Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blog 1, Prompt 1

Margaret Julian
January 12, 2012

In reading this novel I had expected a story about the dangers of technology and how it can destroy us as a human race. In first blog post for this week I talked about how Shelley references the celestial and unearthly quite a bit. I find myself thinking that unknowingly or not Shelley tells a story of the dangers of turning away from God and good and turning toward a life of simple science. Although not my personal beliefs the story resonates with the signs of the dangers devout Christians believe this kind of life can bring.

First of all Frankenstein’s monster is the result of what many would call “playing God.” He attempted to take the unanimated and lifeless pieces of a person and create a living, breathing thing. In fact from his first meeting with the professor of natural science we see a foreboding aura mark the occasion.

“the Angel of Destruction, which asserted omnipotent sway over me from the moment I turned my reluctant steps from my father’s door –“ With every step he takes toward this masterpiece of creation, he takes several steps further away from humanity and God himself.

On page 107 we find The Monster pleading with Dr. Frankenstein to help him. “ I am they creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed.” He is equating himself with the devil himself who was, according to legend, and scripture, a fallen angel.

In contrast to the horror that this life brings to people, they only time we see Shelley describe beauty is in the talks of nature and the simple life that comes with hard work and lack of a more advanced science. The Monster himself first understands love and beauty through a family who is very simple, because they are very poor. They know no life outside of their home and they are more endearing for it. Elizabeth is the most simple of all characters, She spends her time tending to the needs of a home which she was adopted into and she is described as the most beautiful woman in the novel. In fact she would be living in squalor if it were not for Dr. Frankenstein’s family.

Eventually Frankenstein’s Monster is suspected of killing an innocent child, which marks the end of any humanity he could have been thought to possess, as much as you want to sympathize with him as he tells the story of the family, you can’t because the nagging idea that he killed a young boy is overwhelming.


Brandon said...

This is a good first draft, but focus more on the power of Nature than on the Christian God. Remember that Mary Shelley was the daughter of William Godwin, one of England's most notorious atheists at the time and the dedicatee of the novel of Frankenstein! Also remember that at the time, the Romantics tended to identify much less with the "accepted" parts of Christianity and more with Satan.

There's much more textual evidence in favor of looking at Nature as God than there is in favor of any kind of Christian interpretation. Look up the concept of pantheism for a good idea as to the way in which Shelley and the other Romantics saw nature.

Adam said...

This essay seems quite brief. That's not always a problem in itself, but it becomes a problem together with the fact that you're struggling to formulate an argument, or even directly address the prompt. Mostly you're passing along through various plot points, summarizing them for no clearly apparent reason (why write about Elizabeth's simplicity? Why are you interested in the squalor she might be in if she were not part of the F. family? Why mention the monster killing a child? None of this has anything to do with any argument, especially one relating to theoretical concerns, as the prompt asks you to do.

The only thing I see going on here that really catches my attention is your brief discussion of beauty, and how Shelley really only describes beauty in relationship with nature. While not strictly true (people describe other people as beautiful in this novel), I see what you're getting at - I thought you might be heading toward some kind of theory of beauty or art here, but you drop the interesting topic as soon as it begins, and I'm left unsure if it was really even intended to be any kind of focus.

I don't know what your argument is, and I'm not even sure if you're answering the prompt at all.