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Louise’s linguistic expertise and her curiosity and openness combine to advance communication and cooperation between heptapod and human. Her successful approach with the heptapods also ultimately causes a profound change within her own mind and perception of reality. Louise is a consummate professional with a rigorously scientific approach; she relies on what she knows and is always careful never to assume anything about the heptapods and their language. This conscious effort to be totally impartial is vital to Louise’s approach in understanding and finding common ground with the heptapods. Louise understands that a biased approach that includes assumptions not grounded in fact could lead to a dangerous misunderstanding between the two species, so she proceeds cautiously and carefully. Her approach bears fruit and successfully opens the communication channels between human and heptapod.
The men around Louise are anxious to move on to what they consider the most important things. Weber wants to know why the aliens are here and what they want from humanity. Gary wants to learn about the heptapods’ obviously advanced scientific and technological understanding. But Louise is different, marking a distinct contrast between her character and theirs. She knows that understanding the heptapods’ modes of communication is the only way to get to the things the men want to learn, and she thus takes a less direct and more curiosity-driven approach. Louise’s curiosity and openness to different possibilities leads her to ponder what the heptapods’ biology and languages indicate about their worldview. This intellectual curiosity in turn leads to Louise’s biggest personal breakthrough when she begins to truly grasp Heptapod B. The change within Louise is so profound that she begins to experience time in a nonlinear fashion and to appreciate life in a totally different and ultimately more fulfilling way.