Twins: Clones, Individuals & The Uncanny

In class we discussed the idea of identical twins as unsettling. I brought up the work of photographer Diane Arbus, who took this image of twins. Their symmetry is strange and unsettling to observe. As people, we define ourselves by our sense of self as an individual. When another person has identical physical characteristics, it defies our understanding of them as physically unique, as distinctly human. This issue parallels the clones of Never Let Me Go. The clones struggle with their own humanity, their desire to recognize personal fulfillment, meaningful emotional relationships, in a world where they are not allowed to reach personal maturity. The clones, with no parents to inspect for physical similarities, search the faces of strangers for a glimpse of an adult life. When faced with the hypothetical question of whether I would accept an organ from one of these clones, these people whose lives are defined by their ultimate sacrifice, I am torn. After reading the novel, I don’t believe I would accept the slow murder of an innocent person for my own health. However, if this society existed, I believe I would not want to lose my own life for the principle of someone whose life is out of my sight and thus my mind. This reminds me of a certain theoretical question posed to me, “Would you push a button that would kill a complete strange for ten million dollars?” I think this answer lies in the individual’s opinion of their own connectedness to all people, in terms of the consequences of their own desires.

-Hannah Fasick

~ by hannahfiasco on February 15, 2010.

3 Responses to “Twins: Clones, Individuals & The Uncanny”

  1. Yes, identical twins have identical DNA but there are epigenetic and other environmental factors that make each twin a unique individual.

  2. I was not referring to their status as an individual in the truest sense, which of course they are, simply that they are not an individual physically.

  3. Your comparison to the “push button” question was so striking and i completely agree. Have you seen that movie with Cameron Diaz, “The Box”? I haven’t, but I know from the trailers that she does push it and the random person ends up being her son (i think). You may want to check it out, but I thank you for the insight on that similarity, it was very astute!

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