The Importance of Memory

I was most intrigued by Tyrell’s belief that if you gift a replicant with memories, you “create a cushion or pillow for their emotions” which allows for these androids to be more easily controlled. This statement, of course, becomes more complicated as Rachael slowly realizes that the majority of her memories are artificially planted into her consciousness, and actually belong to Tyrell’s niece. As she plays the piano, she can’t remember if the piano lessons are her own, or if her ability to play is merely a byproduct of another’s experience. What I find so fascinating is the assertion that memory and control are linked through their development of a character, as the existence of one allows for the exertion of another. While these memories create an interiority and independence for the characters, they also reveal an artificiality behind this construction. This got me thinking about how the development of any fictional character is similar to that of the replicant, as memories and experiences are projected onto a character via a second-party. It also seems that the presence of these “memories” within a character allows for a more genuine, controlled relationship between reader and character, much like the way in which memories within a replicant provide a “cushion or pillow” through which emotion can be understood.

1 Comment

  1. I think this is a really interesting way to parallel character construction and replicant creation. I believe there’s a portion of the movie in which the slogan for Tyrell Corporation is revealed to be “More human than human,” which was always an interesting notion to me–how does one supersede humanity? I thought it suggested that their replicants are smarter and stronger or perhaps even cling to a set of morals better. In the end Roy seems to boast a bit about how he is willing to show Deckard sympathy when Deckard does not extend the same courtesy to them, implying that Deckard is somehow less human. That said, I don’t actually think that’s a very strong case because no matter what humans idealize as a set of morals, there will always be a difference between true human behavior and the objective ‘right thing.’ However after reading your post I came to understand that slogan differently. In some of the readings we’ve had, there has been an argument for creating reality within the novel as a way to study events in the world inside a microcosm of it to reveal new truths. Perhaps that is the true meaning behind that slogan then–replicants are not at heart an imitation but a creation of their own meant to prove something about humanity as characters do in literature.

Leave a Reply