In a short review essay (2-3 double-spaced pages) answer one of the questions listed
below. Essay due: beginning of class, March 1.
When Klaatu asks Mr. Harley to have the President set up a meeting with all the
nations on Earth so that he can deliver his warning, Harley responds that this sort
of thing is "completely without precedent" and that that "they wouldn't sit down
at the same table." Klaatu's response is to express his impatience with stupidity.
In several places the film depicts our response to the arrival of Klaatu and Gort
as less than reasonable. Discuss several examples of this, linking your discussion
to what you have learned so far about postwar American attitudes.
When Klaatu asks Bobby Benson "Who's the greatest man on earth?", Bobby's answer
is Professor Barnhart. So, having given up on dealing directly with political leaders,
Klaatu decides to go to the scientific community by way of Barnhart. Yet Barnhart
warns Klaatu that "we scientists are too often ignored or misunderstood." Who or
what does Barnhart represent to a 1950s audience? Why would Klaatu (or Bobby) place
so much faith in the earth's scientists? And why is Barnhart skeptical of his ability
to influence the world's political leaders? Discuss these questions in light of
what you have learned so far about postwar American attitudes.