noTes To The Preface
1 As teaching assistant, I was responsible for reading the re-
quired texts and watching the assigned films that ranged
from Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein (1816, 1831) to George
Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion (1916) to Ridley Scott’s film
Blade Runner (1982, 1991). I was startled to find that the ma-
jority of the texts focused on characters that shape shifted,
including Pygmalion’s Eliza Doolittle, who changed from
working-class street urchin to high-society lady, or that were
composites, such as Frankenstein’s monster, whose life de-
pended on the reanimation of the different parts of cadav-
ers. Narratives such as Pygmalion appeared progressive and
concerned with trampling the stifling categories that distin-
guished different classes of beings from one another. Others,
including Frankenstein, worked to show humanity in the sub,
super, and not-human. Still others, including I Married a Mon-
ster from Outer Space (1958), were reactionary; they sought to
maintain and stiffen the boundaries between different cate-
gories of beings. In my mind, however, all of the narratives
were allegories that centered on the issue of racial difference.
2 In the United States, “slave” means “black person.” With that
in mind, perhaps the filmmaker assumed that “universal”
(read white) audiences would not be able to sympathize with
the “specificity” of black characters (especially if they were
played by black actors).
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