A, C, G, and T. Contained in our cells, making up our body are four letters which determine our looks, body shape, build, skin, eye color and much more. These letters are our genetic code. Through the film, Gattaca, the protagonist in this film, Vincent, faced many problems created by his genetics. Gattaca takes place in a world where you can genetically modify your future children to the extreme. This genetic modification is present in our everyday world but is unused on humans. We see technologies like CRISPIR, recombinant DNA Technology, and gene silencing constantly growing and evolving. This film greatly connects to ethical issues in our world. Is it right to genetically modify? Abuse of substance; immortality? While this film connects to ethical issues in our world, how about the world presented by Nancy Farmer, in The House of the Scorpion? In both pieces of work, the protagonists face problems influenced by similar factors.
In Gattaca, Vincent is what citizens in that world would call a “faith birth”. He was NOT genetically modified to perfection, but rather left in the hands of god. Here, we see connections to worldview, but specifically “Sources of Ethical Wisdom”. Matt, in The House of the Scorpion was the opposite. Modified to the extreme. El’ Patron created clones, Matt being the 8th, and being a complete mirror image of El’ Patron’s genetic code. While one protagonist was not genetically modified and one was, they both faced discrimination. Vincent was born into a world where human genetic modification is an essential part of the status quo and Matt was born into a world where this was the opposite. These are intentional choices by the author and producer of both novel and film. While these protagonists were born into opposite worlds, they both wanted to achieve the impossible for themselves. Vincent wanting to travel into space and Matt wanting to be happy with Maria as well as running Opium without violence. Both dreams for main characters are considered impossible because of their genetics. Matt being a clone was created only for his organs and Vincent has a heart problem prohibiting him from gaining access into an academy (Gattaca) which will take him into space. While both protagonists went through struggle because of similar influence, they did so at different ages. Matt was much younger than Vincent and faced challenges only a child would face. He was put into an unhealthy orphanage which wouldn’t happen to an adult. However, Vincent faced challenges only an adult would face, such as financial income. The age of these characters is also an intentional choice in both film and novel.
Many a time, we forget that we are more than the hand we are dealt. More seldom the not, do we attempt to break our boundaries. Just like Matt and Vincent, we have problems created by genetics, but unlike Matt and Vincent, we fail to break down the wall we're backed up against. We make more than 1000 decisions every day, but we might make only one, which defies our 4 letters.
"Genetics play a HUGE role in who we are, but will plays a larger one" - Unknown
"We used to think our future was in the stars, but now we know it's in our genes" - James Watson