Friday, September 6, 2013

Frankenstein/Zork Prompts (due September 11)

As a reminder: you need to play a reasonable amount of Zork (acquire some points, solve a couple puzzles) in order to complete the first assignment. When discussing both Zork and Frankenstein, be specific, please. Name rooms and objects in Zork; quote passages in Frankenstein

Prompt 1: Consequences and Passivity (or, do things matter?)


As we have discussed at length, and as many of you discussed in your blog entries, Victor Frankenstein can seem to be extraordinarily passive, maybe partially or entirely because of his upbringing. Several people argued in class, including me, that Victor’s wealth, privilege, and peculiar idol/plaything upbringing made it difficult for him to deal with real consequences.
One thing that people some worry about as our society is influenced (transformed?) by video games and similar technologies is precisely that it will make us unable or disinclined to deal with real-world consequences. Real-world violence is numbed by video-game violence, real-world relationships become unappealing next to virtual ones, etc.


Argue, using details from both Zork and Frankenstein, that Victor Frankenstein’s difficulty with consequences is fundamentally like (or unlike - but be clear about what the difference is and why it matters) the attitude toward consequences that video games teach us.

Prompt 2: Rhetoric, Lies and Contradictions in Frankenstein

Take an argument which a character makes in Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein and the monster, for instance, both make arguments. Discuss the language of that argument from at least two different places in the novel (that is, this must be an argument which a character makes more than once). Analyze what is, or at least seems to be, the argument. Note a contradiction, or change, or outright lie in that argument as it developers through the course of the novel, then analyze what that contradiction, change, or outright lie means.
Your argument might have this form: Frankenstein makes part of this argument on page x; he makes it in a different form on page y; the meaning of that change or difference is z.

Prompt 3: What the movies do

Watch one of these three movies. I will provide you with the itunes links, but they are readily available elsewhere:
1) Frankenstein (1931)
2) The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
3) Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)
Identify one important change from the book to one of the movies. Then, make an argument that demonstrates what that change means, or why it is important. This is not an assignment about simply observing a change, but about analyzing it.

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