Aliens as Races: Guardians of the Galaxy


      Guardians of the Galaxy is a movie that takes the audience on a journey with a group of social outcasts from different galaxies led by a human named Peter. The characters in this group, Peter, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket,  start out as strangers, but by the end of their adventures they together become a close knit family. Their expedition to save the world from an all powerful infinity stone incorporates aspects of visionary fiction as the movie discusses how not all superheroes have to look a certain way, and as long as they have a good heart then that is all it takes to be a superhero. The societal problem of racism is presented through the physical discrimination within the aliens, and it is essential for the audience to analyze the characters and the way they are treated because it reflects how not all races are not treated equally, and all races should be or else only certain parts of humanity can prosper and a portion of it can help society progress.

     Guardians of the Galaxy discusses racism by having its alien characters not be treated as well as the lead role, Peter. First off, the main character is played by a white actor, while every other character is an alien, which suggests that the lead character should ideally be a caucasian male, thus demonstrating society’s expectations of how the superhero should look like. Additionally, the only other main actor from the movie in real life of color is Gamora, and in the movie she is green which hides her true darker skin tone, thus supporting how society expects its superheroes to not be of color. Aside from the actors and actresses themselves, the way their characters are treated in the movie also reflect the racism presented in society. Rocket for example, is a raccoon with a high intelligence in bounty hunting and battle tactics, but because he is a raccoon he often gets treated like a simple animal when all he wants is to be respected “like a human” or as equally as the rest of his friends. During the movie, Rocket gets frustrated and yells “He called me vermin! She called me rodent!”(Feige and Gunn, 2014). This reveals his insecurity of being a creature that does not get treated the way he wishes to be. If his friends did not show reverence for Rocket and his intelligence, they would not have gotten out of the prison. This is a parallel to how non white people in our society are treated, since they are not expected to succeed as much as Caucasians, thus they are rarely given the opportunity to show or develop their intelligence or talents.

      It is important that the audience realizes that the different aliens from different galaxies resemble different races on  our planet, because it will then become obvious how if the characters let their differences and backgrounds of who they are get in the way of the mission, then the galaxy would have never been saved. It is also vital that the audience recognizes how the aliens from different galaxies become a family because it demonstrates that people from different races can also form a kinship. Humans need to attend to racism because with this issue standing in the way, we let Caucasians only be successful and we only let them help humanity progress because they are the only ones who are given the opportunity. Racism also causes people to form groups of their own race, and each race has several of its own cultures, thus preventing cultural knowledge to be shared with other people.  Other races are equally as intelligent and capable, and if we give them the chance like the characters did to Rocket, then more people can help humanity advance and make the world a better place by being their own type of superhero.

Vennela Gadde

Guardians of the Galaxy. Dir. James Gunn. Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures, 2014. DVD.


Orleans (160-234)

“Before I know it, I be bending down and my knife be in my hand. I grip it hard. My life be over because of them. Their’s bout to be over too. I wrap an arm around Baby Girl and edge toward the door, knife at the ready. They want a war, they got one. I feel a hand touch my shoulder. “Fen?” Daniel whisper. I hesitate, shake my head. I got to do this. He grip my shoulder. I should shake him off, do what I gotta do, but if the baby cry from shaking, I ain’t got no chance at all. I look at Daniel. His eyes be wide, scared. He shake his head no. Every muscle in my body screaming for me to go through that door” (Smith 217).

In this passage, Fen responds with the intention of killing the two men in the library that they were hiding from because they were the ones responsible for the raid of Fen’s tribe; These people did not want their blood, but they simply wanted to start a war, and they were the reason why Fen has become a freesteader and her tribe minus Baby Girl is dead. Her automatic instinct of killing these two men is a combination of her internal pain for the loss of the people she loves, and the fact that she was brought up in Orleans and how she was raised with a combination of abiding by the motto ” Every man for himself” and the need to constantly protect her tribe. The phrase “My life be over because of them” demonstrates her need to act out on revenge, and do justice for her tribe.

This passage does a remarkable job of comparing and contrasting Daniel and Fen and how they respond to danger, which further gives us insight into their character. While Fen is used to acting and thinking quick on her feet, Daniel is not accustomed to constantly being in the sight of danger. From this passage and the incident where he could have killed everyone including Baby Girl and Fen with his virus in order to get himself out alive, it is clear that he is very sympathetic and focused on doing the  morally and humanely right thing, which is mainly because he lived outside the wall and did not have to grow up and harsh environments like Fen. He avoids killing and hurting people as much as possible, and holds Fen back from doing the same.

It is evident that Daniel and Fen have had an impact on each other and each of them is partially responsible for the growth of the other. In this quote, we can see that Daniel convinces Fen to not kill the two men who killed her tribe. Throughout the book, Fen has always been the rational thinker and Daniel acts as the “muscle”, and they need the other to survive. Here for once, Daniel was the one who was able to realize that killing the two of them would not benefit them in anyway; In other words, Daniel started think like Fen, he started to think like a survivor. Before this situation, the old Fen would have disregarded what Daniel wanted her to do and just shoved him off, but since she obeys him for once, it is clear that she trusts him, and it is evident that she has softened up towards Daniel and become less of a cold hearted person. She realize that her, Baby Girl, and Daniel are now a tribe, and they need each other to survive.

Fen’s grammar has significantly improved throughout the book because of her constant interaction with Daniel, who has perfect and fluent english. In this passage however, we can see that her grammar has reverted to how it was in the beginning of the book, because she is in a state of panic and she does not have the time to think in proper english. This tells the reader how she is not only acting as Fen from the member of the tribe, but thinking like one too. The bluntness of her sentences indicates how everything seems black and white to Fen, and how morality to her is not something complicated, and that the only obvious answer to this situation is to kill them, and that is all.

-Vennela Gadde

Close Reading of Third Class Superhero by Charles Yu

“”No. You wouldn’t. Not you.”
”Anna. Listen. ” My tone quiets her. I sound like a dif­ferent person, admitting what I’ve done. I’m already a bad guy and she can hear it. “These guys are bush league. Any two of you could have taken all of them down on a given day. What happened here? Why were they so fast today? Because they, knew. Because you were ambushed. By me. I ambushed you.”
She is silent for a long time. “Why?” she finally asks, but she is twice as smart as I am and knows the answer bet­ter than I ever will. The rescue copter is getting close. I have to leave or go to jail. I climb up the stairs and into the jet. As I am flying away, I expect to see her shooting me down, but she just waves a sad, small wave.”
The use of several I’s in this excerpt marks the inner change of Nathan and his realization of how he has basically become a bad guy, because to him being a good guy means to have extraordinary powers that help save the world, rather than being a human that does little things to help the people around him. His short sentences towards Anna and his descriptions of the circumstance note the bluntness of his situation and his acceptance of what he has done to the superheros. Even though Anna asks Nathan “Why?”, it is obvious that she knows why he did what he did because she did not shoot him while he was escaping. She is one of the few people in the story that understands the reality of their world, and how people like the main character will do bad things to be what society deems is a good person. In Nathan’s world, all good people are the superheros, not the regular humans that do little things for the people around them, which is what influences him to go to Johnnie Blade to get the super power he wants. However, Anna sees the good in people, hence her disbelief of Nathan ambushing the team , which can be proved by her short statements as well and her inability to say anything longer,  and she refuses to shoot Nathan even after he killed Zero C and badly injured Golden Boy, which actually defines her as a good person morally , not because she is a superhero. The imagery of Nathan flying away and looking down at Anna while she “waves a sad small wave” helps the reader understand the symbolism of how he is putting himself farther and farther away from his chances of ever being a good guy and setting things right. Anna’s  purpose in this novel is to show what a true good person is like and she is used to contrast that to what society deems is a good guy. Her other purpose in the book is to act as Nathan’s foil since he aspires to be a good guy, but he lacks the qualities that Anna has that makes her a good person, such as kindness, sympathy, forgivingness, and amicability.
Do you guys think the author intended to make Nathan seem like a regular human or more like a bad guy? Who do you think he resembles more of?