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What's the meaning of the cat during the first movie?? why...

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Question by mp3sattack
Submitted on 11/15/2003
Related FAQ: MOVIES: ALIEN FAQ part 1/4
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What's the meaning of the cat during the first movie?? why is so important for Ripley to keep the cat alive with her??? are there any deep meanings of the whole cat role during the movie??

Answer by bang
Submitted on 4/23/2004
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I don't know for sure but I have thought about this often. What I think is that none of the characters on the Nostromo are particularly likeable. What sets Ripley apart, and indeed more so in the sequel Aliens, is her caring nature. I think in making the selfless effort to save the cat (and Newt in the sequel) we as viewers actually care about what happens to HER. Also, unlike the very money-hungry characters on the Nostromo, the cat is an innocent, there by circumstance and not choice. Much suspense is created in the final stages of the film where even though we are fairly sure Ripley is going to survive there is still the will she/won't she save the cat question. The cat is also there bearing witness to Brett's death (you see a close up of Jonesy'sface after the Alien gets Brett) and this, I feel, gives it greater impact. There may be some deeper meaning of the cat but this is what I think.


Answer by Corporal Hicks
Submitted on 9/2/2005
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The cat plays a subtle role in the film in many ways. First and foremost, cats are basically Earth counterparts to the Aliens in the films. They are efficient predators, they stalk their prey, and they are adept at the element of surprise. Consider if Jones was a dog... A dog would not have sat by passively when the alien kills Brett. A dog would have either tried to aid Brett, thus suffering a like demise, or barked to alert others to the event, also resulting in his own death. Jones also, as bang points out, adds an element of humanity to Ripley's character. Will she sacrifice him to save herself? Or will she risk herself to make sure Jones survives? Finally, Jones serves to remind the audience about the importance of choice. As Bang also pointed out... Jones has no stake in his own presence aboard Nostromo. Nevertheless, Ripley's choice in the end to risk her life to save that of a non-rationalizing entity incapable of compassion is a very basic example of the human desire to self-sacrifice when the need arises. Hope I was helpful!


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