Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Brief Intro

“Ghost in the Shell,” directed by Mamoru Oshii, is a 1995 Japanese animated sci-fi film that delves into complex themes of identity, consciousness, and the intersection of humanity and technology. Set in a futuristic world, it follows Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg security officer, as she hunts a mysterious hacker known as the Puppet Master.

Literary Devices Used in Ghost in the Shell

Let’s explore the top 10 literary devices used in “Ghost in the Shell,” each demonstrated with specific scenes.

1. Symbolism

Movie SceneDevice Example
Opening scene with the creation of Major’s bodyThe cyborg construction symbolizes the fusion of humanity and technology.
Puppet Master’s monologue about the nature of lifeSymbolizes the existential questions of what it means to be alive.

2. Foreshadowing

Movie SceneDevice Example
Major’s frequent deep dives into the oceanForeshadows her eventual merging with the Puppet Master.
Conversations about the “ghost” in machinesHints at the Puppet Master’s true nature and his connection to Major.

3. Metaphor

Movie SceneDevice Example
Major’s reflection in the waterRepresents her quest for self-identity and understanding.
Puppet Master’s explanation of network lifeCompares digital existence to biological evolution.

4. Motif

Movie SceneDevice Example
The recurring theme of water and divingReflects Major’s search for deeper meaning and self-discovery.
Cityscapes and urban environmentsEmphasize the omnipresence of technology in human life.

5. Irony

Movie SceneDevice Example
Major, a machine, questioning her humanityHighlights the irony of a cyborg having more existential crises than humans.
Puppet Master’s desire to reproduceA non-biological entity yearning for human-like reproduction.

6. Juxtaposition

Movie SceneDevice Example
Natural vs. artificial elements throughout the filmContrasts humanity with technology.
Major’s serene moments vs. violent action scenesHighlights the duality of her existence.

7. Allusion

Movie SceneDevice Example
Puppet Master quoting from religious textsReferences to philosophical and religious concepts of life.
Major’s discussions about her “ghost”Alludes to Descartes’ philosophy of mind-body dualism.

8. Personification

Movie SceneDevice Example
The city itself seems alivePersonifies the urban environment as a living entity.
AI systems exhibiting human-like traitsHighlights the blurring lines between human and machine.

9. Flashback

Movie SceneDevice Example
Major’s memories of her human pastProvides context and depth to her character.
Puppet Master’s origin storyExplains his motivations and connection to the Major.

10. Paradox

Movie SceneDevice Example
Major’s identity crisis despite being a powerful cyborgRepresents the paradox of strength and vulnerability.
Puppet Master’s existence as both a program and a sentient beingHighlights the paradox of artificial life.

Character Analysis Through Literary Devices

Character Studies

Major Motoko Kusanagi

SymbolismThe Major’s cybernetic body symbolizes the fusion and conflict between human identity and technology.
MetaphorHer reflections in water serve as metaphors for her internal quest for identity.

Puppet Master

IronyAs a non-human entity, the Puppet Master’s desire for human experiences like reproduction is ironic.
AllusionHis speeches contain allusions to religious and philosophical ideas about existence.

Character Dynamics

JuxtapositionThe relationship between Major and the Puppet Master juxtaposes human and artificial life, highlighting their shared existential dilemmas.
MotifThe recurring theme of diving and water motifs in Major’s interactions symbolize deep introspection and connection.

Thematic Analysis

Identity and Consciousness

SymbolismMajor’s body and the concept of the “ghost” symbolize the complex nature of identity in a technologically advanced world.
ParadoxThe paradox of Major’s identity crisis despite her powerful cyborg form emphasizes the film’s exploration of consciousness.

Technology and Humanity

MetaphorThe network and connectivity serve as metaphors for the interconnectedness of human and technological evolution.
IronyThe human-like behaviors of AI entities create ironic situations that challenge the definitions of life and humanity.


AllusionReferences to philosophical and religious texts underline the film’s existential themes.
FlashbackFlashbacks to Major’s human past highlight her existential struggles.

Cinematic Techniques That Enhance Literary Devices

Literary DeviceTechniqueExplanation
SymbolismVisual imageryThe creation and destruction of Major’s body visually symbolize the themes of identity.
IronySound designThe eerie, mechanical sounds during introspective moments enhance the irony of a machine questioning its humanity.
JuxtapositionCinematographyThe contrast between serene and chaotic scenes visually juxtaposes Major’s internal and external conflicts.

Key Scene Analysis

Opening Scene: Major’s Creation

Puppet Master’s Monologue


Let’s wrap up with a fun quiz to test your understanding of the literary devices in “Ghost in the Shell.” Ready? Let’s dive in! 🌊🤖

Interactive Quiz

  1. What literary device is used when Major’s body is being created?
  2. Which device is evident in Major’s reflection in water?
  3. The recurring theme of diving in water signifies:
    • A) Fear
    • B) Conflict
    • C) Self-discovery
    • D) Technology
  4. Puppet Master’s desire for human experiences is an example of:
  5. Major’s questioning of her humanity despite being a cyborg is a: