Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monsters in Literature


The schedule you came up with for posting:
  • November 16: 1st section of book and posts due by midnight.
  • November 20: 2nd section of the book and postsdue by midnight.
  • November 25: 3rd and final section of book and blog posts due by midnight.

This is a 100 point homework assignment.
  • You need to make 9 posts in total. (Your book should be broken up into three sections, and for each section you should post three times.)
  • Please title your posts Post 1-3, Parts A, B, C etc.

Part A: Post your reaction to something specific and thought provoking in the book (though this is not a minimum, each post should be around 400-500 words.) Feel free to ask questions in this section as well, since everyone will be reading these posts.

Part B: You should also respond by elaborating on another comment in the stream (about the same length--).

Part C: You should continue to respond by elaborating on another comment in the stream (about the same length--).

You will be graded on the

Malden High School Open Response Rubric.

The above prompts are vague because it is up to you as a group to start to develop your own focus. You can feel free to bring in outside research etc, just make sure you cite or give a link to your sources—but I’m most interested in your “philosophical” discussions about specifics in the books and your ability to discuss the writer’s technique and how he or she affects meaning.

Here’s a links to a solid discussion from two years ago: Madame Bovary. The requirements were a bit vague for the postings and there is a variety of effort and insight in these posts, but on the whole I thought it was quite nice to read.

28 comments:

Kellie said...

Post #1 Part A

Wow, can I first say that I had no idea that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was going to be so unscary! When I found out we were reading Frankenstein, the first thing I thought the book would have would be monsters and a scary plot line. When the book begins with this man telling his life story, I have to admit I was very interested in his “adoptive” sister Elizabeth. Even since the beginning, I feel as though Walton feels as though Elizabeth is superior to her by stating that his parents were hoping for a girl. He even states that “everyone loved Elizabeth” (22). In the beginning, I felt as though Walton was a bit jealous of Elizabeth, but I now feel as though he is somewhat enthralled with her, especially when he said that “no word, no expression could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to [him]—[his] more than sister, since till death she was to be [his] only” (21). Honestly, I found this quote really creepy, and I felt as though Walton was kind of obsessive over Elizabeth. Another reason why I feel as though Elizabeth is so powerful is because according to Walton, she is the reason why their mom became very ill. Due to Elizabeth’s illness, their mother became very ill and eventually died. Looking at Walton’s position, I understand why he would be jealous, but I don’t understand why he looks up to Elizabeth so much, and is so enthralled in her. Did you guys figure out why Walton was so admiring of this girl?

Another factor of this book that I feel is very important is the fact that they Shelley did not incorporate the monster Frankenstein in the first section. Instead, she worked on establishing a relationship with the reader and Frankenstein’s creator. When I was reading about Walton, I did not expect him to be very human-like. From all the stories about Frankenstein, I was expecting him to be some kind of “evil scientist”. I feel as though Shelley humanized Walton in a way that the reader could see him for himself, and not for what he created. In learning about Walton, I thought it was interesting in looking at him and his family. What I thought was more interesting was his fascination with science and philosophy. I guess his fascination with these subjects contributes to his creation, but I think that it is interesting that so many people put him down, and told him that he was wasting his time in the beginning. Walton obviously had a drive in the beginning of the book.

One thing I was very confused with was the letters in the beginning. I understand that these letters were written to Walton’s sister, but I didn’t know he had a sister named Margaret. I thought her name was Elizabeth. I also feel as though the letters in the beginning are really choppy with how chapter one begins, because I was really confused as to if he was continuing his story from where he left off in the letter. Can any of you guys clarify? Because I’m really confused.

Jackie said...

Ok, first off in response to you Kelly, I must say that the book gets better, it's not meant to be stereotypically scary. However I do see your point in that it is not exactly jumping off the page interesting. Walton and the stranger are two different people, Walton is the one writing the letters to Margaret and the stranger is Frankenstein, thats the one who is related to Elizabeth. Frankenstein is telling his story to Walton.

I see how you can get the impression that Walton could be jealous of Elizabeth but i think it's more of a deep admiration and love, I didn't see it at first, but I do think when he says "the passionate and almost reverential attachment with which all regarded became, while I shared it, my pride and delight"(21) shows how he loves her and thinks of her as his own.

I also think it is interesting how Shelley doesn't fully talk about the "monster" if only for a brief moment in the first section when Frankenstein takes ill. I feel like through showing us Frankenstein before he became "Dr. Frankenstein". By showing him in a different him in a different light I think she is setting us up for a paradox later in the book. However I can't help but wonder if maybe the monster in this section is young Frankenstein himself and not so much his creation? Could it be that Frankenstein is the monster for taking all these dead body parts and organs and creating something against the confines of nature and Mankind. I think that throughout this book that Mary Shelley wants us to see that perhaps man is the true monster. What do you girls think?

Kellie said...

Blog Post #1 Part B

Jackie, I definitely agree with your idea. I think it is interesting how you said that Mary Shelley makes the reader see man as the true monster. I really like that idea and I want to build off of that. I feel as though Mary Shelley tried to make man seem like the true monster by barely incorporating the monster, but the man behind the monster. I also feel as though by giving the creator of Frankenstein some background, she humanizes him.

Another thing that I wanted to point out was that even though Frankenstein created “something against the confines of nature and Mankind”, I do not think that makes him necessarily a “monster”. In the first few chapters, Frankenstein revealed a lot about his studies of science and philosophy. When I think about his creation, I feel as though it is relied heavily on the magnificent wonders of science and intellect, as he described in the beginning. I feel as though Mary Shelley incorporates Frankenstein’s fascination with science and philosophy in order to make his creation less dependent on his monstrous creature, but more dependent on a scientific and philosophical level. When reading this, I really had a hard time defining what a “monster” actually is. Actually Jackie, you made me wonder how to define the word “monster”. I can see where Frankenstein can be considered a “monster” for his creation, but what do you girls actually think a “monster” is?

Jackie said...

I was waiting for someone to pose that question. I think that should be an overall theme for out group, what exactly is a monster? I feel as though there are many answers to this question. However I think that in this section a monster is someone who goes against the social norm, someone who doesn't fit into society, like Frankenstein who seems to disappear from society while he is ill and creating his "son". I think that what Shelley is showing is that when someone is so separated from society they create their own, and this is where the monster comes in, a monster can't function in a "normal" setting like Frankenstein, he can't be "normal" anymore, what he's done has altered him too much.

Kellie said...

Blog Post #1 Part C

Yes Jackie, I agree with you that a “monster” in this sense is someone who goes against the social norms. Thinking about it on a general basis, a “monster” is usually seen as a misdemeanor to society, and shunned from society as well. In posing this question for an overall theme for our group, I feel as though we need to come up with a more specific definition for a “monster”. We clearly know that “monsters” are usually shunned from society because of the books that we picked in our group. What other traits do these “monsters” have in common? I feel as though so far the only good and supportive definition we have is that they are not wanted society. Maybe these “monsters” pose possible harm to the society as well.

Sandy. J said...

Part A

In the beginning, while I was reading Frankenstein, I was allured to the different shifts in point of view. At first I was confused because the style of the novel drastically changed. I then realized that the author’s purpose was to introduce Victor Frankenstein’s character through someone else’s perspective, and then it changed to Victor Frankenstein speaking in first person, and telling both the readers and Walton (the first speaker) his story. The change in perspective is effective because we see the different aspects of the story and judge for ourselves what is occurring.
In Frankenstein, I noticed the repeated allusion to “celestial” things or references to a higher power. Frankenstein mentioned it when he described himself as “the innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by heaven” (pg 19) when speaking of his childhood. He emphasized the reoccurring idea when describing Elizabeth as a “heaven sent, and bearing a celestial stamp” (pg 20). While I read the constant reference to all things heavenly and Glory, I thought that Victor Frankenstein had almost an obsession with the world and the people and things that pertained to it. He was fascinated with the idea of people, the way they worked and how they came to be. He showed us this when he speaks of his thirst for knowledge and how he admired natural philosophy. It was then that I made the inference that Victor Frankenstein was playing God or at least wanted to be him. Frankenstein wanted to give something life, and make his own creation. He confessed to us his desire of how “a new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me” (pg 39), he would be responsible for bringing something inanimate to life. Man was so wonderful in his eyes that he felt it was his duty to create one by bringing it to life from death.

Sandy. J said...

Continuation of Part A
I believe that Frankenstein’s immense desire to bring something to life, and create something amazing, was a cry of desperation to revive his own self. He was forced to move to another country, and attend a university where he knew no one. His mother died, and he was forced to leave his family, friend and dear Elizabeth behind. He was already ardent with knowledge and the philosophy of life, his loneliness augmented his necessity to create a living being. Victor needed something to live for, and something to call his own. By doing that, he would restore his spirits and his love for natural philosophy, only this time it wouldn’t be derived from the people he learned about, it would be his own. The author demonstrated the irony in Frankenstein’s project, because instead of his creation bringing him joy and satisfaction, it actually made him sick, he was “oppressed by a slow fever” (41), and he was “deprived of rest and health” (pg 43).
The author’s purpose is to show us how man can be affected by their obsessions. Sometimes we truly want something that exceeds our necessities. We look for things that we think would make our lives better and more worthwhile, but actually end up exacerbating it. Victor Frankenstein wanted something more than his native country, and his family, and he found it. He worked to hard to make it, but unfortunately in the end it led to his demise. The author’s message to us is to not cause our own self-destruction by defying who we are. We need not to look for something more that we think we need, because in the end it’s going to cause our plight just as it did to Frankenstein.

Sandy. J said...

Part B

I agree with Kelly that the statement was creepy about Elizabeth. I thought the same thing, usually a brother does not sat such thing about his sister. And Kelly just for clarification, it wasn't Walton, it was actually Victor Frankenstein. In response to your question about what a monster is, I agree with both of your perceptions that it's someone who breaks a social norm, but i think it goes deeper than that. I think it has more to do with the fact that the monster itself is miserable because it was isolated from society in the first place, that's why it acts like society expects it to.
The only way that i could see Frankenstein the man as a monster is if he was attempting to harm anyone because of his misery. He didn't do that, instead he created something reflecting something he thought was beautiful, man.

Sandy. J said...

Part C
I disagree with you Jackie. I don't think the man himself is the monster because he doesn't have any of the characteristics. The only one he resembles to have is his creepiness towards his sister which can arguably be a monster characteristic. I do agree with you though on the fact that Frankenstein based his invention on science and intellect, but also admiration because he had this fascination with man, which eventually turned into his desire for his proper creation.

R. Gallagher said...

Kellie—

Great first sentence! You do very well expressing your ideas and retaining your voice—keep it up, this seems like a good forum for your style—roll with it. You also do well to begin the discussion with a very insightful structural question.


Jackie—

Good job as well. Nice job responding to Kellie’s question and directly referring to text and producing theory from there. Also good job focusing on theme. (Don’t forget to label all your posts.)

Sandy J—

Great job on specific references to the book, especially M. Shelley’s diction & its effect.


To you all: You are doing a very nice job as a group, and each of you are doing specific things very well—as noted above. You can all learn from each other about how to expand some of your posts by focusing on these different aspects of the text: discussion and style, theme, narrative structure, etc. Also, don’t be afraid to ‘think aloud’ a bit with your writing and stray just a teeny bit from the novel to investigate what you think of some of these ideas—like human ‘self-destruction’ or ‘monsters’ in human nature to flush out some more philosophical thought.

Really enjoying and interested in what comes next.

Sandy. J said...

Post # 2 Part A

This novel is great and cleverly written for many different reasons. Recently in class, one of the topics we’ve been discussing is the narrator’s point of view and how the author uses to express themes and big ideas in a literary piece. While reading Frankenstein, I thought about its point of view and the effect it has on the novel as a whole. The point of view of Frankenstein shifts from Victor Frankenstein to the monster itself. I thought it was an interesting way for the structure of the novel because it shows the reader the inner thoughts and feelings of both Victor and Frankenstein the monster. This gives us readers a job to judge the characters as they want to be perceived and for us to draw parallels between the man and the monster. What I find ironic in the novel is that Shelly portrays the supposed monster Frankenstein as having human emotions and feelings. Whereas victor is portrayed as the monster because he refers to Frankenstein as the “monster” that he is and tells him to “begone” (pg 84) and discourages him by saying that “there can be no community between you and me we are enemies”. This shows Victor Frankenstein’s cruelty towards his own creation. He’s the real monster because he denies a friendship and an intimate relationship with another creature. He vents his hatred towards Frankenstein and makes him feel isolated and depressed. That to me would be the real definition of a monster. Frankenstein the creation has human feelings seeing as he’s the one who “implores goodness and compassion” (pg 84). I sympathized with Frankenstein, he expressed how his “soul glowed with love and humanity” (pg 84) which showed his desperation to be human and good.
The point of view shifted to Frankenstein the monster becoming the narrator. Although he observes people and his surroundings, he lets us into his head and his thoughts by illustrating to us the emotion provoked by his observations. While I was reading, I wondered what the author’s purpose was for implementing the story about the cottagers in the novel. I deducted that her purpose was to introduce us to this monster that has human sentiments. She also wanted to show us Frankenstein own self discovery, he noticed how “he raised her and smiled with such kindness and affections that I felt sensations of a peculiar and over powering; they where a mixture of pain and pleasure such as I have never before experienced” (pg 93). Frankenstein was transforming from an external monster to an internal human being. I felt as if this made him vulnerable, and vulnerability is a human trait, therefore the author fulfilled her purpose by demonstrating to us that the “monster” Frankenstein was actually human.

Jackie said...

Post #2 Part A

I agree this novel is fantastic. In regards to your point about point of view, I see what you mean about the narration coming from Dr. Frankenstein. I think it is key in this novel to realize that thus far we haven't seen anything from the monsters point of view. We only see Frankensteins perspective meaning that we get a definite bias. I think that through this bias we can't really understand the "monster" we only get to see what Frankenstein feels and chooses to see.

I also agree with what you say about Frankensteins hatred making him the real monster. Perhaps this could be an answer to our question. Maybe Shelley is trying to show how mans emotions can make him monster. The monster within is his hatred, his hatred is destroying the man he once was and is leaving only this hollow monster. The way he leaves his family shows that he is so consumed with his hatred and grief that he no longer cares about anything.

Jackie said...

Post 2 Part B

Does anyone think that maybe Shelley is trying to show something by not giving us the monster's point of view? I was thinking that also she is saying something by not giving him an actual name. I think that by not giving him a name, she is further separating him from society and making him less human-like in the eyes of Frankenstein. Because Frankenstein hates him so much, giving him no name makes him seem like less of a human and therefore a monster. He has no place among men because he has no name. However I do feel as though Frankenstein is taking too much of th responsibility on himself and is only projecting his own fears and insecurities on the monster. This seems unfair and I think that maybe this could be a major feeling throughout the Victorian Era. In this time period society was very conservative, I find that a lot of things cast off as corrupt or against society were just fears and insecurities of the unknown or things that society did not want to face. So, perhaps Shelley is making social commentary on society and how it deals with it's darker sides.

In this section I too noticed how Shelley gives Frankensteins monster human emotions. I think it shows a great contrast to Frankenstein himself, which again shows how man is the true monster. I find it funny that in this section the monster seems to display the very qualities his master lacks and the very qualities his master wanted him to have in the first place.

Sandy. J said...

Part B
Jackie, for clarification purposes, the author Mary, Shelley does show us the monster’s point of view. In chapter 11, it’s the monster who’s the narrator. He speaks of his observations and the impacts they have on him. Although the chapter says Frankenstein, it’s the creation, and not the man. On page 91, the monster itself Frankenstein, was telling us, the readers how when he stepped into the garden “the children shrieked, and one of the women fainted”. Those people had that reaction because they saw him, and his horrifying image. Even if we, as readers weren’t sure that it wasn’t the monster, we can infer that from American stories, when children see monsters, they scream. They become frightened as if the monster is going to hurt them, which are the same reaction this child had, when he or she encountered Frankenstein.
I think Mary Shelley doesn’t give the monster a name because the monster is going through the process of becoming real, something animate. One can’t really give something a name that’s not human yet. That’s a good point you made, but I don’t think she’s dehumanizing him. I think she’s simply allowing the monster to grow into him first, and become like the rest of the humans, then have a name. The monster doesn’t have a place in society because he is not allowed to. Everybody perceives him as this monster with no feelings, or reason and understanding, it’s going to be hard for him to break through that and show them otherwise.

Kellie said...

Part B
When I was reading this section, I also picked up on the fact that Dr. Frankenstein did not name his creation. I agree with what both of you said about why the author may have done it, but I feel as though the monster was not named because of views from the outside. Because this monster was clearly not wanted and viewed negatively from onlookers, not naming him showed a sign of agreement from his creator. An agreement that he knew that this monster would be harmful and somewhat a threat to the enviromnent. I don't think that the author was trying to dehumanize this monster though because she did incorporate his feelings within this section. If anything, I think that the author displayed a more affectionate and understanding side of this monster that wouldn't work against him. Jackie, I agree with you that a major theme could be fear of societal corruption, but I also feel that the Victorian age had a lot to do with fears of new learning and philosophical understandings. I feel as though technology and morals plays a huge role in the book. Dr. Frankenstein has to deal with the issue of potentially corrupting society with his new technological innovation to mankind. In a way, he took a gamble at this creation.

Sandy. J said...

Post # 3
Part A

I was relieved to learn that Victor Frankenstein wasn’t as lackadaisical and miserable as he had been before. He expressed to us the “change that had taken place in ‘him’ ‘his’ health which had hitherto declined, was now much restored” (pg 135). Frankenstein was becoming more human again because he had attained a little bit of solace. What seems ironic to me is that Victor knows of his obsession with knowledge, but yet he does nothing to subdue it. Even if the creation of his monster had made him miserable for s major portion of his life, and destroyed it, he still wanted to create another being. He wanted to “compose a female”, and that would be his sole purpose for going to England. He didn’t even want to go to England to visit or be in his family’s presence; he wanted to learn more to enable him to create a whole new being.
I find it interesting the parallelism the author created between the monster and Victor Frankenstein himself. In the previous chapters of the novel, the author illustrated Frankenstein’s desire to learn the way the cottagers talked and how humans interacted with each other generally Victor wanted to gain more knowledge about philosophers and the way they thought. He wanted to become a philosopher and use his knowledge for his proper creations. I found this to be very interesting because it was as if the monster is a reflection of the man himself. The monster was like Frankenstein not only because of there obsession for knowledge, but also concerning the issue of loneliness and isolation. Frankenstein is not accepted by society because he’s a monster and is not appealing to the eye. Victor isolated himself from society when he became so miserable because of something he created. Victor fails to realize the similarities him and his monster. What I dislike is how he didn’t give the monster a chance to show him is human side. Victor wants “some accident to occur to destroy him (the monster) and put an end to ‘his’ (Victor’s) slavery forever” (pg 137). Victor is the one who enslaved himself because he sought something that would later become self destructive. He doesn’t know that he’s the one who endangered his family. He wants to save him from the monster but the clever thing is that he became the monster. Victor thinks that if the monster disappears so will his problems. What he doesn’t know is that the existence of that monster will never disappear because it’s a part of him. Mary shelly suggests that man himself is a monster because of his actions. His obsession with a certain idea or object might lead to self destruction.
Another interesting topic in the novel is the relationship between Elisabeth and Victor. They’re brother and sister even though they are not blood related. Any other relationship to me would be considered incestuous. They lived in the same household with the same mother I don’t understand how the father would approve of them being together. I think it probably has to do with the time period where members of a family can be romantically involved. Elizabeth’s death affected Victor harshly; it was one of the factors that led to his self-demise. This novel was great, and well written. Mary Shelley suggests the impact intellect can have on man, whether it is familial or social.

Sandy. J said...

I'm sorry,I meant societal.

Kellie said...

Post #2 Part B
Sandy, I agree with you in part B when you stated that the monster is trying to become more like the humans. As I continued reading, I found places in the story where the monster was desperately trying to be like everyone else like when he was observing his neighbors talking, but he couldn’t understand him. When the monster started mimicking the sounds they were making, it made me feel as though Frankenstein wanted to relate to them somehow. In regards to Frankenstein becoming “real”, I don’t think that it is an issue of actually becoming real, but trying to fit in enough with society to feel wanted and not as if he is a monster among humans. One thing I wanted to point out was the fact that the monster is actually quite intelligent. When he speaks, it is as if a human is speaking. When I first started reading the book, I expected the monster to be savage and inhumane, but I think it is very interesting how Mary Shelley portrays this “monster” although he has most of the traits of a human being.

Kellie said...

Post #2 Part C

In the end of this section, I started relating Frankenstein’s monster to humans. In chapter 11, the monster starts thinking back to his beginning, which was very hazy and unclear, just like an infant can barely remember anything in their past. Chapter 11 specifically got me thinking about the relationship between Frankenstein and the “monster”. In some ways, I can’t believe that Frankenstein’s creation is actually a “monster” due to the first person narration. In some ways, I feel as though Frankenstein should be considered more of the monster because of the creature’s deprivation of society and people. He cannot love or live a life where he would be wanted. The creature made me feel as if Frankenstein was more of the monster for creating him.
What I found very sad was when the creature was shocked at his own reflection. I think there is a clear distinction between the creature’s situation and society. Even though this creature is clearly sweet and sincere and only wants to fit in, society continues to shun him and disregard his feelings. Just because he is different on the outside, he is not respected for his mind because no one is taking the time to hear him out. I feel as though a similarity is drawn between our society as well because there is a different level of acceptance for people who are different or who even look different.

Kellie said...

Blog Post #3 part A

At the end of the book, I was still very confused as to why Victor was not charged with any criminal charges. In a way, he was responsible for Henry’s death because he did create the creature and should be responsible for everything he does. He also disposed of the female creation in the sea as well. In my opinion, Victor is the one to blame for both deaths.

One of my favorite parts of the story was when Frankenstein compared himself and Elizabeth to Adam and Eve. At first, I didn’t think that there was much meaning to the comparison, but I realized that a huge biblical theme was being related to Frankenstein’s situation. In the story of Adam and Eve, God told them not to pick fruit from the forbidden fruit tree. They defied God, and picked from that tree, and were punished by eliminating immortality among humans forever. In this story, Frankenstein in a way disobeyed God, and tried to create one of his creations (which could be a defiance of God I guess) and now Frankenstein is left to suffer due to his creation. I just thought that comparison was very interesting, especially because of the incorporation of God within the comparison.

Another thing I wanted to point out was the shift of power in the end of the story. In the beginning, Frankenstein had complete and utter power over his creation, even though he made something that almost everyone hated and feared. In the end, the “monster” carves messages into the trees and rocks that Frankenstein has to come across. It makes me feel as though the creature now holds his creator’s life in his hand. I’m not sure if that is the way it was meant to be, but I felt as though there is a sudden shift in ownership when it came to Frankenstein and his creation. What do you guys think?

Kellie said...

Blog Post #3 part B
Sandy, I just wanted to point out something that you said that I thought was very important, “What he doesn’t know is that the existence of that monster will never disappear because it’s a part of him. Mary Shelly suggests that man himself is a monster because of his actions.” What I thought very interesting about what you said was the fact that you pointed out that the “monster” was a part of Frankenstein and he kept trying to run away from that. I never thought of Frankenstein as defined by his creation, but I can see it more clearly now. It now makes me feel as though Frankenstein is now blaming the monster he created for all of his problems. Although the monster may be the primary source of his problems, it does not change the fact that he created his monster, and they are one together now. I also think that this brings up a good topic of the relation between Frankenstein and his creation. Although Frankenstein created his creation, there is a shift where the creation starts showing some sort of ownership of Frankenstein. I also thought there were some parts in where Frankenstein played sort of a father figure to his creation in the beginning. I think a huge topic in this book is the different relationships among Frankenstein and his creation. Did you guys see any other relationships built among these two characters?

Jackie said...

Post #3 part A
Sandy I also agree with you in your post in that I do see that the creature is trying to become more like the humans. However I do feel that the fact that he is blackmailing Frankenstein into making another creature is not only wrong but monster-like. Kelly I too can somewhat relate to the creatures "human" feelings but at the same time I can not help but wonder why he suddenly feels this sense of empowerment. I think that perhaps he is taking out all his hatred on Frankenstein because he is his creator. Kelly, I don't feel as though Victor is responsible for both deaths, it is clear that the monster has a mind of his own and even though Frankenstein created him, it does not mean he is responsible for everything he does. Going off of your Adam and Eve argument, for the sake of argument, just because god supposedly created man does not mean he is responsible for all the evil that man does.

Jackie said...

post 3 part b

While I do agree with both of you that Frankenstein is partly the monster I also feel that his creation begins to take on the monster like qualities towards the end. We see this with his blackmail, and we see this with his killing streak. It is clear that the monster, though he does have a conscious, chooses to ignore it in order to cause heartbreak and suffering Frankenstein. This makes hims a monster because he makes a conscientious decision to do evil and bring harm to others. This i think we could all agree, is the trait of a monster, someone who purposefully brings harm to others for his own benefit. Also I think that the monster begins to take on a lot of Frankensteins more negative traits, thus making him all the more evil in Frankensteins eyes. The fact that he is everything that Frankenstein hates about himself shows how man can not handle his own vices and hides them from society. Also, the creation itself could be Shelley's own commentary on how man's curiosity and thirst for knowledge and control are his own downfall.

Kellie said...

Blog Post #3 Part C

After reading this entire story with the idea of "monsters" implanted in our heads, what do you guys think about how the idea of monsters is actually played out throughout the story? I know that we discussed that the theme of our book should be "the definition of a monster". From what I've seen in our posts, I can tell that we've come to a conclusion that "monsters" are creatures that are not necessarily accepted by their society, and in a way shunned. Also, they also have intentions of harming others, or pose as a possible threat. Is that all we concluded for this book? I feel as though the idea of "monsters" is more complex than the obvious ideas of Franenstein such as social rejection and intent of harm. What else did you guys pull from this story?

Jackie said...

Kelly, I agree that there is more to a monster than what we've gotten from Frankenstein. Monsters are definitely more complex than that. I feel like as we read the next two books we will read. I think that once have more "monsters" to compare with Frankenstein we can get a better understanding of what a monster is as well as other examples. I think that in regards to Frankenstein we have a pretty good answer to our original question. However, I think it is safe to say that a monster can function in society, just hidden like Frankenstein himself, at first he fits in society but eventually his inner insecurities eat him up.

Sandy. J said...

Post #2
Part C

Kellie, I agree with you that the author’s not dehumanizing him, and she shows us his affectionate and humane side. My perspective on why the author didn’t name the monster is that Frankenstein the man didn’t name him. Usually when something it not human, and it’s considered a vile creature, it’s not going to be named because in a way that says that it is like other humans. I also agree with you that not naming the monster showed a sign of agreement. It’s almost as if naming the monster would be a despicable thing to do, according to the novel and my interpretation of it, the monster doesn’t deserve a name. Giving it a name would mean the things he was doing such as the crimes he committed were acceptable and that they would be tolerant of them.
In response to a major theme in the book, being societal corruption, I can see how that is possible. The author displays major irony in that, because one would expect the monster to be the cause of societal corruption, but I think that it’s Victor himself. It’s not so much societal, I think it’s more individual. Victor was obsessed with gaining more and more knowledge that it drove him to his own self-demise. His family died as a result of it, he became sick, and lost his sense of self; to me all those tings contribute to self-corruption.
Technology plays a role in the book, but I feel like what plays an even bigger role is how Victor use technology to his advantage, which in time became a disadvantage and what he did with it, which was that he created a monster. I do agree though that moral does play a huge role, because no matter how intellectual someone is, he or she would still need to have morals in their life. Intellect does not equal nor does it surpass moral, and I think that that was one of the things Victor Frankenstein lacked in his lifetime.
I don’t know much about the Victorian age, but from this discussion I learned that it has to do with the philosophical understandings of life. I think that fits perfectly with Victor Frankenstein because that was his quest; it was what he was looking to learn more about in life. He was so hungry that he went out of control, which ended up hurting him in the end.

Sandy. J said...

Post #3
Part B

Kellie, I agree with you that there has been a shift in ownership; I think it was meant to be that way. The author’s purpose is to show us how Victor’s own creation turns against him because of his monster-like behavior. Although the monster was hideous, and was presumed to be dangerous, he had feelings and all he wanted was to be accepted by everyone and be treated as an equal. The shift is very important because it shows the lack of control Victor had over his life anyway. If he had been friendly with his creation, and had been atoning towards him, then the monster would have nothing to control. The monster wouldn’t threaten to hurt his family and destroy him; instead he would get along with him like a normal human being. Frankenstein is the cause of the ownership shift, just like he is the cause of all the detrimental events that occurred in his life.
Kellie I love the comment about the biblical allusion, I do think that it’s both an interesting and important topic in the book. If you notice, all throughout the book, Shelley constantly uses words such as “celestial” or “heavenly”, which are words that are often affiliated with God. At first I thought it had to do only with Elizabeth and how she could have symbolized an angel, because Victor kept describing her as beautiful and kind. The way she glowed and how she was the cause for his mother’s happiness, but then I thought about Frankenstein being God-like because he’s taking pieces to create human, jus like God did. I infer that Shelley was foreshadowing a similar idea in the novel. I do think that Frankenstein’s suffering is a punishment from God, it might be because of I’m a Christian, and I’m completely biased when it comes to such topics. Victor was trying to play God by making or attempting to make a human of his own, because he was so fascinated with the idea of man and their amazing capability to perform certain tasks and to learn from them. His ambition was so strong that it led to create something, which he would not have control over because he is not God. Shelley’s suggesting that we stay within our range of things that we are able to do. Looking for something more in our lives that we really don’t need, will only end up causing us sorrow and misery. We shouldn’t do things that are out of our control, and we definitely should not try to play God. Intellect is a good quality to have, but too much of it can drive us insane, and lead us into an infinite plight.

Sandy. J said...

Post #3
Part C

Yes Jackie I do agree with you that the monster has a conscience, and he’s the one that makes the decision to do evil. Though you have to keep in mind that Victor created him, and that he’s doing al these evil misdeeds because Victor won’t accept him, no matte how much he implores him. He feels resentment towards him, and that’s a human emotion because we as humans feel resentment towards people who do something to us that we don’t like or who do us harm. Victor is the cause for the murders the monster committed because he could have prevented them, the monster warned him, but he refused to listen. The anger and bitter feelings kept growing inside the monster until he decided to rid of them or pacify them so to speak by killing his family. Don’t you wonder what the outcomes would be if Victor acted humane towards the monster. Would all of these things have happened? Humans also bring harm to others for their own benefits. Discussing all of this makes me realize that Shelling is suggesting that we, humans have a monstrous side. If monsters act out on their emotions, something that we also do, what really makes us so different them? The only difference would be the physical appearance, whereas we hide it, and our faces are presentable in society. The ugly crimes the monster commits are visible right on his face. I think Mary Shelley’s trying to tell us that we are monsters, we probably can’t look in a mirror and see it, but it’s there. Blackmails, killing streak, those are all things that humans do. What do monsters do that we don’t?
I agree with you that the monster is everything that Frankenstein hates about himself; therefore it is a reflection of him. Although the monster does have some admirable qualities that Frankenstein does have. For example when he was observing the cottagers, and how he helped carry the wood for the boy every morning. He committed all these acts of kindness that he didn’t need to. We don’t find that often in humans, there are a few good people out there that would do those things for others but they are very rare to find. Mary Shelly’s might be suggesting for us to look within ourselves, instead of looking at others and judging them. While we’re condemning them for their bad deeds, (such as Frankenstein is doing to the monster, and only God is supposed to condemn) we disregard the horrible things about ourselves that we should be paying attention to.