Hidden Figures – 10 Questions (2.23.17 due)

Each of you is assigned one question to address at the bottom of this post in relation to the film “Hidden Figures.” You should respond to this post by 2.23.17 (noon). You can also respond to any of your classmates thoughts as well. *Bonus question (optional): Why do you feel the film was titled “Hidden Figures?”2016-12-23-8110f3a7-5afc-480f-a073-e948fa7f8717

  • Will Braunlich – Which technical aspects (acting, sound design, special effects, costume, etc.) of “Hidden Figures” had the greatest impact to the film? Defend your answer.
  • Sthefany Flores – Which character had the strongest character arc/development? Why do you feel that way?
  • Rachel Gann – Defend this statement: “Character was more important than story in the film Hidden Figures.”hidden-figures-13
  • Kate Lamar – Why is “Hidden Figures” worthy of award recognition? Offer thoughts to support that .
  • Taylor Lillard – What was a key message or moral of “Hidden Figures”? Explain your answer.
  • Tyra Long – What was the dominant “character conflict”? Explain your answer.
  • Mallory Moore –What was the “Story Question” and how was it answered?Hidden Figures Day 41
  • Kacy O’Connor – Did the film succeed for you? Why or why not? Offer examples.
  • Haley Walker – Defend this statement: “Story was more important than character in the film Hidden Figures.”
  • TJ Wilkerson – There were several social messages within this film; what message or messages do you feel are still relevant today for our society?
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21 thoughts on “Hidden Figures – 10 Questions (2.23.17 due)

  1. Mallory Moore
    What was the “Story Question” and how was it answered?
    The story question for “Hidden Figures” was, “What will happen when these three women try to make advancements in their careers when they are discriminated against, both racially and sexually?”
    The film answered this question by giving each woman a goal that was made clear early on in the story. Katherine wanted to successfully help get a man into Space for the United States, Dorothy wanted to be promoted to supervisor, and Mary wanted to become an engineer. The film followed each woman’s progress towards her goal while also showing how smaller steps were taken to overcome the discrimination. Katherine, for example, slowly found the courage it took to tell her boss that there was no bathroom for her in the building and to get him to allow her to sit in on vital briefings. Each woman was shown working hard and fighting daily battles until all the goals were achieved.
    Bonus Question: Why do you feel the film was titled “Hidden Figures?”
    I think that “hidden figures” refers to two things. First, the “figures” or numbers/equations/ mathematical theories that Katherine needed to remember in order to get the space orbit to work. In the first scene when she was shown as a little girl recognizing geometrical shapes in the window, I thought about how “figures” could refer to concepts in math that are “hidden” all around us in the real world.
    But the “figures” could also refer to the women working at NASA, not just the three main characters of the film, but the whole group of “computers” that worked extremely hard but never got credit. When we think of the U.S putting a man into space, we think of the astronauts and President Kennedy. We don’t think of those women.

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  2. Kate Lamar:
    Why is “Hidden Figures” worthy of award recognition?
    One reason that “Hidden Figures” is because it deals with the Black Vs. White conflict in the characters. This is from at the beginning of the movie they had so many disagreements, and the struggle that they had to deal with, and then at the end of the movie they put all of the conflicts behind them to come together to work for NASA to accomplish what they had been working on! Also, a reason is showing how the women could do great things for the company. The workers from NASA was not all about the women coming, and taking over the mathematical part, the computer, and the engineer part. But, after the NASA workers saw what the women could bring to the table, they thought that having the three women working for and helping them out what a great thing! Another reason is the way they got the picture, from when he was traveling across the Earth, to the work they were doing at the NASA station. From these reasons, I think the movie is award winning, it comes back to show you, anybody can work for a big company! I think it you can bring something to the table that will help the company out in a way that you did not think, they go for it, and do not let anybody tell you otherwise!
    Why do you feel the film was titled “Hidden Figures?”
    The movie was titled this, because it shows a hidden side of the women, and it came out as the movie was progressing. With the three different math, engineering, and computer science, that the women were cable of doing, then it was showing you can never know what somebody is capable of doing, until you see it with your eyes! The main thing, is when Katherine was showing how much of a mathematician she was, and her co-worker did not believe it! Then, the workers could not believe how much she was helping them out in all of the equations.

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  3. I felt like the biggest technical aspect of the movie Hidden Figures, was the acting. You have this movie that’s based on true events, and somehow they put in the effort that makes you believe that you’re watching the actual people argue and have conflicts in their lives, instead of watching a regular movie. Taraji P. Henson, who played Katherine, portrayed the actual person well enough, by behaving how the real Katherine Johnson would act in the situation back in the 1960’s when she wasn’t allowed access to any of the information given to her. The other two actresses portrayed their real life counterparts as well as Henson did. The actors that played the side characters did well too. Kevin Costner did great portraying the big boss who wants to make sure everything is 100% perfect when john Glenn makes his trip into space. Jim Parsons also was fun to watch, portraying either a real person, or just someone who didn’t want Katherine to have access to any of the information, not because it’s ‘classified’, but also because of how she’s different from everyone else.

    -Will Braunlich

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  4. Did the film succeed for you? Why or why not? Offer examples.

    The film succeeded to me because of the progression of success the three women “hidden figures” saw during the movie. I also really enjoyed the style in which the film was shot, which helped add to the success of the film. My favorite part of the film was when Katherine would run back and forth from her workplace to the colored bathrooms and they were constantly wondering where she was going. I loved this part because the director, Theodore Melfi, added music in these scenes and showed Katherine literally sprinting back and forth with a stack of papers in her hand. This added a humorous element into this reoccurring scene. The film had a sassy take on portraying these three women and how successful they became and also how successful they made NASA as well. The film helped show how these women broke the barriers for African-Americans and females in our space program. Another huge element that added on to this success was no matter how many times these women were shot down or turned away, they continued to prevail because they knew what they were fighting for. The film did such an awesome job showing the different personalities of the three women and how each one was successful in NASA in their own way.

    Why was the film titled “Hidden Figures”?
    The film was titled “Hidden Figures” because these three women were behind in the scenes in the success of space travel and NASA in general. For example, Katherine was apart of the success with checking all the calculations in the Space Task Group. This seems like such a small task but it was one huge task in making sure John Glenn’s launch, landing, etc. was a success. The fame that came with NASA and this mission was successful because of these women who were behind the scenes… which is why the film was titled “Hidden Figures.”

    -Kacy O’Connor

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  5. Haley Walker – Defend this statement: “Story was more important than character in the film Hidden Figures.”

    I think that without the story, we would have never know about the “hidden figures” behind the space programs at NASA. The main characters are all female and African-American in a time when segregation divided us by skin color and males did not take females seriously (besides being mothers, cooks and housekeepers). Katherine was able to successfully help a man get into space by her knowledge of math and difficult equations. Dorothy became the supervisor of the computers and Mary became the first woman to attend classes at an all-white high school, and she became the first black engineer on the NASA team. The story ties all of their achievements together, by showing the very real tension between races, and by showing how the characters developed over time. It shows how Katherine was able to move on and find love again, and it shows how Mary’s husband is able to completely and freely support her dreams. It shows how the relationship between Dorothy and Vivien went from enemies to colleagues. We see real footage from NASA and Martin Luther King Jr., which give us some insight into what the time period was like, and how very uncommon it was for African-Americans to succeed in that time. The story is a visual aid, and it works beautifully.

    Bonus: Why do you feel the film was titled “Hidden Figures?”

    Hidden Figures could imply two things. The first being that Katherine, Dorothy and Mary, along with many others were “computers” who helped to make sure calculations were correct in regards to the space program at NASA. Katherine became the first African-American woman to help a man get into space. Dorothy became the first African-American supervisor over the IMD machine and the other “computers”. Mary became the first African-American woman to engineer for NASA. These ladies, or “figures” aren’t the people we think of when we think of the success of a man entering space. We often think of the men who made it possible, but now we get to see the women who made it possible.

    Second, figures could be the equations and mathematical questions that were keeping the men from entering space. There was an equation that was hidden, and they thought it was unknown. By taking a look at the numbers, Katherine was able to figure out that the equation was the Oilers Method, an ancient but plausible equation.

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  6. Rachel Gann-Defend the statement “characters were more important than the story”

    The characters of “Hidden Figures” were more important than the story because they actually created the story. The characters are all based on real people, the real women actually went through what the characters in the film went through and so they are the reason why there is even a story to begin with. No one sat in a drawing room coming up with a story like this because there was already one out there, a real one with real people. There are people who say “you can’t have a story without the characters” but for this film that is actually true. The characters are more important than the story for this film because the characters are the story, they are the reason that there is even a story to begin with. In a lot of movies and books, you see the author or director introduce the characters and develop their backstories, who they are, where they’re from etc. I think in most cases, the story develops the characters because without the story there would be no characters. But in this case there would be no story without the characters because the story didn’t develop the characters, the characters developed the story.

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  7. Sthefany Flores
    Which character had the strongest character arc/development? Why do you feel that way?
    Of the three primary characters who were followed, I believe that Katherine Goble (Taraji P. Henson) had the strongest development. From the start, the film showed that Henson’s character had great potential. In the beginning, it showed her as a child moving at an accelerated rate through school. As an adult, she became the first African American to work with the trajectory of the Mercury 7. On her first day in this division in NASA she revised the numbers of other’s calculations, but the reports were seriously redacted. Because of this, one of the first shifting actions of her character was to stand her ground as she was questioned by her superior Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) and Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons). Although this wasn’t the biggest confrontation in the movie, it was the beginning of a bigger one. Henson’s character always stands her ground when she is speaking to others but there is hesitance to do so at her place of work—which is completely justified. Her workplace was still segregated and she had been warned that one wrong step could get her fired. There is also the added pressure that she also has three daughters depending on her. After she is granted clearance to view documents without redactions, her work flourishes—much to the distaste of Parsons’ character—until she is met with another obstacle: the long trek to the bathroom. Then, rain-soaked and trembling, she made the boldest speech in the movie. She yelled and let the room know exactly how she feels and how she is marginalized by those around her. By the “colored” coffee pot, the dresscode which allowed for pearls, and the fact that there were no bathrooms in the surrounding buildings which she felt comfortable using. This speech broke the pretense held by her co-workers that she was being treated fairly and woke up Costner’s character to the issues his employee was facing. After this, she is treated with more respect in her workplace. She struggles to make sure that her reports have her name on them in the author’s place and she takes charge of the calculations of landing in front of a board of officials. Her final standoff is the re-calculation of the flight path and landing at the end of the movie. After she runs across the NASA facility she is met with a closed door. She stands there and the audience feels blighted along with her, until Costner opens the door and allows her inside. Her arc was not only strong but it also showed what many other people of color had to deal with in segregated times, specially women in the work field. She persists and steamrolls through obstacles until she finally reaches an end point: being seen as a legitimate coworker and the mind that helped design the flightpath used to get a man in space.

    Why do you feel the film was titled “Hidden Figures?”
    – These women are called hidden figures because they have always been in our history but never focused on. Without them, it would not have been possible to have launched a man safely into space. Yet, they do not get much credit for what they have done in many history classes or in mainstream media. It is a problem rampant through the contributions that have been made by people of color. Many of their important contributions have not been put into the spotlight which leads to a marginalized view of history. This movie allowed for these three women to step out of the shadows and be seen for their contributions and what they represent for their people and the time that they live in. Because of this spotlight they are “hidden no more.”

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  8. In the movie, there was one main social message that caught my attention that is still relevant to today. That message is that no matter what we are whether sex or race, anybody is capable of the doing the same thing, yet despite this, people are still undermined by their abilities because they are different. Like for example, Katherine despite being the best mathematician at NASA was not recognized at the beginning nor given credit until the end of the movie because she was black. People will tell you that racism like that still goes on even society has changed overtime. Another example of this message when Mary Jackson wanted to be an engineer, but because she was black and i guess because she was a woman that she was not allowed that title, but proved she deserved it.

    Another message I found is that no matter what race we are, we are all humans that can get along when we try. Towards the climax of the movie, Al Harrison, who was Katherine ‘s boss, became fond of Katherine’s determination and hard work allowing those two to make a good team. That is shown in today’s society that when we all come together, we can do even greater things even if we are different races or different in any other ways like people with autism or the different genders of male and female.

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  9. The major character conflict in this movie would have to be Man vs. Society without a doubt. This movie was was about three women who had the potential to make history but, society would not let them because of their race. The setting of the movie was during a time in America where racsism was at its peak. In the movie the Afrian American workers have to work downstairs in a basement type area because they were not able to work with the whites. Although they all worked for NASA, they all had an eductaion, and in my opinion the blacks may have been a bit smarter, because of society they were not given that chance. Once the main character got moved up to work with the whites they did not even want her reading information that she should have had access to becasue of her position. Also you see a bit of Man vs. Man in throughout the movie. Katherine Johnson works under Paul Stafford when she first gets the position. The conflict arises when Paul notices how brilliant Kathrine really is. There is constant tension between the two because he does not want her to perform well and he wants to take the credit for everything and she justr want to mak history. These two conflicts are issential to understanding the movie and the time in took place in

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    1. I feel like the title “Hidden Figures” represents the three women. They are hidden figures. These black, strong, idependent women are hidden. NASA hid them down under in that basement to work, they hid Kathrine when she began to work under Paul, and at first Dorothy had to hide when she was fiing the IDM machine. The title represents the women. How they were always in the background and always getting the short end of the stick. But I also feel like the word figures signifies that these women, in the end, are figures to look up to and figures that made history and changed America.

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  10. What was a key message or moral of “Hidden Figures”? Explain your answer.

    There were a lot of messages in this movie but there is the one that stood out to me the most. In this movie women proved that they are just as powerful and smart as men. Three specific women fought to be heard in different areas of NASA and made other people realize they weren’t just computers. These African American women were already fighting for equal rights, because of their race and fighting even more because of their sex. When they were just the computers they knew to stay in the background, but since they were all given better opportunities they took the chance to finally speak up. When they did speak up, they made sure everyone around them heard what they needed to say. Dorothy was a persistent woman and never let up when she wanted something. Mary wanted to be the first African American woman engineer and by making sure of that, she made sure her voice was heard. Katherine was tired of running back and forth to the colored women’s restroom everyday, so she made sure everyone in that office heard. Katherine addressed to everyone in that office that day, that she is just as smart and capable as everyone in that office. But since she was black and a woman, she wasn’t able to use the same coffee pot or relieve herself in the restroom. All three of these women made a major impact in NASA while working there. All three of these women proved that women are just as powerful and smart as men.

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