A Scanner Darkly Analysis

Ashlyn Phillips Mr. Flanigan/ Dystopian Literature Period 2 December 4, 2012 Who Are You? As young children we begin to develop a personality, one that is based off of the people we are surrounded with. When identifying who we are as people, physical appearance is less important in comparison to our spirits and mindsets. The body serves only as a shuttle for our spirits and minds, without these two assets our bodies would simply only be empty shells. In Philip K.

Dick’s A Scanner Darkly, the protagonist, Bob Arctor, has fallen victim to a highly addictive drug called Substance D, which has the side effect of splitting the personality in one’s mind.

In dealing with the abuse of this drug, Arctor begins to lose himself and forgets what really makes him who he is. Our souls, character and appearance determine who we are as people, without these three attributes it would be very difficult to differentiate between one human from the next.

The brain begins to develop in the first trimester of pregnancy, even as fetuses we are able to think and begin to develop our personalities inside the womb. As we enter the world and begin living, our surrounding environments control the outcomes of our minds, bodies and spirits. If you are born into a wealthy family, it is more than likely that you will live a wealthy lifestyle; if you are born into a poor family, it is more than likely that you will live a poor lifestyle.

A Scanner Darkly Summary

In society, we are first identified by how much money we have, then by how we look and at last we begin to learn more about each other to identify who our characters are through how we wish to portray ourselves.

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Our personalities begin to develop when we are first able to open our eyes, smile and really when we begin to communicate with each other. From there we begin to learn what we like to do in life; whether it be dancing, singing, painting, playing sports, etc.

These attributes are major when identifying a person. Our spirits begin to develop at an early age and although they can be slightly altered as life goes on, we never really change entirely. One can be judged by their physical appearance and be separated from one person to the next simply based on that, however, if asked who Bob Marley is as a person, the answer would be far more detailed than if only asked what he looks like. Personality and character traits are really the basis of determining who we are as people.

If a set of identical twins were put in the same room together and a group of people were asked to differentiate between Sarah and Mary, they would only be able to based on appearance. The more in depth question would be, how can you tell who Sarah is and who Mary is? In answering this question many key attributes are discussed such as, Sarah may be more energetic, loud, creative, talkative, religious and athletic than Mary, allowing for their friends to automatically know who is who when confronted by either twin.

Personality always gives the answer. If the personality changes or begins to morph into two different sides, determining who someone is becomes a very difficult task. In A Scanner Darkly, Fred goes undercover as a drug addict in order to solve a major case but in doing so, he himself becomes addicted to the drug and his personality begins to split into two different people, Fred and Bob; Fred being the undercover cop and Bob being the addict.

As Fred’s life morphs into Bob’s, he begins to lose himself entirely and the world as he knew it before completely changes into something different than he thought. “He will sink into a needle-and-a-spoon existence, or bounce off the walls in a psychiatric hospital or, worst of all, a federal clinic…And all this will occur deliberately, someone figured out what he was doing and then got him this way. The worst way of all: with the stuff they sell that he was after them for selling. (86) His personality can no longer be analyzed because he thinks as two entirely different people as if he has two separate brains in one head. Clearly this is an issue due to the fact that we are recognized by our personalities. If two personalities are competing against one another inside of one mind, there is no way to really know who that person is. Fred loses himself in Bob’s world and the drug becomes more important than anything else, as it usually does inside the mind of a drug addict.

Without the soul, the body is like a light bulb without electricity. The soul gives the body meaning and purpose, without it there would only be boys and girls, not unique individuals with their own characteristics. The soul carries along every memory, experience, encounter, and detail of each person in the world. A wise soul will think beyond their years, a young soul will stay a teenager at heart forever and an evil soul will end up in the dark side of life and all of these souls grow through life experiences and will only be influenced by these experiences.

The soul in one person does not change entirely through life experiences it can only change slightly by being influenced by those around us. In determining who we are as people, the soul is the key ingredient and it should be the first thing that is analyzed from one human being to the next. More often than not, looks do not matter, it is what lies within ourselves that determines who we are as individuals.

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A Scanner Darkly Analysis
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