2001: A Space Odyssey Review Assignment

2001: A Space Odyssey Review Assignment

The following is a sample assignment on the review of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Having trouble completing it or any other academic writing project, be it an essay, report or thesis. Order now from Mytoptutor.com, and have an expert do it for you.

Very broadly, we might say 2001 depicts humanity as though it were in a puzzling kind of classroom.  We’re not certain of the agenda, or even if anyone other than ourselves is teaching the class.  And yet we seem to be able to discern at least a vague shape to our progress through time, a shape we may have encountered in other classrooms.  There seems to be a pattern to events.  There’s an initial moment of insight or transformation that’s followed by a threat to life itself, or, at the very least, an emerging consciousness of death as a problem.  This situation in turn seems to generate another in which some kind of question must be answered or test must be passed.  And then, if we make it through this middle passage, if we answer the question or pass the test, the threat or consciousness of death is replaced by a consciousness of a different kind of life and, indeed, a different kind of consciousness and self-consciousness:  by a kind of life, consciousness or identity represented as in some sense immortal or even outside of time altogether.  Suddenly time itself is closed, or perhaps enclosed — either ended outright, or closed in upon itself in a circle, perhaps as sphere of the Earth itself becomes discernible once we’ve left its surface.  At this point, staring at time itself from a point outside of it, we find that we are staring into a mirror, and a new identity is born.

This basic pattern suggests at least three ways of approaching 2001.  Each approach will benefit from some consciousness of previous texts and discussions in the class as a whole.  Whether you choose just one of these approaches or try to synthesize them in a single vision of the film, try to contextualize your analysis somewhat in terms of previous texts or discussion.

1.  What test, precisely, must humanity — condensed into the person of Dave Bowman — pass in the middle of 2001?  How does this test emerge as a necessary consequence of events in the opening of the film?  How is the test passed?  Why does it lead to the situation depicted at the film’s end?

2.  What are the monoliths?  Conjecture, as best you can — and, if necessary, based, again, on other texts and discussions — what these things might be and why they’re there.  What do they have to do with Dave’s central test and with the power that has to be confronted and overcome in that test?

3.  What is evolution in the film?  It seems a curious mix of the scientific and the religious.  How so?  How might the picture of evolution that emerges from the film coincide with our suggestion that in some way in these situations — indeed, perhaps, in our situation — time has closed or is closing in on itself, such that we see ourselves at once in and outside of a peculiarly circular cosmos and history?


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