Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Prompt 1
In Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, the character Victor Frankenstein has trouble dealing with and even acknowledging the consequences of his actions.  Video games, such as Zork, foster this same outlook on the world. Although the root cause of this issue is different, the result is fundamentally the same: both Victor and some of today’s youth refuse to recognize that their actions have the ability to affect and alter the lives of others. Victor’s ignorance of the consequences come from his upbringing and social status while the emergence of video games and online interaction, rather than real-world interactions, has taught this same view on consequences.
 In Frankenstein, Victor tells the story of his childhood. His parents regarded him as both “their plaything and their idol” (Shelley 25); neither of these things suggest that his parents instilled a true sense of responsibility in their child. As he gets older, his wealth and social status create an environment where he never has to deal with his actions. Because of his money, he has the ability to literally run away from his problems to relieve his guilt, for example, leaving to Belrive after Justine’s conviction lets Victor avoid dealing with the issues he created. His family’s social status permits him to escape from his responsibilities time after time. He is acquitted from charges in England, even after he admits his guilt several times, calling himself the “murderer of William, of Justine, and of Clerval” (202). Compared with the life of the monster, who is accused of crime and assumed guilty for every action he takes, the ease of Victor’s life seems even more extreme. The monster saves a young girl playing in the stream and then gets punished for his actions (158), while Victor is never really held accountable for any of his actions, good or bad. The monster is basically the polar opposite of Victor in terms of social status; where Victor has a highly regarded family, the monster has none whatsoever, where Victor has wealth, the monster has only the clothes on his back and on top of that, the monster’s appearance puts him beneath even the most unfortunate of people. All the monster deals with are consequences, while Victor hardly encounters them.This juxtaposition between the two highlight the extreme lack of responsibility Victor is held to and, in turn, his ignorance of the consequences of his actions that leads to his creation of the monster in the first place. He does not expect any sort of punishment or adverse effects from the construction of the monster because all of his life he has never experienced either. So when he encounters the reality of his actions, he instantly abandons the situation and continually blames fate for his misfortune rather than taking responsibility.
The world of online gaming teaches this same view on accountability that Victor possesses. For instance in Zork, it is easy to just simply type “attack thief” or even “kill thief”. No one is actually hurt and there is no true consequence that accompanies this. The same goes for if one dies in the game, the screen simply say “you have died” and the game is restarted. Death is not even a consequence in these games.  This transfers into reality because people are violent online or in video games have no consequence for their actions and when encountered with real circumstances they are oblivious of the possible outcomes. People are more likely to be bolder on the internet or in video games because there are seemingly no consequences. The longer one goes without consequences for their actions the more likely it is that they will stop thinking about them all together or even having an awareness of them. Victor Frankenstein and people in society today experience this same phenomena that creates a real danger in their lives.
Both Victor and much of society today have issues with understanding the results of their actions. This is apparent in the fact that both create circumstances for themselves completely unaware of the dangerous consequences that often result. Victor creates the monster and real-word violence is on the rise. The lack of understanding my not spawn from the same place but it does end with the same result. Victor is repeatedly taught that his actions yield no consequences by both his parents and society.  Video games teach people this same idea through the continual disregard of punishment.  Victor and people in society today, do things expecting no adverse effects, only thinking about how they can benefit from these actions. When faced with the consequences of their actions, they are unable to make smart decisions and often ignore them completely.  Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has trouble understanding the full extent of the consequences of their actions and video games produce same trouble. Although the root cause differs slightly, the end result is the same.


Nicholas Flynn said...

Hey Abby,
I think you make good points in your analysis of Victor Frankenstein's inability to perceive the consequences of his actions. I thought the point you brought up about how "all the monster deals with is consequences" was interesting and an opinion that I hadn't considered. I think that could be developed further with concrete references to each situation the monster was placed in, and how it was a consequence of another's action.
Again I would say that more concrete details are needed for your argument that video games encourage people to view their actions without consequence. I feel that this portion of your argument could really use some studies, like how people use deception more online and how video games have inspired actual violence. The real-world evidence of this section of your argument is a little lacking.
I commend you for sticking to your point throughout the post. With some solid detail backing the more tenuous points of your argument, it could get much stronger. Nick

Adam said...

One thing I like about your argument compared to others who have taken similar paths is your specific focus on social interactions. It's still not a highly specific argument, but it has potential to become one.

Your second paragraph effectively discusses both the monster and Victor; you do deviate from things we talked about in class, which is a good thing, and strike into your own territory. I do think you missed a chance to elaborate your thoughts on the monster further - for instance, while you say he deals with consequences, I might add in that what he deals with specifically are bad consequences for his good deeds. Your interpretation may vary, but I think there's a lot of room for more detail when discussing the monster's relationship with consequences - you have started out on a good road, but there's lots of work to do if you wish to revise.

Your discussion of our boldness in video games is maybe a little generic and hasty. I wouldn't exactly say that you're wrong, but is it true that you (or some other player) don't care about restarting Zork? One faces at least the consequence of partially restarting the game - it's odd that you don't at least acknowledge that as a consequence.

In the last paragraph you indulge in excessive generalizations, which will always get you in trouble (for instance, what do you mean when you say that real-world violence is on the rise? Look, for instance, at murder rates in the U.S. over the last 30 years, during the same time period as video games have come to prominence - I'm not claiming that video games caused the fall in violence, but that you are saying and implying things which are demonstrably false, at least when you phrase things so broadly).

Overall: your discussion of Frankenstein shows promise, and some degree of attention to detail. Your discussion of Zork is much vaguer and less interesting - it would have stood out more if you had been able to say something more articulate about the disjunction you notice between Victor and the monster on the one hand and the world of video games, or video gamers, on the other hand. Or if you revise you might be more interested in really elaborating on the role of consequences and non-consequences in the novel, cutting the Zork component entirely.