Throughout the second half of the semester the juxtaposition of the powerful against the powerless has provided many interesting blog posts, debates and hours of  class discussion. The conflict between the sides has been expressed through a multitude of different lenses including feminine vs. masculine, colonized vs. colonizer and the bourgeoisie vs. the proletariat. We have analyzed, reanalyzed, drawn pictures of our analysis and then debated on who was better at analyzing all of these complex binaries.

What have I drawn from the many hours trying to come up with interesting and original blog posts? I have come to  realize that within the context of Frankenstein these binaries do not exist. With close reading and analysis, the dichotomies that categorize characters in the novel collapsed in on themselves and illustrated their nature as not inherent truths but rather social constructs. Simply put, in the novel an Us vs. Them complex can not thrive because there is no us. All of the characters in the novel are at one point rendered powerless and therefore made to exist as an other, and when every character exists as an other the power structure is not rigid and everlasting, but fluid and ever-changing.

At every turn in the novel we see an upending of what we thought to be true, an inversion of the power structure that dominates our world view. Looking only to the second half of the semester and and questions of femininity and colonialism  it is obvious to see the novel’s ability to invert these so called categories of dominance. The character that so represents the most obvious positions of power, both the masculine and the colonizer is Victor. However by the end of the novel he has become a slave to his own creation and dies trying to gain the control he has lost.  More than disenfranchising the powerful, the novel also demonstrates the lifting up of the weak into temporary positions of power. Take the creature, once the very picture of an outcast ends up with the power to not only destroy those around his creator but destroy his creator himself. Another aspect of the novel’s ability to inverse and therefore destroy the supposed power structure comes not from the actual words on the page but the words that have been left out. The idea of omission sparked great discussion with a total of six student comments, which is six more than all of my other posts combined. As I argue in that post, the tool of omission is powerful because it does not just show the weak side of a character but rather gives them no representation at all. There are countless examples of the powerful falling and the weak rising up in the novel. The culture of Us vs. Them  is eliminated because everyone is at some point powerless, everyone is a them.

Looking at traditional power especially represented by the masculine and the colonizer, the novel Frankenstein works to remove even the most seemingly powerful characters from their pedestal and show them as just as powerless as those they used to have control over. In the world of Frankenstein there is no lasting control, there is no permanent power, there is only The Other.

 

 

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