Wednesday, October 2, 2013

For Class Today

First, here's a link to Frederick Winslow Taylor's Principles of Scientific Management
Second, here's a link to Metropolis
Third, here's a link to Modern Times
Fourth, here's a link to your instructions for the games.

Fifth, here's an essay to be workshopped:

Examining Frankenstein Through the Lens of Walton
Examining the novel of Frankenstein through the lens of another character creates an interesting contrast to my own views. Examining Frankenstein’s story through Walton’s eyes will cloud some of Frankenstein’s errors and overlook some of his mistakes. This I believe to be true because Walton already seems almost obsessed with his new companion, and indeed is very fascinated and enamored with him. Walton, who mentions his loneliness in the beginning of the book in his letters to his sister, which start out as hopeful and as they continue turn more melancholy, as Walton begins to feel more alone and out of sorts. He realizes that he is very alone, and even claims to Margaret that he “greatly [needs] a friend” who would understand him and his fancies, rather than just the crewmen that he has found himself surrounded by (6). It is in this mindset that he meets Victor Frankenstein, though originally he does not know who his new companion is. Such is my belief that delving into Frankenstein’s story with the lens of Walton on will show how different circumstances and scenarios would be changed, or viewed in a different light.
The first major event that Victor lights upon, which Walton would also identify with, is the telling of how Elizabeth came to join Victor’s family. In Walton’s letters to Margaret a deep love is evident, and seeing such a connection between Victor and Elizabeth would spark another sense of camaraderie felt by Walton, fixing more deeply in Walton’s mind that he and Victor are kindred spirits. Walton sees this in Victor’s saying that Elizabeth was his “more than sister,” (27) which Walton parallels how he addresses his dear sister; in one letter Walton says, “Heaven shower down blessings on you, and save me, that I may again and again testify my gratitude for all your love and kindness, ” clearly showing Walton’s own love for his sister, which consequently allows him to connect more deeply with Victor (5). In Walton’s accounts he addresses his sister as “dear Margaret,” (2) which mirrors the way that Elizabeth speaks to Victor: “dear Victor” is seen in a letter that Victor recounts for Walton, but is never seen in the way Victor talks to Elizabeth (107). These particulars may not be noticeable to Walton, but as a reader it becomes apparent that Victor and Elizabeth’s relationship is not exactly equal. Through Walton’s eyes we could read that Victor’s preoccupation with the monster he has created overshadows his feelings for Elizabeth, but this may not be the case. Victor’s lac of connection to someone who he eventually marries and claims to love is not as noticeable as one might expect in Victor’s narrative.
Walton’s identifying with Victor would cloud his judgment and taint his opinion about Victor. As a reader we can see things that Walton in his infatuations glosses over. As Victor discusses his early life and his thirst for knowledge and books Walton can again relate to his own life and how he spent so much time devoting himself to maps in his uncle’s library. So when Victor sets out on his quest for knowledge Walton again sees himself in Victor and rejoices in these similarities. When Victor finishes his creation and abandons it, the scene can be viewed as cruel and a way of avoiding responsibility. Victor seemed to hope that the situation would just remedy itself if he left it alone. Here Walton would disagree with this reading and again align himself with Victor, allowing that achieving his goal after toiling for months and months at it and finding it horrific (indeed not what Victor wanted at all), a reasonable response to avoid the issue at hand until one saw in his soul the strength to face the problem. Walton’s displays an example of this when he exclaims: “How can I see so noble a creature destroyed by misery, without feeling the most poignant grief?” stating that his relationship with Victor was so strong that he felt his own moods affected rather strongly by this newfound companion (16). Indeed, I believe Walton so desperately craves the friend he lacks that he supposes more from his relationship with Victor that is really there, and therefore laments at seeing Victor in pain. Even at the end of the novel when Victor has revealed all his faults and mistreatments of the people around him Walton writes to his sister, “Margaret, what comment can I make on the untimely extinction of this glorious spirit? What can I say that will enable you to understand the depth of my sorrow?”

indicating that his iconic viewing of Victor does not allow Walton to see Victor’s flaws (123). The abandonment and cursed existence Victor bestows upon his creation is overlooked by Walton and he is so overcome with grief at losing Victor that he does not see any faults. This distorted vision of Victor contrasts sharply with what someone who has closely read the novel feels for Victor. Instead of ever trying to repair any of his mistakes, Victor goes off on a quest to track down his foe without any regard for the people he claims to “care about.” This can be read as a selfish act on Victor’s part, another way that he avoids responsibility to satisfy his own desires, though that is certainly not the way Walton views the story.
Using Walton’s sympathetic lens allows readers to see Victor in a more positive light, and although his choices were different from ones others might make in similar situations, there are many ways to read the text that invite multiple different interpretations. Walton’s ability to see good in this creature allows one realizes that Victor may not be as deplorable a character as they originally found him. The parallels that allow Walton to relate to Victor such as through the love of his sister and his obsession with exploration and knowledge allow a bond that not everyone is able to relate to, and thus it provides fresh insight. Though some may still find Victor and his actions unsavory, they might not feel as negatively towards him based on the ability to justify and relate to his actions through the eyes of someone else.

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