Electric Mind

An off topic dissection of Frankenstein

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Image result for romanticism art ice

 (This is a painting by Caspar David Friedrich. It’s what I pictured during the final scene of this book when The Monster jumped from the cabin, floating away into the icy sea never to be seen again.This painting was created during the romantic era.)

 As revealed by the title, this will be the last blog post I create. This book has been an adventure and a half, travelling back through the heart of romanticism, seeing the fear of enlightenment this era held, and doing so while tumbling through Victor Frankenstein’s story. The story of a curious, egocentric, dramatic,and privileged boy who learned how to create life and then did so without much thought to why or what consequences may arise. Tragedy is brought to everyone close to him because he didn’t know how to handle his creation, his own fear and shallowness sent him running from The Monster who just needed some guidance and love. The Monster was not brought to life evil, he was innocent and then turned into something evil “I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend.” (Shelly 105). As you can see, i don’t think highly of Victor for the misery this creature felt was entirely his doing. Obvious parallel’s can be drawn between Prometheus and Victor, but I think the differences are more important. Prometheus stole from gods, went against them, to give knowledge and happiness to his creation. He suffered from his love of his creation. Victor suffered due to the hatred he felt for his. Prometheus is a god figure and hero, Victor is nothing more than a naive scientist.

Image result for princesses being savedThis book portrays women in a way that no longer exists, in quite the same way. In the myth of Prometheus, Zeus ordered the creation of Pandora, the first women. Not to add to Prometheus’s creation, but to bring misery to it, a woman was created to bring men misfortune. In the book The Sorrows of young Werther, the main character kills Image result for sexismhimself because of a woman, Lotte. Paradise Lost makes an obvious scapegoat of women, blaming them for literally everything wrong in the world. In the book, Elizabeth was a gift to Victor, a gift brought to him,”I have a pretty present for my Victor-tomorrow he shall have it.”(Shelley 32) the same way Eve was made from Adam’s rib to serve him, the same way the monster requests a female to be created for his own purposes. This ideology still is evident in our culture in media and even the way our language is shaped however the roles and rights of women have grown immensely. Still, in a lot of literature, myths and religions, it seems a woman does not exist if not for a man. Image result for Mary ShelleyWhy would a female author who had one of the first feminists for a mother include this role of women in her novel? I question if the death of her mother due to her own birth influenced her opinion of women in general, or her own hardship and grief from miscarriages and child deaths. Did she feel that her creator abandoned her? Her life included: a dead mother, a step mother she hated, falling in love with a married man while a teenager, having her father not speak to her for a period of time because of it, her half sister committing suicide, her first born dying after a few days, and her lover’s wife committing suicide. This all happened before she published the book in 1818, it’s no wonder Victor’s own life is filled with tragedy and death, as it seems to be reflection of hers. Perhaps she blamed herself for many of the horrible things that happened in her life, without a monster to blame, she was both creator and creature.

Another thing I want to bring up is Victor’s reaction to the monster and his immediate abandonment was because of his appearance.Image result for the monster from frankenstein The monster was his creation, his baby, his scientific break through, but one look on the face he deemed disgusting and Victor was out the door. When being asked to create a female monster his mind made a human of The Monster’s words, but his eyes a demon, “I compassionated him and sometimes felt a wish to console him, but when I looked upon him, when I saw the filthy mass that moved and talked, my heart sickened and my feelings were altered to those of horror and hatred.” (Shelley 159). This quote also shows how materialistic and privileged Victor is, if he considered how The Monster has been forced to live, or that not everyone is as rich as he, maybe he wouldn’t have been so stuck on how he appears. One is not a monster for how they look, if someone were to call their boss a monster, it would be assumed they’re a horrible person, not just ugly. The Monster didn’t come to life evil, he came to life curious and shy, innocent. He educated himself, learned to speak and how the world works, then asked Victor for one favour, one simple favour to make up for his abandonment. Victor, as well as the cottagers and villagers only paid attention to his appearance, it did not matter that he could speak their language showing his intelligence as relatively high and showed emotion. This Monster was made from human parts, possessed a human mind, displayed conscious thoughts, morals, emotion, and pain, this monster was human. Throughout history appearances are crushingly important, even in today’s society you have an advantage if you’re attractive. Linked below is a TEDtalk I like by a man who was nearly abandoned by his own mother because of his face deformities, he emphasizes the significance and lack of significance in appearance and owning it.

I believe if The Monster had more resembled an average man, possibly an attractive one at that, this book wouldn’t have been bursting at the seams with murders and depressed characters.

Thank you for reading.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. Penguin, 1992.

Laws of Nature

Upon an icy mountain the first words are shared between creator and creature, and surprise surprise, the monster isn’t too happy. This creature was created in a lab, and when he comes to life he is abandoned. This means he had no primary socialization, no kind of comfort. We know in newborn babies that if physiological needs are met but not safety needs or love and belonging needs, they’ll fail to thrive. This creature was made from human bodies, he has a human brain. Humans are social, they require others to engage with; you don’t get very far up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs before another person is required. There are two different ways I see this: 1) Victor gave this body life, it’s a parental relationship he owes the monster, in this case Victor has failed to provide socialization, guidance, education, and any chance the monster had at reaching his full potential. Or 2) Victor gave life to this body all by himself, putting him in a god position leaving the monster to worship him, in this case the monster is the one at fault accusing his maker of being selfish rather than thanking him and trying to display his gratitude as well as admiration for Victor, but what is a god without guidance and instruction?

One of the books he read while seeking shelter and watching a family through a crack in the wall, was called Paradise Lost.Image result for paradise lost  This is a horribly difficult read and may have been where his ideals that Victor owed him something came from. Paradise Lost is a poem of the biblical story; this would’ve educated him about Adam and Eve, fallen angels, and god. Victors reaction to his own creation could be used as an example of how weak humans are, that we cannot play god. Victor abandoned his creation, despised it, and then the monster truly did become a monster, killing Victor’s loved ones for his attention and as punishment for the lack of it.

How far should we cross the line of nature? A ghost story in the 1800’s of creating new life through science has now become today’s breakthrough, the world’s first genetically modified twins were born on Nov. 26th 2018 in China (CNN, 2018) https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/26/health/china-crispr-gene-editing-twin-babies-first-intl/index.html . Image result for embryoStill a claim to be investigated but, we may now be able to modify baby’s genes before they are born.  The babies were made to be resistant to HIV, this is something we know how to prevent, with that in mind was modifying their genes really necessary? Is immunity through this method truly a good idea? “If true, this experiment is monstrous,” says director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford. The Monster was the creation of Victor’s scientific practice, but there was no other purpose for him to create The Monster, other than to simply see if he could. Just because we have the ability to do something, doesn’t mean we should. Where do we draw the line? What is morally and ethically right? These are questions still yet to be decided.We don’t yet know the consequences of ‘playing god’, but lets hope they’re less harsh than Victors.




“Paradise Lost – A Brief Overview.” Paradise Lost Study Guide. New Arts Library.
1999. Web. 5 Jan. 2014. < http://www.paradiselost.org/5-overview.html >

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. Penguin, 1992.

Wang, Serenitie. “Chinese Scientist Claims World’s First Gene-Edited Babies; Hospital Casts Doubt.” CNN, Cable News Network, 27 Nov. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/11/26/health/china-crispr-gene-editing-twin-babies-first-intl/index.html.

Romantic love

One of the first things I noticed after a few chapters of Frankenstein is how vividly the values of the romantic era stood out. This book is poetry carved into a novel. The book includes the essence of the romantic era with constant emphasis on individual emotion, feelings of good or bad fortune, and the astonishment of nature. Feelings written so detailed and poetic that one may question if Robert Walton had some romantic feelings for the stranger he welcomed aboard his ship. But where lies the line between platonic love and romantic? If you count sexual desire as separate from romantic love rather than as an aspect of it, where does one find the difference? Could it be the attention to the other person’s thoughts and feelings caused by the infatuation? It’s hard to see the difference when everyone is described with such emotion and description. It is called the “Romantic” era, given its nature of romanticizing everything, both stress and storm being painted in the canvas of your mind.

Where did this idea of romance even stem from? Romance can be described an expression of the strong emotional feelings of love and attraction felt towards another person, the behaviours undertaken to demonstrate this emotion. Love didn’t always exist in the way we think of it today. In the late 18th century and early 19th century, marriage was for religious and wealth purposes. Around and throughout the 11th and 12th century, French poets helped bring to light this idea of “L’amor courtois”–making love–becoming a central part in the relationships formed. This idea of love wasn’t linked to marriage. Nowadays, people expect, require, and feel love is owed to them, marriage to us now is this bond with golden bricks of love to build a family and life upon. It’s no wonder the divorce rate is so high; we require love and attention like air now.

Plato explained two types of love: Eros vulgar which is basically physical attraction, nothing more than material, and Eros Divine, when the other person inspires your mind and soul, drawing your attention towards more spiritual things. Eros Divine can be seen as platonic love, or what it is like to truly be in love. Love through his description starts at the physical attraction then moves towards metaphysical, the mind and the essence of beauty. Until beauty relates nothing to a physical body, rather the other persons entire being.  Platonic love was eventually split up into seven different categories: Eros, Philia, Storge, Agape, Ludus, Pragma, Philautia. The modern day definition of platonic love is friendship, love without attraction or sexual feelings involved. It is a source of support, advice, enjoyment, comfort, and happiness. I don’t think many would argue with me when I say love is one of the strongest emotions. Wars and near superhuman powers are caused by this. There have been anecdotal cases of mother doing seemingly impossible things for their children. Love isn’t contained to other humans, often if someone is a romantic person they romanticize life as well. Whether it’s through art or simply optimism, on the other hand sometimes someone who doesn’t see the beauty or good in the world is a romantic because they want to create something good for their lover since they know life doesn’t provide it.

I’ve found this era takes romantic feelings and uses them as this kind of rose-coloured glass, looking at the pain and beauty of the world. Romanticized friends sound the same as lovers. Blurring relationships from the detail and word choices. If I had to describe my crush, I would call him breathtaking, addicting, fascinating, extraordinary. I would talk about how his voice must be laced with lavender and how his forest green eyes are every tint of life. I would describe my best friend as hilarious, and hippie-esque, blonde and never failing to cheer me up. In this novel Victor describes Elizabeth as shedding “radiance from her looks”(pg.33), motions and form “lighter than the chamois of the hills,”(pg.33) “till death she was to be mine only.”(34). The use of words, the poetic tone, the emphasis makes it difficult to see platonic from romantic love. The romantic era language makes the main character sound as if he’s in love with life and/or he is the most dramatic human I’ve ever heard of, describing pain with enough detail to see the beauty within it. Victor Frankenstein with his dramatic outlook and blurred lines seems to be a personification of the romantic era.

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