Movie the Matrix and Octavia Butler's Dawn
When I first announced to my parents that I was going to marry my current wife, the first words out of my father’s mouth were, “But she’s from another culture.” My father and mother, although being generally good people, are the products of an older system of beliefs. It is the matrix I was raised with, and that dictated my earlier learning experience. Fortunately for me, I chose to risk alienating my parents, and told them that if they ever mentioned “different cultures” to me again, it would be the last time we would be on speaking terms. I chose to ignore the matrix I was presented with, and the happiness and peace of mind that came from that decision have shaped my life ever since. I share this example because it is the key point of what I want the reader to understand from the comparison in this paper. It is a comparison between two choices made by two different primary players from the movie The Matrix and Octavia Butler’s novel Dawn.
There are some very startling similarities in the clash of matrices portrayed by the movie The Matrix and Dawn. On the surface the two works might seem to be addressing different topics, but the books have a common theme, and when the two works are analyzed in-depth, the parallels become readily apparent. The Matrix is about the clash between machines and humanity, while Dawn is about an alien race that decides to trade the survival of humanity for the genetic traits they can use from the human species. But at the heart of both struggles, there is a main character set between two startlingly different Matrices, or patterns of existing, and it is up to them to make the critical decision between which reality will continue.
The Matrix has a large focus on Neo and his progression through levels of cognition. While coming from a background within the computer generated world used to make humanity captive, Neo must come to grips with an incredibly different and contrasting image of the world that he was raised with. He is taken from the world he knew and shown the reality of humanity’s state, in which they are held prisoner to power the machines they helped create. Now Neo must choose whether he will pass to a higher state of cognition and change the reality he was given, or simply continue as he is, limited by the boundaries and walls imposed on him by a group that doesn’t care about his welfare. He chooses between a system of stagnant mental captivity and progressive mental growth and movement.
Now we must compare Dawn to this pattern. The main character Lilith Iyapo is awakened after many years of alternately being tested in a lab and hibernating to discover that the humanity she knew almost destroyed itself with war and violence. She comes from a background where individual thought and expression are treasured above all else, and is faced with the fact that in order to survive as a species, humanity might be forced to give up that...