Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why I love Doctor Brigid Tenenbaum.

When I started to pay attention to Bioshock, it was because of the moral issues presented in the story. 

After I started to play the game, a character stood out to me.  Doctor Brigid Tenenbaum.  She's one of our main viewpoints throughout Rapture.  She's a genius, she's a holocaust survivor, she caused the downfall of Rapture.  She's working on fixing it. 

We have a very flawed woman at the core of the Rapture story.  And in those flaws she can explore every side of Rapture.  Her backstory has her as a Holocaust survivor, but she was a bit more than that. She joined the Nazis because they offered her science and survival.  Even though she was Jewish.  Even though she was a woman.  Even though she was trying to do genetics.  And survive she did.  She went along with experiments on her own people because she wanted to find out why people were the way they were.  Smart, dumb, strong, weak, blond, brunette.  What was genetics, how did it control who we were, and could it be changed?

And when she arrived in Rapture, it was for the same reason.  Survival.  A Jewish ex Nazi female scientists would NOT have done well in the world outside. The Jewish People weren't that well respected, and the fact that she was a female Ex Nazi scientist would have kept people from hiring her anyway.    So, Andrew Ryan offers her another option.  Survival.  Survive in the underwater world of Rapture. Survive in a world where you can do your science no matter what and no one knows who you truly are.  She accepts.

She arrives in Rapture and in a chance walk along the docks she discovers what will change Rapture forever.  ADAM.  She knows that there is a dock worker who had injured his hand in World War II.  She knew that as of yesterday that man was still injured. She knows that today she is watching him play catch with the injured hand.  He gives her a slug, and she begins her research.  This is her way to survive here.  In the world of Rapture, your life is dependent on how much and how hard you work.  She doesn't run a shop, she doesn't work in a hospital.  Her job is to do science.  That may not always pay.  Especially when you are a female scientist in the strange and new world of genetics.  So, she goes to Frank Fontaine.  The man with the money.  The man with the ties.  The black market man.  More importantly, money is survival.  It's her way to work in Rapture, otherwise, she'll be ignored and beaten by the masses again.  Like always, she chooses survival.

And, eventually, chooses her own.  She makes the discovery of several lifetimes.  ADAM.  Something that can rewrite anyone's genetic structure.  Something that can fulfill her wildest dreams.  It also causes physical degregation, insanity, increased rage, and addiction.  She still goes through with it.  She gets her money, Fontaine gives her protection.  She, as always, SURVIVES.  She survives at the cost of Rapture, at the cost of the little girls. 

Yes, the Little Sisters.  she creates them.  ADAM is starting to run thin, the insanity is starting to break out so they have these ADAM filled bodies.  And Tenenbaum figures out that putting the slug that creates ADAM into a young female hose will cause it to yield three times the ADAM when the host ingests it.  It guarantees her job, so she tries to perfect it.  She is probably involved in the Big Daddy side of it, where they turn political prisoners into mindless and ADAM drenched beasts.  It guarantees her survival.

Until she spends just a BIT too much time around the Little Sisters.  When she finds people who love her no matter what she's done.  People who will probably die soon because of how she put survival before everything.

She changes then.  Slowly, but significantly, she begins to unwind her ideology and begins to put the other children first.

I'll finish this tomorrow. 

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