Thursday, April 3, 2014

Project Proposal: Frankenstein's Monster Short Story

                For my final project I would like to expand upon Frankenstein’s monster from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in a continuation short story featuring the monster.   I want to begin the story at the conclusion of Mary Shelley’s novel by having the monster surviving his leap into the Arctic waters and making his way North America.  His intent is to make his way to South America, as he had told Victor he would, and live his life in solitude.   The trip takes him a very long amount of time as he continuously stops to observe and examine his surroundings.  After observing a farmer living on his own for a while he notices that the farmer’s dog brings the man happiness and joy in his solitude.  The monster attempts to steal a dog from other houses he encounters but the dogs are terrified of him because of his grotesqueness. 
                He finds himself in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey wishing for a pet of his own to control his loneliness.  Cursing Victor for creating him in the first place, he begins to formulate the idea of using Victor’s notes to create himself a pet.  He constantly argues with himself, eventually agreeing that as long as he keeps the pet with him and is a “father” to it, opposite to what Victor did, it would be a good idea.  After gathering all sorts of body parts he assembles the mythical creature we refer to today as The Jersey Devil.   It doesn’t turn out to be much of a pet though and abandons him, leaving him in a more depressed state than ever.
                Following his upsetting ordeal in New Jersey he heads south, finding himself in the Black Hills of Maryland.  In an abandoned town’s library, he begins to read the books left behind.  One book in particular is a psychology book about child development.  He compares the information to his own birth and life, cursing Victor once more for his very existence.  The book also gives him an idea that he concludes in his lonely state is an acceptable one.  He plans to kidnap children with neglectful parents in the area and raise them as their father with the information he has learned from the book.
                In the nearby town of Burkittsville, he kidnaps seven children and takes them to an abandoned house he found in the woods.  For the first several days they have fun.  He provides food for them he gathers from the woods and they play games a lot.  One day they even go out into the woods and he teaches them to make stick people with twigs and they hang them in the trees.   After a while, the children start to ask about their parents and begin crying when the monster tells them they cannot go home and will never see their parents again because they were bad.  This frustrates him beyond belief.  Rather than taking them home, fearing they would turn out lonely and terrifying like him, he makes a dark decision fueled by his frustration to kill the children.  However, he argues with himself that it was not his fault he killed them, it is Victor’s fault for creating him and abandoning him.   The story would end here with the monster continuing his trek south, not realizing he has become a true monster.
                My main goal for this short story is to expand upon the idea of the monster and how Victor’s abandonment shaped him into a true monster.  To do this I wanted to utilize Marcuse’s estrangement effect by introducing a rather absurd plot putting the monster responsible for two “legends” in North America.  The first being the creation of The Jersey Devil and the second being the story of the hermit in The Blair Witch Project movie.  I chose these two because they would help me develop the monster from a person that just wanted a companion into a truly demented person because of their loneliness.
                The inherent argument here is rather complex, hidden by the estrangement effect and also because I cannot openly express the argument within the short story.  I want to argue through this short story that rejection from society and the resulting isolation a person suffers from it makes them into something they did not have to be, a monster.  I might even expand this argument to the “parental” rejection that Victor’s monster feels, making his situation even worse.  The argument is not entirely complete yet, but my hopes are to compare the monster’s descent into insanity as a result of his rejection to society today. 

                I want to write in a short story format simply because I dislike long research papers.  Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was a novel I particularly enjoyed and I felt as if doing a research paper would not express my interests as much as a short story.  I think I can excel with this project because I will enjoy writing it and expressing my creative interpretation of Frankenstein’s monster.  Most research papers I write feel very forced and I typically find myself doing the bare minimum amount of work.  With this short story I will be able to expand my own ideas and interests in the three topics by connecting them in a way I find both entertaining and more personal.

1 comment:

Adam said...

I like the idea of doing something with the monster's relationship - or lack of one - with animals. Question: why does the monster give up his original suicide plan? Answering that seems pretty important.

Re: black hills - why is the town abandoned? The child psychology ice has potential (including for helping you develop your argument, obviously).

I think there's some good potential here - using these extensions to elaborate an argument about estrangement and isolation could work. There is a lot of potential for research here (cited through footnotes?). I also feel that you could benefit from researching theories of human/child development from Shelley's own time (I don't have any particular recommendations, but it shouldn't be too hard to find information on that topic.

One more thing, though: not liking the essay form isn't necessarily a good enough reason to do it in the form of a story. Remember that I expect more work, not less, and think about whether the story is really what you want. Very likely it is - but you should pause and consider the question.