Connections to Present Day Challenges

I found Frankenstein to be an old, gothic novel that didn’t interest me much in the beginning. But what I found as I read on, was that even though it may be old and gothic, the themes expressed in this novel are very comparable to the current events happening in our present day. The novel acts as an allusion of our near future; whether Mary Shelley meant that or not is to be determined, but nevertheless it surprised me that I could make many real world connections.

One example, that was discussed in our skype call, is climate change. I believe that our present scenario with climate change is like when the creature kills William. We’ve already past the point of realizing that we’ve created it, hence the 196 countries that have banded together to slow its roll. Although we knew we were creating something potentially dangerous, we didn’t realize the power it held until it starting killing native animal species and severely impacting humans in developing countries. The numbers we hear may not sound like that much compared to the seven billion people on the planet, but to the people who have had loved ones fall ill to pollution  a change is important and must be made to end global suffering. This change, in relation to the novel, could have been Victor accepting his mistakes and taking the creature into his care and protection. The creature would likely not have caused any more harm to anyone else and maybe Victor could have helped him fit in more with society.

Another example, again touched on by our skype call, is that artificial intelligence is becoming too intelligent. One scenario could replace the creature of Frankenstein with a robot or cyborg (half-human, half-robot). By re-reading certain chapters, I realized that by replacing the creature’s character with the character of a robot, there would be little difference (only that current technology was clearly not available then). A robot can be given human flesh to wear, and can be programmed to have a clear slate brain that gets written by experiences which eventually turn into its personality. This is similar to the creature because when he woke up, he was only happy. His personality was built upon the experiences from the prejudice community and he was not guided by Victor to tell him right from wrong. There are theories about our current developments in A.I. (artificial intelligence) that predict robots would be able to take over some jobs like manufacturing instead of having human workers that an employer must pay. I hope we realize before we reach the point of no return, and that robots won’t hold a higher value than human life in this world run by technology.

One last example I pulled from the novel, was the importance of mental health. Any reader who has read past chapter five, knows that Victor is not in the best of health for the rest of the story. He constantly deals with severe anxiety, based on the persistent thoughts he feels of the creature and the numerous amounts of times he has tried to calm his nerves by travelling through the beautiful valleys and mountains. I imagine he also suffered from a form of depression once he learned that his family was slaughtered by his own creation. Like I’ve always said, maybe things could’ve been a lot better if Victor had accepted reality; he had brought life into the world and it was his job to nurture it. But he took the cowards path, and didn’t tell anyone except Walton, but by then the damage had been done and it was far too late to fix things.

Works Cited:

Bing, Microsoft, www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=HaxJ/hid&id=49A7CC9B1B2BE5DA5E99667BA37A9111E552FF8F&thid=OIP.HaxJ_hidmSIGSDriXqxjDwHaHm&mediaurl=https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/b3/1e/9e/b31e9e38022be2fc8a8d0636b215ca80.jpg&exph=755&expw=736&q=Cyborg realistic&simid=608034708478951656&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0.

Bing, Microsoft, www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=8e0VWTJ4&id=B0C373263F428E3375864209AE88B990556B5F87&thid=OIP.8e0VWTJ4IIM_oOWfk_9UeQHaGD&mediaurl=http://habitatmx.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Parisagreement.jpg&exph=450&expw=550&q=paris agreement 2017&simid=608001650122883892&selectedIndex=22&ajaxhist=0.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, et al. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. Signet Classics, 2013.

Did Victor Make the Creature Evil, Or Did Society?

I’m curious in my reading to find an answer to this question, as the creature is relaying his story to Victor about how he watched and learned from a family to become more human (Chapter 15).

At the beginning of Frankenstein, we learn some things about the lives of his parents and then all about Victor’s childhood into his late teen years. Victor’s father, Alphonse was a respected politician and Victor’s mother, Caroline was a hard working woman who cared for those even outside her family. I believe that Victor was portrayed as a good balance of both Alphonse and Caroline because he showed intense interest into gaining more knowledge to become a respected scientist, but he also cared immensely about his siblings Elizabeth, William and Ernest; at least in the beginning. There was a really uncomforting eeriness when Victor claimed Elizabeth for himself in chapter one:

“No word, no expression could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to me – my more than sister, since till death she was to be mine only” (Shelley 34).

As Victor grew up, he became more selfish and abandoned his family to pursue his passion in knowledge. By the time of his creation, he was no longer a family man but a man ruled by his selfish desire to become the master of his profession; to show the rest of the world why he had worked so hard. When the creature took its first breath Victor realized the responsibility he had summoned upon himself and he fled, wishing for it to die. Instead of wanting to publish his work, he wanted to erase all ties he had to science, which meant abandoning his child. This is where we see Victor play the victim and when we see his true evil begin to come out.

The real victim was Victor’s creature. He awoke in chapter five with an innocent smile towards his creator but was soon left alone, “tormented by hunger and thirst,” bright lights and uncertainty (108). He had no one to show him how to survive or to blend in with the unforgiving society. He learned to eat, felt the pain of being cold and then being burned experimentally. He knew he was ugly based on how people reacted on first sight. The world was cruel to the creature, and he didn’t have someone to confide in, like the De Lacey family had each other. He wanted to meet his creator again, to ask him why he would birth such awful life and leave it without protection from the harsh world. In order to gain his attention and seek revenge for the pain Victor had caused him, he murdered William and framed Justine. The creature blamed his evil on his creator because he had abandoned him in his time of need.

“I too can create desolation; my enemy is not invulnerable; this death will carry despair to him, and a thousand other miseries shall torment and destroy him” (153).

In conclusion, I believe that both Victor and society are at fault for creating the monster that is known as “the creature.” If Victor had stayed with his child and cherished him, I believe there would be only the problem of his appearance. Even the creature blames his morbid personality on the absence of his father, but there is also another hand at play here. Society could have accepted the creature, even if that meant just allowing it to exist in the same village. He could have been adopted by a kind family, like Elizabeth did Justine. But society didn’t give him the chance, even when he spoke the native tongue and imitated their gestures they were still strangely very prejudice against him.

Works Cited:

Bing, Microsoft, www.bing.com/images/search?    view=detailV2&ccid=Bv/R8ror&id=716604CDC80777FEA611F543692D638FC98F7C44&thid=OIP.Bv_R8rorLrb3nsOvj4Um5wHaLX&mediaurl=https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/db/de/a6/dbdea6ffb8bac32ed5b133d5c2678933.jpg&exph=752&expw=490&q=the creature confronting frankenstein&simid=608056080207843141&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, et al. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. Signet Classics, 2013.

 

Where did Victors evil come from?

          As of writing this first post, I am only on chapter nine of the novel. The first four letters spoke about a lonely traveller who, while exploring the North Sea, found friendship he didn’t know he needed. I wondered how this was going to be implemented in the main story of Frankenstein, but I can see now that it set the general mood of the story.

Dr. Frankenstein grew up with a yearning for more knowledge. His parents allowed him to follow his passions and supported him all the way. This passion led to his creation of the creature. Every minute he spent vigorously studying was meant for this moment. Yet, when he sparked life into the creature he wanted to forget all he knew about science. After rushing out into the courtyard from the creature, he was filled with intense fear and regret. He became paranoid and thought that his creation would be on the path behind him.

“Like one who, on a lonely road,

Doth walk in fear and dread,

And, having once turned round, walks on,

And turns no more his head;

Because he knows a frightful fiend

Doth close behind him tread” (Shelley 60).

          My first connection to today’s world is that like Victor, some of us may feel very passionate about something right now, but after we dedicate lots of time and money just to get disappointed, we regret having wasted the time and closed other doors in life. I predict this may be the case for some high school students who decide to go to post secondary for 4+ years only to get the job that they didn’t realize they hated. With school being as expensive as it is, they may feel ashamed. I think that Victor is suffering from some form of this disappointment and in addition to dealing with the creature, he is also struggling to put his life back together.

Beginning on chapter five, Frankenstein’s mood was in sync with the weather. He called the night of his experiment “dreary” and he was “drenched by the rain which poured from a black and comfortless sky” (60). Victor felt so afraid and he had no one to comfort him since he’d left home. Without knowing where he was going because daylight had yet to show, he treaded down the dark street and reached an inn. Even after being saved by Clerval on the street his fear didn’t dissipate, and he eventually collapsed under the dark sky. In this scene, the weather seemed to get worse by the paragraph, foreshadowing his collapse.

In chapter seven, a thunderstorm clouded Victor’s journey home. It matched the gloomy atmosphere that began once Victor had learned of William’s murder. A flash of lightning lit up an unforgettable figure and Victor had a panic attack, clinging to a nearby tree. Once the creature left the area, the thunder stopped, Victor slumped down and sat in the pouring rain feeling guilty. In the novel, Mary Shelley expertly uses the weather to foreshadow Victor’s future, which is often dark, uncertain and sad. When the creature arrives the thunder creates suspense and the reader fears the worst. But once he departs, we are left with Victor and his mad theories under a tree in the pouring rain. This foreshadowed that the danger may be gone for now, but the coming events will surely not be happy ones.

        My  second connection to today’s world is that our weather can control our emotions, but the weather definitely doesn’t revolve around us, like it does Victor. On wet and rainy days, some people I know get intense migraines, but most just really don’t want to get soaked by rain. This can definitely make people upset, angry or just sad like Victor. I hope that after all these dark skies and thunderstorms, there may be a beautiful sunrise for Victor if he manages to survive the pain he is going through.

Works Cited

Bing, Microsoft, www.bing.com/images/search?       view=detailV2&ccid=teWgaEnX&id=99E6477882FFC6A456F9EF38E66094410077ABA6&thid=OIP.teWgaEnXA5XXF-_I4hYS3QHaHY&mediaurl=http://themetapicture.com/media/cool-lightning-bolt-tree-storm.jpg&exph=538&expw=540&q=sitting under a tree during rain&simid=608025323955292461&selectedIndex=165&ajaxhist=0.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, et al. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. Signet Classics, 2013.