Rei and Eliora break down the science-fiction Pixar classic – have you ever thought about why Wall-E and Eve are gendered? Or how they seem even more relatable and human than the actual humans in the story? Now you can listen to us talk about it!
Eli: Hey guys this is journsplit, a podcast on popular literature brought to you by journalism club! I’m Eliora.
Rei: and I’m Rei.
Eli: and in this episode, we’ll be talking about the movie WALL-E. We’re doing this movie because most people voted for it as their first choice, and we’re assuming that you know it. In case you didn’t, we’re doing it anyway, and in case you don’t know it, here’s a TLDR.
1: That thing where humans leave earth and go to live on Mars becomes half-true (the leaving earth bit, not the living on Mars thing)because the earth is filled with their garbage.. A lonely trash robot called WALL-E is left to clean up garbage while the humans get fat on a spacecraft called the Axiom. Another robot, EVE, is sent from the Axiom to earth on a mission and bumps into WALL-E who falls in love with her and pursues her across the galaxy. (said fast)
2: So what we do here is we point out stuff we found interesting in movies, books, etc.
1: interesting thing number one: walle’s a boy and eve’s a girl. how so? they’re literal hunks of metal
2: well there’s the matter of their names. eve is a female name (like in adam and eve) and wally’s like, a short form of walter, which is a traditionally male name.
1: and their voice actors. Eve has a female voice actor, Elissa Knight, and sounds distinctly female while walle has a male voice actor.
2: There’s also their visual design. Walle’s a literal cube while Eve is rounder.
1: Pixar has done this before in the movie UP, where things that were “Carl’s” including his face were more squareish, whereas Ellie’s things were more roundish. Squares and straight edges in general literature are also perceived as more masculine while curves and rounded shapes are perceived to be more feminine. This could be because the female body is generally thought of as curvier than the male body.
2: WALLE is also dirty and is a literal trash robot (not to imply that men are trash) while Eve is more polished and clean. This could be because men in the media are usually portrayed as untidy whereas women are portrayed as being cleaner and more hygienic.
1: However, walle seems to have the traditionally female role in that he is weaker and more emotional and seems to need protection while eve is the ‘professional, cold, intelligent badass’ protector.
2: for the purposes of this podcast, we’ll be referring to walle as he and eve as she
1: interesting thing number two: the robots are incredibly human. We first see walle in a vast open space where he is the only thing moving, which makes it quite evident that he is alone. Later on, we see him watching cheesy romance tv, which emphasises his loneliness and longing for company.
2: another fascinating thing that he does is rocking the shelf on which he was resting, like a child in a swing or a person in a rocking chair – perhaps trying to lull himself to sleep, to find some comfort?
1: he also seems groggy when he wakes, which is definitely for comedic effect, but it also shows him feeling tiredness, something that is very human.
2: later, when he accidentally rolls over the cockroach, he makes a high pitched noise like a scream and appears to be distressed, showing human compassion and knowledge of death and injury.
1: Fairy lights! Walle also decorates his living space with fairy lights!!
2: Other comedic things like being more fascinated with a ring box than the ring inside it, hitting himself in the face with a paddleball and all that hullabaloo about the fire extinguisher contributes to the impression of childlike curiosity
1: so there’s like the chasing the laser like a cat-
2: running from danger and trembling in fear-
1: being intimidated by but also appreciative of eve-
2: eve ‘sleeping’ at night (they can’t see it but air quotes)-
1: and eve slamming doors in frustration when she finds nothing- and blowing up an entire ship
2: Also they do the thing where WALL-E shows EVE some of his nice things like when a guest comes over and you show them some bits of your home you like
1: Yea and EVE does the thing where she plays with something and accidentally breaks it then quickly puts it back
2: both robots inquiring of each other ‘what do you do?’ very characteristic of human small talk
1: wall e going tadaaa after showing eve what he was built to do
2: learning each others names, laughing,
1: holding hands, running from danger,
2: being fascinated by spinny things,
1: cheesy romance tingz- wanting to hold her hand, being clumsy and falling over himself – which is, yk, the stereotypical image of someone with a crush
2: and wall-e being distraught by eve’s sudden deactivation, calling her name
1: eve also changes after meeting walle- in the beginning, eve shoots everything in sight and then checks later and is super defensive and hostile. Wall e begs her not to shoot his things and teaches her to change from violence as her first reaction
2: also also at the end of the film, eve does the same excited hand gesture that walle does- really goes to show how much of a positive impact he’s left on her in making her have more humanity
1: Going deeper into this topic- notice how the saddest point in the story is Wall•e’s loss of memory – not only because he has forgotten Eve but because he’s returned to what he was programmed to be – a robot and nothing more- he’s lost his humanity
2: there is also a tv show playing as wall•e and eve reunite which is an obvious comparison of them to humans. And that’s where we’re ending this
1: wait wait wait so this is taken from something i saw on the internet- wall-e is synonymous to the plant he found in that they both exist to clean up the earth, and remind everyone of what they left behind and why they should go back
Eve and walle’s love is also synonymous to the intertwining of modern and older technology to shape the world- this contrast can be seen from their starkly different designs
2: that’s interesting!
1: and that’s all we have for today! Look out for our next episode on titanic!