Tag Archives: monster

The Continuum of Frankenstein

The display in the mall of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was very interesting. For the most part, as a class we covered a large portion of the information that was displayed. But, there were other interesting facts and theories that caught my attention. One of these is, why is Frankenstein still embedded within pop culture after being published more than a hundred years ago?

I think there is two ways to look at this; why has the monster risen to become an icon in pop culture and what has kept it going? Both of these questions were touched upon by the display. The very back section of the display indulged into the idea of genetics and cloning. It could be the idea of creating a human like model that is living from scratch that really interests people. This idea could of invoked different emotions, for some it could have scared them and others interested them, especially with the rise of Mendelian genetics roughly 50 years later. This thought of the afterlife in combination with genetics could possibly give some inferences of why the monster rose to become an icon.

The next question, what contributed to the monsters progression into pop culture? This is the section that really interested me. Based on the content that was displayed it seems that the popularity of the monster can be attributed to the entertainment and consumer goods industry. “Now a vibrant element of American popular culture, the image of the monster has been appropriated widely to entertain and to market consumer good to the public. Toys, children’s games, plastic model kits, coloring books, Halloween costumes, cartoons, lunch boxes, Christmas ornaments, breakfast cereals, video games and scores of other products.” Although there may be other factors involved, this point might be a strong one for the prevalence of the monsters today.

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Human?

On Thursday there were two discussions that I thought about even after the class ended. The fist one was about if the monster was human or not. The second was about if Victor was right or wrong in creating the monster.

I found the discussion we had in class about whether Frankenstein’s monster was human or not very interesting. The monster was created out of human parts and he did not come into this world normally. He was created not born. Although he did not have to grow up physically he did have to learn stuff the way all humans have to starting with sensations then to speech and communication. His brain was a blank slate.

I think he is human despite the way he was brought into the world. He has the same human emotions (anger, spitefulness, loneliness  pity, joy, guilt, and sadness)  learning capabilities (was a blank slate and needed to learn sensations, words and their meanings, how to communicate etc.) and needs (companionship, to be accepted by his creator, food, water etc.)  If we were to successfully clone a human being would that make them any less human than a non clone? I think not. Therefore, the matter in which he came into this world does not make him any less human than you and I.

As for whether it was right or wrong for Victor to create the monster I think it depends on what you focus on. Is it wrong because he is playing God? Is it wrong because he mutilated bodies of other human beings? Is it okay since it was in the name of science? I honestly do not have an answer. Each of these questions make me answer differently. What I can say for certain is I think it was very wrong of Victor to abandon his creation.

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Being an 18 year old Novelist

While in the Library learning the story behind Frankenstein, and Mary Shelleys’ life, one thing stuck out to me more than anything else. It was incredible that people their age were better writers than College students these days. The fact that she was bilingual was also astonishing to me and that being 18 to 20 years old at their time meant that you were an adult who probably had a real profession. People were doctors when they were 19 years old, had children, and were getting married. Most people who were intelligent then had jobs that would take us now years to get, years of college and specialized training in that specific field of work. This makes me feel that people then were much more intelligent than we are today, and if they had our technology at their figure tips, the possibilities would be endless for them. Frankenstein has become one of the best literary works of art ever, and is known around the entire world. Being able to write a full on novel while being married, having kids, and numerous other hoops to jump through, really makes Mary Shelley one of the best writers in history.

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Is Victor Wrong?

In class today we talked about if Victor was wrong for making the monster. In my opinion, Victor is not wrong for making it. It may have been selfish of him to make it, but to have a scientific breakthrough is something not many people would pass up. He singlehandedly brought something to life which is unbelievable. If more people found out what he did, he would be famous and would be thought of as one of the great thinkers in of that time.

Victor is at fault for turning his breakthrough into something bad. If he tamed the monster and actually took care of him, there would have been no issues. Even by completely abandoning the monster, Victor still had another opportunity to make things right just by making a companion for the monster. The monster makes a good point by saying “I am alone, and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would no deny herself to me. My companion must be the of the same species, and have the same defects.” If Victor had complied with the monster’s request, he would have most likely not run into the problems that he did later in the story.

Overall, I do not blame Victor for making the monster. Nobody would pass an opportunity to make a scientific breakthrough but Victor put himself in a bad position for abandoning the monster and again for not complying with the monster’s request.

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Victor’s Self Destruction

Today in class I came to the realization that Victor had very self destructive behavior throughout the novel, especially after the creation of the creature.  I feel his behavior is self destructive because all of his problems are self-inflicted.  Early on in the novel Victor was driven by a thirst for knowledge and while this drive led him to advance far beyond his peers it also became his own undoing.  Later on in the novel he could have confessed his creation and taken many paths that would have led to a happy existence.   Instead he subjected himself to psychological torment almost as a form of self-punishment for his horrid creation.  I want to break down different forms/aspects of self punishment and how they relate to Victor.

Self destructive behavior may be used as a coping mechanism.  This directly applies to Victor as when he first sees his creation he flees and then becomes ill.  I found it odd that whenever Victor had any stress he would get sick for months at a time.  I see that as psychological because he is wanting to avoid or push away the idea of dealing with the creature for as long as possible.  Self destructive behavior may be an attempt to drive others away.  I have always felt that Victor has had a weird relationship with others and even feel he may be a schizoid.  The creature may have been an attempt to create someone who he could feel a connection to.  His odd behavior after the he created the creature should have driven those close to him away.  He may have been doing this because he felt that he didn’t deserve companionship.  Victor may have self sabotaged his achievement, a trait of self destructive behavior, because he may have felt unworthy of such a revolutionary act.

Self destructive behavior can be derived from clinical depression and these patterns may have been learned earlier in life.  Victor had sort of a mopey attitude and in present time would have been seen as depressed due to his behavior.  I also think that losing his mother at a young age could have somehow attributed to his behavior.  Do you think this painful episode in his life would have effected the way Victor handled this situation?

I’m not sure whether Mary had been trying to portray him as self destructive, but I think that novel is definitely about his spiral downwards.

Here are some articles that mention self destruction in the novel

Self-discovery, Destruction, and Preservation in Frankenstein

Does Knowledge Lead to Self Destruction

The Reflecting Glass

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Caesar the Creature

For tomorrow’s reading “The Creature in the Cinematic Machine” by Paul Flaig I thought it was pure genius that he related Frankenstein to the movie the Planet of the Apes. If you think about it Rodman (James Franco) was messing with science he wanted to be the first to create something, but he had another motive as well. He wanted to cure his dad who has Alzheimer’s. Frankenstein only wanted to make this creature for selfish gains, and did so without thinking about the repercussions. Rodman also was so excited about the development of the chimp that he too pitched the idea of this drug in a hurry.

In both cases the “monster” got out of control and both “masters” lost them. Frankenstein did not want to deal with his creature, but Rodman helped Caesar (technically the chimp who went mad’s baby, yet still has the drug in him) and protected him.

As a class we have been wondering what would have happened if Frankenstein had nurtured Frankenstein to be good what he would have turned out like. Caesar is a perfect example of this. Rodman did everything he could for Caesar, but Caesar still lashed out (he had a good reason) he was just too powerful. Caesar was completely good natured, but he was also raised almost like a child/pet.

Planet of the Apes is an incredibly good movie, that like Frankenstein, makes you think about who is really the hero/villain. Caesar ultimately was a hero, just misunderstood. Was the creature in Frankenstein also like Caesar?

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Man and Monster

Victor probably wouldn’t like to admit it but by the end of the novel he shows traits that are similar to the monster. The monster practically brings Victor down to his level after failing at trying to get Victor to understand him. As a result, Victor loses everyone who is close to him and that brings him to the same state of loneliness that the monster has been experiencing ever since he was created. With the murder of Elizabeth, Victor is in a sense dehumanized and develops a need for revenge that was similar to what the monster had previously experienced.

For example, earlier in the novel the monster expresses his emotions after being pushed away from the cottagers and says, “I, like the arch fiend, bore a hell within me” (161). Later on, Victor is talking to Walton and says, “I am chained in an eternal hell” (233). Not only do these quotes sound similar, but they are both allusions from Paradise Lost, which is one of the novels the monster had read. The similarity between Victor and the monster is much greater by the end of the novel.

I think that it’s interesting how in the beginning Victor is so excited about his creation but now he completely rejects the monster. In turn, the creature kills everyone that matters Victor which causes him to become obsessed with revenge and in a way he becomes a monster himself.

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Sympathy: Victor or the monster?

Yesterday in class we talked a lot about who we sympathize for. The debate on whether we should feel bad or Victor and the monster seemed somewhat divided. Personally throughout the whole novel I have felt sympathy for both characters. The more I read though, the less I felt for Victor’s predicament. Victor is a man who, as we have discussed in length, does not take responsibility for his actions. He is put in a position to help/train the monster and instead runs away like a coward.
On the other hand the monster is born into a world that is not accepting of him. He is a blank state and learns his hatred for mankind through his personal experiences. As he describes, “The feelings of kindness and gentleness which I had entertained but a few moments before, gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth” (166). This was the last encounters between him and humans before he met with Victor. He saved a little girl from drowning and in return, a man shot him out of fright due to the monster’s appearance. This is just one of many moments that defined how the monster felt about humanity.
For this I feel sympathy, because all he wants to do his fit in. He has the same wants and needs as any human, and he can’t fulfill any of them. In regards to him killing and framing…I feel like he didn’t know the aftermath of what killing a person means. But also, he knew right from wrong, and I feel like he could have controlled his emotions better.
I am pretty conflicted on who to feel bad for, but I lean more towards the monster than Victor. What are your opinions about who you feel bad for?

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Pursuit of Knowledge

“If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.” This quote from page 83 from Frankenstein accurately sums up how I feel about the pursuit of knowledge. There was a short discussion in class on Tuesday about an individual’s pursuit of knowledge and its consequences. There are many themes in this novel; one of these themes which is prevailing is the pursuit of knowledge. The book has many good examples of its pursuit and consequences.

For example, when Victor Frankenstein overwhelms himself with the knowledge of human anatomy and physiology and starts to pursue the making of the monster he forgets about his family and friends and all the pleasures that come with it. “Winter, spring, and summer, passed away during my labours; but I did not watch the blossom or the expanding leaves-sights which before always yielded me supreme delight.” During this time he causes much pain and stress to his friends and family, but it is ignored by Victor. As soon as the monster is created there is much irony that occurs. The monster I believe could represent Victor’s demon in the pursuit of knowledge. The monster represents physically what Victor has done due to his pursuit and all the individuals which were hurt in the time. The first person that gets to experience this pain is Victor himself and then his brother and family. The physical destruction of these individuals by the monster would represent the ruthless pursuit of knowledge by Victor and the consequences that it brought. So Victor not only has emotional proof for Walton, but he has physical proof for the destruction of knowledge.

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Who is Walton like? (Warning some analysis is from Volume 2)

In discussion we talked a little about who Walton is. I want to look into the characters and analyze them more. Pages 49-62 of the book are the letters Walton writes to his cousin Margaret, which is where we started in class and is where I will start now. There are many comparable traits between Walton, Victor, and the Monster.

1) No Friends. Walton writes to his sister about being lonely and wanting a companion by his side who he could talk to. Victor shuts himself away from the world for over a year to work nonstop on the monster and subsequently dismisses all his family and friends from his life. The monster is so hideous no one will look at him or give him the chance to talk to them. Multiple times the monster recounts, “I was a poor, helpless, miserable wretch” (p.129) referring to his deformity as well as his inability to meet friends.

2)Wanting to die. This is not all the time but several times within the novel all three break down to admit they do not want to live. “I have lost everything, and cannot begin life anew” (p.61) Walton says this while confiding to his sister. Victor after creating then dismissing the monster realizes the drastic mistake he has made and also admits he should just kill himself. The monster also contemplates extinguishing the light that Victor has sparked in him. Ironically they all think about death, but the only ones to die are the ones around them.

3)Seeking knowledge. Walton wants to know about Victor and how he got to be on his boat. He yearns to know more about him. Victor at a very young age wants to learn and read. “I read and studied the wild fantasies of [these] writers with delight” (p.68). As he gets to college the amount of information he takes in is enormous. The monster wants to learn the language of the people he spies on. He wants to be able to communicate with them so he can try to obtain them as his friends.

These were the most prominent ideas to me while reading the first part of the book. Do you see any more similarities between the characters?

 

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