6 “A man without purpose in his eyes, cannot judge one who does”, and he knew what his purpose was even if others did not. A grudging acknowledgment ground at Jacob’s attention“A lamb to herd, and a farm hand to lead”, he mumbled to himself when remembering that those men who were supposed to uphold the common law for the people had failed to uphold his truth. After all that was what they were supposed to do, and it was their fault to bare the shame of following so blindly. Being manipulated by the men he once worked with. To Jacob’s reasoning, by things that turned out to only be described as a group of demons in human skins. Anger once again seethed from under his breath at the thought as panic at the silence around him continued on the edge of his mind, which he sought to end by letting his mind wander again.

The trial that Jacob was given but one day after his questioning was once again at the mercy of the Magistrate. In this case there were no jury to pay heed, yet Jacob found himself face to face with the “witnesses” who were going to state the evidence that they had before the magistrate once again. The two workers and his own son, swore to truth before God and began to give an account that seasoned Jacob’s body with a cold despair. Samuel gave the first account to what he heard and saw. “Mr. Bulfinch is a hard boss, though we always thought he was a good man”, Jacob felt the poison slip beneath Samuel’s teeth as he continued. “He always would work Thomas hard, said that it would be a cure to his sloth”, “Thomas did sleep on occasion, but was a good man with good values”. Samuel drove in the point of Thomas’s virtue with a heated virility. “I heard the cry, Thomas laid under the beam when I came to the front of the barn”. Continuing on with their story, Samuel took over to state that he was witness to the murder. “Mr. Bulfinch and Thomas were placing the main beam for the roof when I saw it. “Thomas was pushed by Mr. Bulfinch, and took a fall to the ground” “I was returning from getting tools when I was witness to this” Samuel put on a somber expression for the last line, and the magistrate looked over him with worry. “I am sorry for what you witnessed, may God bless you to heal your mind” the magistrate said over to Samuel. “Now if you may James Bulfinch, what did you witness?” James took a step forward and gave a sharp look at Jacob, a mixture of distaste and a feigned sadness on his face. “Sir, I have seen mine father for what he is. I laid witness to the body of Thomas, with both Samuel and saw the devil’s shadow over his death at my father’s hand” Jacob thrashed out in his bonds “ James, you dare speak out against your father” Jacob was about to scream more but was quickly brought into order by the deputy and silenced. After a time looking at Jacob with the same eyes as before the magistrate asked Jacob if he wished to confess before God. To which Jacob once again replied for a final time that he had done no wrong. This was all the speech that Jacob would be allowed during the trial, as during the time the defendant was not given the legal council, and could not speak on his own behalf save for the questioning period that occurred before the trial. The magistrate after a time put his head down, and said words that crushed Jacob’s spirit to the state that it is in now. “ Jacob Bulfinch, I have hear the evidence, and I judge you guilty of murder, you will hang at the morning of tomorrow”.

After being stripped down into a prison garb, that consisted of a white cotton shirt, gray wool knickers, wool socks, and his shoes for his own sake he was thankful he could keep.7 The experience of going to a cell was humiliating and what came to Jacob was more pain than he believed that he could endure. Despite trying to come to terms with what just happened. After the trial took place Jacob was expected to repent his sins to God, so the he may show mercy by God. With a deep tone of the gospel ringing in his voice the Father approached Jacob with talk of repentance and admission of his sins to please God. He scoffed with a rasp at the thought of it “Why should I repent, when no grave sin weighs at mine heart”, was the reply that he gave the Father with a dull tone. Thinking back with regret he wished that he could take back what he said, as it was hurtful to the God that he now relies upon in his dire time of need. With the empty cell, and wind outside stirring fear in Jacob, if anything was getting worse this night, besides his imminent demise, it was the feeling of being alone that had reduced him to tears. Out of a sense of need he began to pray for salvation and for God to end this torment.

Reasoning out to himself to God only served to increased his anxiety. With no provocation or warning he found himself in tears once again and madly pleading with God. “My lord God, I am humble, am I not, then why was I put to this?” “Of what sin did I offend you to deserve this”, Jacob reached out into the dark for a response, but no answer came in return. Feeling a weight close down upon his mind, Jacob rattled in his bond in hysterics.“What penance must I pay to be rid of this trial God?”, “The Father said that if I was an innocent man that my absolution would come, where is my deliverance?”. Jacob echoed his pained plea louder now, which reverberated in the empty hollow of the cell. Still struggling at his bonds, his wrists began to bleed at the strain, and the irons were made slippery with blood and sweat. The smell of blood in the air jolted Jacob back to his senses and he looked down upon his hands. Jacob’s desperation shot forth, and he howled at his fate and against it all the same. For some time this continued until Jacob exhausted his lungs and throat, in between the heavy rise and fall of his chest Jacob began pleading to God again. “I feel pity for those men, deceived by a devil in human guise”, “God give pity for pity and let me free, father Issac whom wished to help me is a just man so please God take back what offense I brought to him”. Jacob continued with his speech ,”After all it was Father Issac who gave the Word of God to the people, and urged Jacob to repent before the gallows took him. Jacob could only reason before that this jail cell must be some cruel mistake by God, but when the events of the trial took place he was revealed a greater tragedy than fate. “ He chortled in between the rasps of his weeping. “God these men do not know what they have done”. Rocking back and forth Jacob hastily began whispering to himself “I am Jacob Bulfinch, I have done no ill” in a repeated manner for some time, until silence and despair took him deep within his mind and he fell silent to his own devices for the rest of the night.

As the sun began to rise panic set in for Jacob again, as he realized that his time was drawing ever shorter. Yet at this moment he could not find his voice to say anything out in the silence. For an eternity within his own head Jacob pondered his own silence, and how in effort that silence was killing him far more than any noose could accomplish. Without a voice in the trial, with no one to defend his innocence he had fallen prey to the machinations of three men.8 Their word against his proved to be a more convincing argument than one man could provide an argument against. Jacob began silently laughing to himself at the futility of his situation as the dawn gave rise to the Sun in full. With the morning came the deputy to collect Jacob and bring him to the gallows. Jacob was led out with a slow march towards his final moments. The crowd that had gathered was nothing short of what one would expect. Murder is an uncommon thing, and a hanging serves as both a warning and a curiosity to the public of the colony.9

As the noose was being prepared around his neck, Father Issac gave his last graces and rights to Jacob, fitting for a man who begged so desperately for his forgiveness the day before. Jacob looked out over the crowd and searched for the men who would see him die for their own goals. He found them near the front of the crowd watching him with deadened eyes. In return he looked back with the same eyes, ones that were dead even before the noose tightened around his neck. The hanging itself was unremarkable for the crowd. Jacob Bulfinch died as a man who exhausted his words and his options long ago in the night before and all that was left was was a silent voice, never heard and never asked.

























Works Cited


a. Books: Jones; Jones, Bessie Zaban (1975). The Many Voices of Boston: A Historical Anthology 1630–1975. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.


Williams, Roger. A Key to the Language of America Or, An Help to the Language of

the Natives in That Part of America, Called New-England. London: Printed by Gregory Dexter, 1643.




b. Articles: Clark, David S. “Comparative Law in Colonial British America.” American Journal of Comparative Law 1.-1 (2010): 1-32. .


Greenberg, Douglas. “Crime, Law Enforcement, and Social Control in Colonial America.” The American Journal of Legal History 26.4 (1982): 239-325.


Bulletin of the Business Historical Society, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Mar., 1928), pp. 1-9



c. Websites: “ The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Official History and Citizenship Website.” Cruel and Unusual: Prisons and Prison Reform : The Colonial Williamsburg Official History & Citizenship Site.









a. Books: Jones: This book offers the historical information on the formation of the Boston colony that was needed to set up the correct period and date to focus the rest of my research on. I only used the basic information about the actual formation of the colony. However the book goes further on the history of Boston, in particular the social dynamics that are important in the profiling of any criminal system.


Williams: This is an excellent source for the language used during the mid 17th century. It offers phonetic and dictation for multiple tribal and colonial sources in early America, I used this novel to tune the dialog of the characters to be more impressive.


b. Articles: Clark: Offers a comprehensive analysis of colonial law and the reasoning behind the changes when compared to the English common law that the early colonial justice system was based off of.


Greenburg: Gives the social reasoning behind laws, and specifically the religious connection between the punishments, and how they are intended as social control for the colonies.


Bulletin: A comprehensive collection of craftsmanship pieces for colonial America, the end result is a useful for gauging colonial styling and framework for buildings that involve heavy woodwork.


c. Websites: This page offers a great look at the prison system of colonial America. Most importantly the attire and bonds that they would have been kept in, as well as the detailing of the early gaol jail cells that were used.

1Jones; Jones, Bessie Zaban (1975). The Many Voices of Boston: A Historical Anthology 1630–1975. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.

2Bulletin of the Business Historical Society, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Mar., 1928), pp. 1-9

3Clark, David S. “Comparative Law in Colonial British America.” American Journal of Comparative Law 1.-1 (2010): pp 1-32.

2Clark, David S, Comparative Law in Colonial British America, pp 1-32.

3Greenberg, Douglas. “Crime, Law Enforcement, and Social Control in Colonial America.” The American Journal of Legal History 26.4 (1982): pp 239-325.

4Clark, David S, Comparative Law in Colonial British America, pp 1-32.

5Greenberg, Douglas. Crime, Law Enforcement, and Social Control in Colonial America pp 239-235.

6Clark, David S, Comparative Law in Colonial British America, pp 1-32.

7“ The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Official History and Citizenship Website.” Cruel and Unusual: Prisons and Prison Reform : The Colonial Williamsburg Official History & Citizenship Site.

8Clark, David S, Comparative Law in Colonial British America, pp 1-32.

9Greenberg, Douglas. Crime, Law Enforcement, and Social Control in Colonial America pp 239-235.

Deus Ex

Justin Brewer

Societies of the Future




More Than Machine, but Not Quite Human


With the onset of cybernetics becoming available to people in the future, the question of how society will adapt to this new technology remains to be seen. The idea of a human has always been biological in nature; regardless of the race, culture, or other differences between individuals humanity as a whole is made of flesh and bone. When the bone becomes a carbon Nano tube array, and the flesh becomes a metal alloy the idea of a human is fundamentally changed. In fact the word cyborg even alludes to this being the fusion of man and machine, but still not considered really belonging to either. The moral issues become irrelevant once that border is crossed, and at that moment the person has become a fusion of man and machine they have become larger than the sum of the parts. As with any technology the goal of cybernetics is in to improve the quality of life for the user. The societal potential presents problems of a backlash against this form of enhancement is entirely possible. The rise of an elite augmented stratification, and the question of what will happen to humanities’ free will as the brain is merged with augmentations are all societal issues that should be contemplated as the technology emerges and then becomes implemented into the population. Like all revolutions in society humanity will eventually be faced with the choice to either forgo or embrace cybernetics, much like they have their smart phones, and the countless other controversial technology that has risen over the course of time. At the present moment humanity is quickly becoming less bound by the rules of a natural world, the race that once struggled to wield technology now is fast approaching the means to weld it to their own bodies. The definition of what it means to be a human is changing into something that is not quite a figment of the imagination any more, but still lacks the finesse to be widely incorporated. In the trilogy of DeusEx games, the limitations and boundaries between man and machine have been lifted, and the cost to society becomes a stratification war that ravages the globe. After the dust has settled though, the ending result becomes a human race that is not bound by any obligation to the natural ailments of the flesh, one that has managed to transcend the principle of what it means to be Human. This Hypothesis applies to the real world as well, and in time society will chose to wholly phase out the individual who remains un-augmented in favor or a technologically fused society and race. To address the research for this topic the games themselves were played through, and research went into looking at the societal issues present in the game. After the games were dissected thoroughly for these social elements, further research was made into the non-fictional elements of human augmentation, and the potential effects that it could have on the world in order to support or refute the hypothesis.

In history the aspiration of humanity to become greater than just a mere mortal has existed since man could look up at the sky. However, the means to alter the body into the image of something that is beyond the original body is a technological advancement that has only surfaced as a real possibility in the last decade. With the advent of new possibilities for the individual, it can only be imagined what the collective of society could become with such advancements. This ideal has been the cusp of a technologically based Utopian ideal that can be best summed up as “self controlling, self maintaining, self reasoning. Indeed cybernetics has been characterized as the “science of effective organization”(Ericson 1). Society has come to envision the future of cybernetics with a mixture of awe and fear. The awe stems from the hope that this future Utopia can live up to the expectation that has failed us historically, after all the very idea of a Utopia is found nowhere both linguistically or historically in the real world and the apprehensions toward this possible future has lead to the discursive theories to become a school of thought. Cyborg Anthropology as it is called, is the summation of the thoughts of dealing with these issues “ Cyborg Anthropology is interested in the construction of science and technology as cultural phenomenons” (Downey 265) . The old add-age to lose humanity for the sake of this goal is a common concern when technology and culture are involved together. The idea of Humanity even being overcome by machines is a staple of fiction thanks to the the popularization of the Terminator series. While not specifically depicting a merger of man and machine, the fear “that our automated machines may ultimately become too intelligent and may even eventually do away with us” (Arnold 24) sets the tone of the advancement of robotics in any form could eventually lead to this doomsday scenario. However, Cyborg Anthropology offers a very different view of the eventual singularity between humanity and machines. The alternative to either a wholly humanistic or machine oriented view point, is that only one side can remain dominant is essentially flawed because “ human subjects and subjectivity are crucially as much a function of machines, machine relations, and information transfers” (Downey 266). This states that humanity will adapt to the use of machines, and in the end the two are essentially the same. This theory then stands to reason that humans in themselves are only advanced biological machines, so we can augment the body with compatible machines to achieve increased performance without sacrificing anything. The humanity would not be lost, but rather it would adapt and grow stronger as a result of the change.

The historical context in which the Deus Ex games take are a recent history that truly began in the early 2000’s. The first game in the series chronologically is DeusEx: Human Revolution, and the game is the most recently made, being released in 2011. The story follows the development of fully integrated cybernetic prosthesis that can interface with the body directly into the hands of the public by the year 2027. While at first the development of this technology was strictly medical, the real world applications of the technology for war and other environments where the prosthesis gave an advantage became a quick economy. In light of this an economic boom in prosthesis sales, and the advantages which their owners have over the normal population quickly forms a stratification based upon three groups. The most powerful and influential group are the corporations that run the development of cybernetics and their clients. The second is the lower class who cannot afford to obtain augmentations but wish to do so in order to improve their lives. The third as always, acts as the oppositional force to the movement trend, and sees augmentation as an unethical and disastrous mistake by mankind. The player finds themselves in the role of Adam Jensen, who works as a body guard for Sarif industries, which is the largest manufacturer of cybernetics on the planet. As Sarif industries begins to work on a new chip which can be implanted in the brain to hopefully prevent cybernetic rejection on account of scar tissue build up on the chips. Seeing an opportunity a group attacks the corporation in order to obtain the researchers on the project, and in the process the mortally wound Jensen. Recovering under Sarif’s watchful eye, Jensen is outfitted with the latest augmentations in order to get back up to the forefront of figuring out what is being planned. As the game progresses Jensen learns that the anti augmentation groups are being used as a proxy to attempt to halt the progression of augmentation until the Illuminati can seize control of it for their own goals. Just as Jensen begins to piece together the plot of the Illuminati to seize control a rival company to Sarif corporation has announced the development of the new bio-chip that they were originally developing. The augmented population flocks to this new advancement that will prevent the risk of rejection, and soon a majority of them are carrying the new chip. As part of the scheme the Illuminati then activate a beacon that drives any augmented individual who has the new bio-chip insane by over-stimulation of the nervous system. The signal is originating from a supercomputer aptly named Hyron, which to Jensen’s horror has been routed to human brains to act as its processor. The Illuminati used the Hyron project as the first prototype to controlling the human mind, and with its success used the computer to attempt to take control of the populace. Jenson manages to shut down the signal, however as the news leaks out about the controversies that were in the works behind human enhancement, the world is further thrown into chaos, over what is the right choice for humanity,

The world has fallen into a dystopian future, in the year 2052 a plague called the Gray Death has appeared and wrecks what is left of humanity. Conveniently the only company that can synthesize a treatment for this illness is a proxy company of the Illuminati. As tension’s between the upper class that can afford to purchase this treatment, and the people who are dying without it grows terrorist groups begin to spring up to wage a war against the governments of the planet. The character played in this game is JC Denton, a rookie agent under a anti terrorist division. As it turns out the character is being manipulated by the Illuminati as a test candidate for AI merging. The reason being is that a previous attempt to create an artificial intelligence to police the world ended in failure. As the Ai managed to achieve sentience and determined that the Illuminati themselves were a threat, and therefore it rebelled. The Illuminati having learned from their previous failure decide to engineer the perfect role for the merger relying on neither a sole human or computerized method of keeping control. Over the last few decades since the last game augmentation has progressed to the point where nano-machines have taken to be the main source of cybernetics over physical hardware. The player character JC Denton learns that the Illuminati need either him or his brother’s body to activate the merger with the Ai unit. As a result he decides to openly rebel against the organization that was a part of the Illuminati, and sides with the terrorist cells that are attempting to bring down the Illuminati once and for all. The Gray Death turns out to be, unsurprisingly, an attempt to bring the world under an easier social control by keeping the resources in the hands of the Illuminati, but when the virus is cured then they lose a major portion of their power. Resorting to drastic measures one of the heads of the Illuminati decides to alter himself with nano augmentations so that he will be compatible to the new AI system instead. As the Illuminati begin to start the merger process Denton and his allies see the opportunity to attack the base in an effort to stop the Ai construct all together. However in a twist, the Ai that originally went rouge against the Illuminati decides that the other more peaceful Ai that has been created in the meantime needs to be accounted for in order for the Ai to reach the state of a complete being. In the chaos of the resulting fusion and creation of a new artificial intelligence, that far exceeds either previous parts. JC Denton is given the choice by the new Ai that calls itself Helios, to merge with it in order to guide humanity with the best traits of machine and man. Denton reflects on his past dealings with both the terrorists and the Illuminati and decides that both are too dangerous to be left in power. Denton then accepts Helio’s offer, and as the two become one entity he begins to plan for how to best bring the world to salvation.

The third game, DeusEx: The Invisible War, is the last chronological game in the DeusEx series and takes place in the year 2072. As Denton bides his time to establish a plan for the ideal world order, different factions have built themselves up as world powers in the mean time and a world of war is all that is left. This event known as the Collapse has left the people of the world broken and scattered. Heavy augmentation has become necessary to survive the harsh environment of war, but as a result of the constant conflict anti augmentation groups are a major world power as well. The character in this game goes by the name of Alex Denton. A mercenary that does freelance work for all of the world powers in exchange for pay. Over the course of the missions that Alex is sent on he learns that he is a clone of the original JC Denton. Finally being able to meat the original Alex is presented with the plan that JC denton spent so long planning. The final plan involves augmenting the entire human race to one large computer network, a person would belong to the collective government by thought, but would still fundamentally keep their individuality to keep intact human nature while also creating a true world equality without difference or issue. Alex decides to back JC Denton’s idea of a perfect world, and with the information for mass nano machine construction, the entirety of the human population is able to be quickly be modified and added to the collective government of the planet. The results of this is staggering with the ability to share information and motive on a whim, to be guided by JC Denton which ends with a society in which war is nonexistent, and the entirety of humanity can go on to focus on their passions instead of worrying over issues of inequality and war.

From the perspective of values, norms, and sanctions the main power that manipulates society from the background is the Illuminati. They first among all else value control and obedience among the populace so that they may guide them. “Such things will only be dimly remembered upon waking to their normal lives” (DeusEx), gives this example the Illuminati work by proxy and so seek to coerce the populace into doing its bidding. The norm that arises through this for the population is the need for privacy that is valued heavily by the Illuminati so that they may work in secrecy in order to deceive the world. When this idea of gentle coercion fails for the Illuminati the sanction that they fall back onto is through a threat of destruction. Whether it be the bio-chips causing madness or the Gray Death keeping the population in line, the Illuminati seek to keep people in line through causing bigger problems to take the attention off of themselves. On the opposite spectrum the line of values that the protagonists favor is toward free will and progress. In each game the main character ends up canonically making the choice to progress humanity towards the next step in evolution while trusting it to make the right choice in the future. In an odd twist the sanction that this line of thought follows is equality. “We’re now ready to transform the human race” (DeusEx Invisible War), are the words that JC Denton uses before he gives up the reigns of progress towards the collective of humanity. The Irony in that to achieve this they have no choice, and are therefore sanctioned with equality in the form of augmentation. While JC Denton and Helios see this as a just reward, the counterargument towards people wishing for privacy makes it a forced “right” of the population.

Surprisingly for a trilogy that seeks to end stratification the only ones seen through the trilogy coincide with one another. The world has been split up into two groups the wealthy who profit off of augmentation and have it themselves because they can afford it; and the poor who though many wish to be augmented to gain either status, or to benefit their quality of life cannot afford to buy the augmentations. This leads to an every increasing rift that accumulates into the collapse event of the first game. In civil war the two sides are stratified irreversibly by hatred until the ending of DeusEx Invisible War where stratification is ended by the planet wide augmentation. Other social differences such as age or gender play no part in the stratification, meaning that the sole reason for the inequality comes from the advantage that augmentations give over a entirely human body.

In terms of the social institutions seen the three major ideals take form of the Illuminati, and the Templar philosophy. The Illuminati have importance to the narrative from the stand point that they have the most power through out the trilogy. The economy is entirely run by their proxy companies to forward the goal of guiding humanity in the way they see fit. Despite this all powerful control, the Illuminati is depicted in an often negative light in comparison to the idea of Augmentation freedom. Though they may be the “Invisible Hand” (DeusEx), by taking a reserved backseat driving approach, as an organization they have lost touch with the very world that they seek to control, which leads to them misjudging the actions of the protagonists. Despite limitless power without the knowledge to back it up the resources are wasted. The theme of progress is handled in the institution of Sarif industries, the goal of the corporation is to create and progress human augmentation by any means necessary. As said by David Sarif “They cannot stop us. They cannot stop the future” (DeusEx Human Revolution), Sarif industries serves to act as the embodiment of sacrifice for the greater good, a hope for Utopia and a continued progress towards the singularity of augmentation. The Templar’s on the other hand are present as the antithesis towards change, they do not wish to see augmentation controlled or allowed to flourish freely, but want to keep the status quo intact. Humans should remain solely human, and to tarnish the natural body that was given is a sure way towards destruction.

The role of conflict and by extension war as a method of social change is important to the series, because it acts as a crucible for the way of Augmentation. Much like the Terminator was meant to represent the “replacement of a machine that can do it better, faster, cheaper” (Arnold 24) , the end result is that biological functions simply cannot keep up with the synthetic alternative. The world must adapt this technology to themselves because it is the end of survival if they do not. The conflict essentially boils down to a war against stagnation of the human being. As one soldier in the series puts it so eloquently,“Human society is now so destructive that organic life itself is an endangered species”, when out competed the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest holds true, even if it is a designed change.

As a whole technology is seen in a positive light throughout the trilogy. In the beginning Augmentation allowed for medical advances unseen before that point. Further development to the nanobot cybernetics cleared the hurtle of cost for the individual, allowing for augmentations to be available to the masses. Finally the merger of human consciousness into one large network, increased communication into a singularity and ended stratification entirely. The negative aspects of technology only showed themselves when someone wished to abuse the power of them. It is human nature to weaponize technology, “Even primitive savages invented such ingenious machines as bows and arrows” ( Kaempffert 432). That does not mean that the technology is bad though, and if weaponry is born out of the necessity to obtain the selfish desires in order to keep one alive, than the augmentations that have the capability to eliminate these desires are a good worth keeping in the world.

The main theme of this trilogy of games is the progress of mankind with the pressures of technology looming over the horizon. Each game follows the theme of revolutionizing a central part of what culture considers to be part of a human. Causing the question what is a human? and where does the potential of one end. DeusEx: Human Revolution preaches the theme that humanity will not lose itself to technology, and that though the progress too reaching perfection is a hard road, it is one worth following. “Some people will be left behind. It’s evolution!” (DeusEx: Human Revolution), are the words stated by David Sarif, on the realities of progress. The game makes it clear by the sacrifices that are made in the sake of progress, such as the Hyron merger with human brains will one day pave the road to true enlightenment. The importance comes from acknowledging the sacrifice of others and to honor that choice by keeping your morals in check. The struggle to retain these morals become the games argument, and with proper use any advancement is just a tool to improve humanity, nothing more nothing less. “we were cold so we harnessed fire, we were weak so we created tools. Every time we met an obstacle, we used creativity and ingenuity to overcome it” (DeusEx: Human Revolution), the idea of progress in this game is limited to the physical side of humanity. Accepting that power without giving into the temptation to abuse it is what leads the next step in human evolution.

The second game deals with human growth in terms of the mind and concept of self. Specifically the merger between the Helios Ai and JC Denton is not depicted as a loss of individuality, but a gaining of the logic and knowledge of the artificial intelligence system while still retaining the human portion of Denton needed to empathize with humanity as its leader. As Helios states before the merger, “the barriers between us have fallen, and we have become our own shadows” (DeusEx). Helios refers to itself in the plural sense, yet still emphasizes a gain to be had with a further fusion with Denton “together we can be more, if we join” (DeusEx). The core theme of attaining the wisdom of a collective with the compassion that comes with emotion and empathy on the human side, is that the vast power that comes with knowledge can be best used to serve for the greater good of all.

The third game in the trilogy deals with the concept of all with the inclusion of society into the full merger of machine and man. Both Alex and JC Denton are relying upon the unification of humanity to absolve their differences into the collective of a true and instant democracy. This process is described in detail that “Wisdom must first be human. You must start with what a human sees and feels. But wisdom must also be knowledgeable, logical, and fair to billions of other beings” (DeusEx Invisible War). The way to achieving the Utopian society comes from a benevolent power seeking to mediate the vast collective, but does not wish to take away free will, but merely understand the will of the populace with a “deep understanding of every person’s life and opinions” (DeusEx Invisible War). This theme of a guiding force presiding over the human race is very similar to the ending of The Day the Earth Stood Still, however the difference is that the populace has a direct input into the system rather than just being ruled over by it. In an optimistic turn the Helios Ai, and Denton believe that humanity when fully integrated with knowledge from birth will be able to make the right decisions for the species as a whole.

As can be seen, in the world of DeusEx the idea of a non augmented human was eventually eliminated for the sake of progress towards an ideal, but what of the real world? This rests on whether the body, the mind, and society can be fundamentally improved through augmentation. Ideally the evidence for a future of augmentation of the body can be argued to already be on it’s way. The jump in the ability of prosthetic arms, and bio-tech is increasing at an ever expanding rate due to the Singularity principle. As technology is progressing at this heightened rate this will theoretically lead to a technological singularity. This singularity itself could lead to “technological humankind in its acceleration toward something utterly beyond itself” (Smith 203), it is at this point that the curve of technology begins to shape the whole of human reality. In terms of the body, when synthetic limbs have the ability to outperform the biological originals than natural selection will see the strong, whether it be through the need for military might or medicine in order to “give it new purpose and direction, and lay the foundations of engineering and mass production” (Kaempffert 432) a need for progress will at least guarantee the creation of augmented physical bodies. In terms of the mind becoming augmented it like the physical augmentation would prove to be advantageous to thought speed, much like the processor of a computer the brain could be upgraded and improved. What acts as further evidence that it will occur is the relationship between the agency of a human and a machine. Any sentient being relies upon what it gets from the outside world to define what it is. The concept of a human centric sentience is nothing more than semantics for our species. In reality even a “post human beings depend upon the embodied experiences, and upon their interaction with their complex and shifting environment” (Stevenson 88). It is then truly impossible to abandon the mind frame of the self through any alteration to the brain. Given that if memories were altered during the process, the person stops being themselves in the truest way and is then dead in the process. The incline in society towards ethics and the rights of human beings, means that the value of the information that makes up a human mind would be carefully guarded by law. If ideas and writings can be patented, than the unique thoughts that make up yourself inherently belong as property. As it is now progressing at a rate that has become a self sustaining process, humanity will inevitability change as the result. From the perspective of society itself, can that fall under the same spell of augmentation to improve relations on the planet. In a way just that is happening through economic globalization. “From 1973 until today, world trade grew at a pace of 11% annually, rising from just over 22% of the world GDP to 42% today” (Mishkin 260), and with this increased need for trade larger and more companies are being created, that have a greater monopoly on the world power. Such companies continuously devour one another into ever increasingly powerful conglomerates, so this too is a singularity towards a global economic power. When the world is unified under one economy that seeks to protect its own place at the top then the Earth will stabilize politically as a result. Much like the wold of DeusEx, the real world economy has become more reliant on communication and technology for transaction and processing. In the event of the technological singularity the rate of communication would rise as a result into the global grid presented at the end of the Trilogy. To say that the augmentation of the world through cybernetics is an inevitability, would not be far from the truth. If anything it can be argued to be highly plausible, and with that world change, the resulting environment will be unsuitable for the un-augmented person, leading to the eventual phasing out and then extinction of a un-augmented reality.

The realm of cybernetics in all fashions are quickly becoming developed, for different purposes and functions. All realms of the human body and being can be addressed by these changes in a variety of ways. As shown when something outpaces the original it has a tendency to phase out, it would be superfluous to believe that the human body is exempt from this rule. Furthering the goal of a united and augmented world, the global economy is becoming more and more reliant on technology to keep up with the naturally increasing demands of the population. If current trends in development of these technologies develop the world will fast approach the technological singularity. It is at this point where DeusEx most speaks to the core result, in that moment the definition of reality for humanity will be transformed though not necessarily lost. In support of the hypothesis that society will chose to phase out the individual who remains un-augmented in favor or a technologically fused society. The trade off for a changing reality, are the changing needs to be able to experience it, and in this case the natural human body realistically would be unsuitable for this environment, and will therefore need to adapt in order to survive. These adaptations will come with great changes to the balance of power, and the ability to abuse this power will present itself. The largest impact on society will be to overcome this urge to abuse the power given long enough for the world to adjust and settle into this new form. The potential for war and other horrors will most likely be a possible outcome of this instability. The trade off for progress is always the risk it entails, and the larger risk the greater the outcome when society emerges from the crucible.


Works Cited.

Arnold, Robert F. “Termination or Transformation? The “Terminator” Films and Recent Changes in the U. S. Auto Industry.” Film Quarterly 52.1 (1998): 20-30.

Deus Ex . N.p.: Eidios, 2000. Computer software.

Deus Ex Invisible War . N.p.: Eidios, 2003. Computer software.

Deus Ex Human Revolution.El Segundo, CA: Square Enix, 2011. Computer software.

Downey, Gary Lee, Joseph Dumit, and Sarah Williams. “Cyborg Anthropology.” Cultural Anthropology 10.2 (1995): 264-69.

Kaempffert, Waldemar. “War and Technology.” American Journal of Sociology 46.4 (1941): 431.

Mishkin, Frederic S. “Is Financial Globalization Beneficial?”Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 39.2-3 (2007): 259-94.

Smith, Darryl A. “Droppin’ Science Fiction: Signification and Singularity in the Metapocalypse of Du Bois, Baraka, and Bell.” Science Fiction Studies; Jul2007, Vol. 34 Issue 2, p201

Stevenson, Melissa Colleen “Trying to Plug In: Posthuman Cyborgs and the Search for Connection.”Science Fiction Studies;Mar2007, Vol. 34 Issue 1, p87

Kaempffert, Waldemar. “War and Technology.” American Journal of Sociology 46.4 (1941): 431.























Gattaca: Un-re-mediated.

ustin Brewer




Societies of the Future




Defining the Worth of Your Genes


When the control of your birth is taken out of the hands of fate, and laid bare on a designers monitor, the value of a person changes. In Gattaca what genes make up a human is worth more than any other skill or trait that they could posses. The film was envisioned by Andrew Niccol , who both wrote the screenplay and directed the film as his take on what the future would become if the process of genetics was honed to perfection. The film was made in the US, and released in 1997. This was an important time for genetics, as great strides were being made in decoding the human genome, also the use of DNA in criminal prosecution had since opened the door that everyone could be identified and quantified. A major thought process evolved from this notion and the interest in the genetic potential and meaning of humanity was at the forefront of culture during this time, as society came to grips with what the future technology of genetic manipulation and tracking would mean for the world.

In the society of Gattaca the pinnacle of genetic technology has lead to DNA being the sole determination of worth in society. The main character of the film, Vincent Freeman, lives with the stratification every day of being born natural, and as a result never being good enough in the eyes of society to achieve his dreams. Often compared to his brother who was born of design, a major theme of the movie is explored in the early competition between the two. As Vincent had to learn, beating the system and by extension his brother required more than the effort he put in. While they were designed to win, the way for Vincent to achieve his goal of space flight, or to beat his brother in a swim is to take drastic measures. As a child this means risking his life to keep swimming beyond safety, but as an adult this means for Vincent to discard himself as a person entirely. The trick to getting his opportunity to fly is held in the plan of adopting another genetic identity, one that is more than he would ever be able to be worth to society without. Doing so shows the theme of futility in attempting to rise beyond your natural state in this new system of genetic worth. While Vincent through cunning and guts is able to fool society, his own identity as a person had to be forfeit as the payment, in essence Vincent lost his life to this society in terms of his individuality. The main conflict between brothers resurfaces as Vincent’s long awaited time of flight comes, his brother acts as the cop who plans to bring his brother in as either an invalid a murderer, or both. Though Vincent is innocent, the dichotomy between the two in this game of cat and mouse shows how far the Genetic identity is worth. That with the proof of finding Vincent that he would be convicted of murder without question, brings home the fact that your genes are everything, and if you don’t fit the laws of society will remove you from the equation. The only reason that he is not caught sooner is by managing to beat his brother once again in the race that defined their childhood; which he manages a win only through a suicidal mentality and a trust in his chances. Through the same mixture of luck, and the support of those who saw his worth apart from his genetics does manage to achieve anonymity from the system. However, the final theme of the film is that you cannot escape the rules of society, a person can discard them to forge there own path, a bittersweet revelation if nothing else.

These rules of society in Gattaca are simple and clean, in face there is only one value of note to society. This of course is the genetic code of the individual, that is designed to be the best, and as a result society becomes haven to the value of elite individuals over all other traits. The norm that arises from an elite expectation, is that a child will be of a designed birth, and those that choose to have their children in a natural way are seen as fools. To keep this norm inline with what is expected from couples, the sanction of Gattaca are seen in the way that society handles the people with inferior genetics, by separating them from those who meet the criteria to be considered valid.

This method of seperation based on genetic validity of being deemed invalid for that area, is the main form of stratification seen in the film. For those with the classification of an invalid, many career opportunities, forms of education, and benefits of life are kept under lock and key. The society’s reasoning for this is that an invalid would be a liability for the company if resources were spent to develop them in whatever they chose but something happened based on their genetic makeup, such as a disease for example. The secondary effect of this stratification between genetics results in a discrepancy between male and females. While this stratification seems to be only in numbers, the vast majority of people in this world seem to be male, and since gender is assigned at birth this is a societal stratification indicative of a patriarchal society. This idea of stratification by gender is further reinforced by the fact that all of the directors at Gattaca are older males, and not female. While race and age may not be a factor anymore it seems that even in a world stripped down to pure choice that biases will still be produced among the elite.

The main institution of the elite, valid seen is the economic and political giant, Gattaca corporation as the movie is named after. The major source of economy in the film is pointed towards space travel to gain both scientific and material resources from space. While there is never any notion of any major shortage on earth, the need for space travel as an economy is great enough that Gattaca cannot afford any risks to the efficiency of the operation. Thus beyond the basic maintenance workers all employees of Gattaca must be of the genetic elite. Taking the hint of this superiority bias, the educational system can be seen turning down Vincent as he did not meet their genetic criteria. Based upon the withholding of the highest quality of education those with genetic gifts are set up to gain entry into other institutions based upon the quality of their blood sample, and not the merits of effort. While the model of efficiency is king in Gattaca, in the family setting of Vincent in childhood the family institution is seen to be supportive to the best of the inferior children to the best that society will allow. It is not that Vincent’s parents did not want him to succeed, however the vast pressure of society crushed their will to see Vincent as anything more than a sick child and a weaker individual than his brother.

Among a society that sees invalid’s as a liability and a burden it is no surprise that the method of social change to combat this ideal is to become a person of worth. The invalid can trade genetic places with a valid in an agreement to gain the status needed to make life opportunities happen for them. In the mainstream society this method of cheating is a criminal act that is seen as an attempt to usurp the title of a valid from those who rightfully have it. To an invalid the act of swapping is the only way possible to seek change in a system that does not care for you as a person, but only for the value that your code brings to the table.

To go along with the sterile concept of genetic elitism, the technology of Gattaca has grown to emulate this goal. The main method of power on the planet seems to be derived from solar power, which offers a clean alternative to the global warming issue seen in other films. Cars also run off of a similar fuel cell that is clean, and prevents the issues of carbon footprint. Space travel follows a similar pattern of improvement, with a cleaner and faster propulsion system paving the way for humans to explore the stars in Gattaca for future colonies and resources. All of the other advancements in technology over the time in the 90’s when it was filmed is the mastery of genetic technology. In Gattaca the entire human genome has been more than mapped, it has been quantified and categorized into an easily changed format for birth. The result of this is the perfect elimination of diseases and inadequacies that may plateau natural humans. However, as a cost to this little progress in the way of conventional medicine seems to be made as the technology to treat basic wounds and conditions such as a heart murmur cannot be treated, or at least no one cares to fix these problems in those who were not born to gene manipulation.

In a similar vein to the other technologies, while the environment of the film seems sterilized and spared from excessive pollution damage, it also seems to be underdeveloped with urbanization being more like the conventional times, rather than a sprawling metropolis world space. I would argue that this balanced environment is due to the genetic control, which leads to population control. As more parents had their children engineered the need for multiple attempts at children lessened, which in turn lead to a lower birth rate that meant less stress on the environment. The built environment of Gattaca is entirely sterilized, to both avoid contamination and to boost efficiency in the workers.

The effect of this society that is bound to the law of a genetic identifier, is one that could exist in the future of the real world. There has already been a push for getting genetic testing in children for diseases, and the idea of human gene manipulation has already reached a primitive phase. In the film, these early attempts to create a safer world though genetics may have one over the populace, and then the culture grew more dependent on this technology as a source of comfort against the uncertainties of life. Many parents would want to give their child the best chance that it has in life, and with the genetic manipulation this would be possible. As a result of this positive thinking for genetics, its value rose until the norm of a genetic elite became embedded in the populace. Just like in present day, corporations would wish to make use of a growing efficient workforce, so they began with simple genetic testing, that established the status of an employee. While on the political spectrum they could not discriminate based upon genetics, just like in real life the rules were bent for the sake of making money at the end of the day. An unofficial layer of discrimination towards the invalids left them with little to look forward to. The idea of rising up in status had been killed when they were born, so they chose new identities to fight the system, just as any society that is maltreated will make an attempt to rectify the situation to better quality of life. As far as the element of a true life Gattaca emerging in reality, the probability is high that this will occur. It can be argued that as it is human nature to better ones self, that as a society whatever it needs to advance itself will be used and eventually embraced as the new norm for a perfect human.

By creating a thought provoking peak into a very probable and realistic society gripped with the thought of attaining perfection. Gattaca was well received by critics which applauded the film for its reflection on a future with untested technology, and that the turn that humanity could make as a result. In terms of awards the film was nominated for the Oscars and Golden Globe, but only won awards in foreign categories such as the Bogey, and London Critics Film Awards. While the budget for the film was 36,000,000 the return box office total of around 12,000,000 shows that it was more of a critical success than a commercial block buster. This can be attributed to the lack of flair in the movie as it had more subdued special effects and a more discrete plot that emphasized suspense and not action. Despite the set backs at the box office, Gattaca managed to have an impact by being the first exploration of genetic technology as a path to the future. A path that many films sense have emulated, with genetic engineering since becoming a common trope in the Sci-Fi genre. A pioneering movie to show the potential and dark side of genetics, Gattaca gives the recipe for an entirely plausible future world, while cautioning humanity on the drawbacks of this path.