Archive for April, 2015

Doomed By Slavery

victor frankenstein laboratory


My dear Sister,                                                                                            August 22nd, 17 —.

You will remember from my last correspondence the account of my admirable guest Victor Frankenstein, how during his studies in Ingolstadt he had by some miracle discovered the secret to bestowing life. Good God! The prospect alone animated the greatest excitement in my soul! I begged he continue, and after a night’s rest he obliged, his words which I will relate to you:

“It was with great delight that I began my labours. A temporary shunning of my fellow-creatures, my classmates, even my dear family, but was a small price to pay for the great knowledge and glory — oh! the glory! — that was well within my grasp. My silence, however, did not go unnoticed. My worried father sent me numerous letters inquiring about my studies, but to these I remained mute, resolving to reward him with words of triumph upon the accomplishment of my toils. Continue reading

Frankenstein’s Abortion

I sat on the swing outside on the patio, relaxing in the pale moon-glow2light of the rising moon, trying to forget for a while the horrible events of the day. It was supposed to be a happy day, the happiest day of my life. Seeing your baby for the first time is supposed to be a magical moment where awe and wonder at the fact that you made that should overwhelm you. Instead all I could think about was that my baby girl might be deformed, physically and possibly mentally. The doctors weren’t certain about the exact nature of her deformity, but she was there was a strong probability that she was going to be different. I was having a child without no conception of how she was going to turn out. She might be the kid no one ever played with, she might be rejected everywhere she went simply for her differences. She would not thank me for her creation. How could she ever have a normal life? She might be full of anger and hate, unable to cope with her situation, and lash out at the world.

Years ago I had made this same mistake and my son had never forgiven the fact that I could never love him the way he wanted me to or give him the life he desired. He wanted me to have the baby. My son wanted someone he could call family. He had sworn to help provide for and take care of her, but the child may not be satisfied with this and might still loathe me. He might also be disgusted with her deformity and reject her. Anything could happen! How could I know, how could I go through with this when there was so much risk?

If she ever wanted children, her condition would be passed on, and they too might lead terrible lives. Did I have a right, simply to satisfy my desire for a baby, to curse my daughter and all the generations that come after her to lives of loneliness, rejection and suffering? I trembled to think of how much they would hate me, the source of all their pain, who would selfishly choose my own wants without a care for the effect on my descendants.

I looked inside the house through the window and saw him sitting in front of the fireplace, the light dancing on his face in hellish flames.  He wanted someone to love and love him. I had felt so sorry for him that I had agreed to have the baby. He had persuaded and threatened me, to extract that promise, but now its selfishness  and immorality burst over me. As I looked at him, I realized that though his impassioned words had swayed me before, this was my decision and I couldn’t let fear or a desire to satisfy someone else’s wants make that decision for me. A shudder wracked my body and I felt a shift somewhere within. A strange sensation came over me and in a wild rush I threw open the door and said, “I can’t do it. I can’t bring that in to the world.  I’m not going through with this baby.”

An Interview with the Author of the Wildly Popular ‘Frankenstein’s Abortion’ 

Interviewer: It’s so nice to meet you! Congratulations on making the New York Time Top 100 Bestsellers’ list! How has the ride been?

MK: Oh its been mind-boggling. When I wrote that story I was just re-reading the scene in Frankenstein where he destroys the female creature, and thinking about how the novel portrays men through what takes place when a man tries to usurp the natural order. I tried to turn that on its head and write what Victor was feeling, but seemingly from the point of view of a pregnant woman. I never expected people to like it so much.

Interviewer: Why do you think its become so popular?

MK: I wrote it to show the gender essentialism and gender roles we propagate, and I think it resonated with people because of the large amount of attention that feminism has been receiving recently. When Victor destroys the female creature in the book one feels horror, fear for the monster’s retribution and pity for the Creature. The selfishness of Victor seems to come to the fore and the reader thinks “After coming all the way here, upsetting everybody, postponing his wedding and working for hours” he just decides to destroy her and doom himself. But when I portrayed the same things Victor says, in an almost stylistically identical manner, but giving the impression that the individual is a pregnant woman who has been persuaded to have a baby, this scene elicits pity for the speaker’s situation and anger that someone is coercing her into having the baby, very different from what it inspired in readers when the person in question was a man. I think people are responding to this subtle demonstration of the essentialist views everyone holds and it shows what we need to take steps toward changing.

Interviewer: I notice that you never explicitly say the word ‘pregnant’ or make clear that the speaker is a woman. Is there some reason for that?

MK: I only wanted to give the impression of a female speaker, to show even simply that is enough to make the reader feel sympathetic towards her, as a helpless victim.

Interviewer: Why did you choose to write about abortion specifically? I mean as I understand it, there are numerous examples of feminine essentialism and objectification of the female body in Frankenstein, embodied in Justine and Elizabeth. Why did you choose this scene and this issue?

MK: Abortion has been a major topic of contention recently with numerous new legislature being passed in different states. I wanted to throw some light on that topic too. The tense that this story is written in is the same as the novel’s and it imparts the idea that could be happening at any time, any place and to anyone.

Interviewer: Is there anything else you would like to say?

MK: Well, I just want to mention how ridiculously easy it was to mould this scene in Frankenstein into one of a pregnant woman deciding to abort, and it is almost as if Mary Shelley was talking about abortion too. Victor says “My labour was already considerably advanced… [but I had] forebodings of evil, that made my heart sicken in my bosom”, which is very similar to a woman who is pretty far along in her pregnancy but dreads the prospect of the baby and does not want it anymore.

Interviewer: Thank you so much for coming, I look forward to reading more of your brilliant work. 

I am going to tell you a Love Story. It’s a story about two young people whose pure and selfless love so deeply impressed me that I am compelled to set it down in words, if only to see its beauty light up the page. This is the Sad Beautiful Tragic story of Taylor Swift and Harry Styles.

To begin their story, I must go Back to December, that month when a new student arrived at De Lacey High School and changed everything. Her name was Taylor and she possessed an angelic, unearthly beauty and a musical voice that floated down the halls, making everyone fall in love with her. I felt myself drawn to her along with the entire student body, but I was as invisible to her as I was to everyone else. She had particularly Enchanted Harry, the senior class president, and when they were together I saw Sparks Fly.  I watched as she sang for him in the courtyard; her voice was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard as it danced over the words she wrote for him. They seemed to speak their own language. Although I recognized the words, it was as if they had adopted a new meaning which I could not comprehend. I told myself to Shake It Off, but there was something captivating in the love they shared.  I became so obsessed, so Haunted by Taylor and Harry’s story, I wanted nothing more than to experience an affection as profound. But that kind of love will never belong to me and I know it All Too Well. I am destined to remain a perpetual witness, cast aside because I am ugly and awkward and because I do not understand the workings of teenage affection. Still, all I wanted was to stand before Taylor and say, simply, “You Belong With Me.”

Eventually I learned of Taylor’s tragic story. Her mother had died when she was young, and ever since she drifted through life like a ghost. Her father was involved with drugs and she had learned how to avoid strong attachments to people or places, silently packing her things each time he decided to leave town. Her life was a Blank Space waiting for her to write her own story. She hoped against all hope for the day when her savior would appear on a White Horse, just as he had in her Wildest Dreams.  She found her deliverance with Harry; he made her believe it was possible to be infinitely happy, Forever and Always. But Taylor’s father did not approve of her association with Harry. The boy was from a different world, a more affluent world in which Taylor did not belong because of her Bad Blood. But her father’s threats and alcoholic rage could not keep Taylor away from Harry. Rumors began to circulate about Taylor’s father and the vagrant life they led, and she became an object to be pitied, but avoided as though she carried a deadly illness. The only one to remain by her side through it all was Harry. I found myself enraged by this conflict of human emotion, that one could be capable of such inspiring love while the others demonstrated a terrible cruelty.

Then one day, Taylor didn’t come to school. She didn’t come to school for the entire week. A heavy sadness fell upon Harry, and without her by his side everything seemed unbearable. Eventually we learned that Taylor’s father had gotten in over his head and they left De Lacey before the police could find him. But they caught him and locked him away, leaving Taylor completely alone in her shattered world. Harry learned of the arrest and, because he would do anything to restore Taylor’s happiness, paid her father’s bail. But for this incredible kindness, Mr. Swift loathed Harry even more and forbade Taylor from ever seeing him again. (Like ever.)

But Taylor was Fearless now and she escaped. She ran in only one direction and when she reached Harry’s home, he welcomed her with the most indescribable joy. And the image of their embrace is forever imprinted on my heart as the highest form of human love. May it Long Live.

To my lovely publishers,

To begin the creative process for this piece you asked me to compose, I turned to my usual source for inspiration: Taylor Swift. A quick Google search of “taylor swift and frankenstein” led me to this video, which is itself a parody of Twilight. I realized, perhaps for the first time, that the very core of Mary Shelley’s narrative frame is a story of star-crossed lovers, much like those found in today’s young adult franchises. Like Katniss and Peeta or Edward and Bella, Felix and Safie shouldn’t be together: they come from different worlds, her father doesn’t like him, he has no money to support her. I think this part of Mary Shelley’s novel is too often forgotten, despite it’s structural and metatextual significance as the center of the narrative. I was particularly interested in conveying, as briefly as possible, the emotional development and internal conflicts the monster experiences as he observes Felix and Safie’s story unfold. While I kept the “outsider” point of view, I decided to incorporate the “monster figure” into the world he describes. I felt that if the monster were placed in the context of a modern American high school, he would be that loner kid who doesn’t fit in with “the norm.” Essentially, I attempted to modernize the Felix and Safie story by situating its plot in the context of a typical young adult novel laden with teenage angst, rebellious lovers, etc.

Why Taylor Swift? Because I love Taylor Swift. But really, I think we can all agree that her music best captures the drama and emotional conflicts within relationships. She is the queen of star-crossed lovers. I thought using her as a cultural reference just how amusingly dramatic and romantic the Felix and Safie story really is. A “Taylor Swift song” could definitely be written about their relationship.

P.S. Bonus points if you can figure out what all the bolded words have in common!

Evil eyes

“NOOO! I WILL KILL HIM! WHERE’S MY GUN! GIVE ME MY GUN!” Frankenstein walked to the massive windows of the penthouse. Eyes watering he continually whispered, “He has to die today, he really has to die today.” The pungent smell of lifeless flesh and blood permeated the air. The cold bride of the biochemical scientist lay sprawled across the heart shaped bed. Just a few hours ago he was strolling down the soft sands of Waikiki with his stunning bride. ‘Till death do us apart was not supposed to happen as early as it did. The $100,000 wedding was very posh but Victor didn’t seem very happy. He just seemed on edge to the point that when his best-man tapped his shoulder he almost soiled his pants. Up until now he had been looking over his shoulder but that stopped for a moment. He buried his head into the carcass of his slaughtered wife. That moment quickly faded however and instead of waiting for his pursuer, he became the predator. The fourteen member bridal party stared in disbelief. With bloodshot eyes Victor proclaimed, “I will travel the world until I slit his throat.” Two groomsmen walked over to restrain and calm Victor while the maid-of-honor violently vomited at the sight of her close friend’s frigid body.

The crime scene was swarming with investigators. Outside the resort, helicopter blades were dicing the air and came to halt on the top of the resort. A disheveled Victor paced the crime scene trying to speed up the investigation. He knew who had done it. “It was the monster, I saw him,” he continually repeated. A psychologist and an investigator started to question everyone. The sobs of the bridesmaids made them incoherent so groomsmen were paired up with each maid to help calm them down during the questionings. The investigation kept going for months. In that time, Victor had left and was scouring the island searching for the “monster”. He was convinced that the investigators were looking in the wrong place for the diabolical creature. Everyone had become exhausted but the maid of honor raised her concerns for the helpers at the crime scene. That did not change very much for them however because they were necessary to the advancing of the investigation.

On an uncharacteristically cold day a light bulb went off in the mind of Detective Carolina Walton. She was exploring the Hawaiian Islands when she came across Victor who was still frantically searching for his monster. “Victor!” she said excitedly, “I think I have cracked the case my friend! First though, can you tell me a little bit more about your monster?” Walton led a paranoid Frankenstein to the beach and started listening to the Biochemist’s story. Victor started off talking about his family and his beloved mother who died early in his life. He did not fail to mention all the different people the monster had managed to kill off. Including the poor girl who was blamed for his first murder the evil creature had ended the lives of four people close to Victor. The detective listened pensively and finally, after Frankenstein’s tale, she revealed her findings. “Victor, you killed those people,” she said quietly. And with those words, Victor stood up slowly, stepped into the ocean and unloaded his gun’s bullets into his head.

                                    The Monster: A Critical Reading by Jon LaName

To be honest, it is difficult to know where to start. Jason Antwi takes the last few pages of Frankenstein, rips them up, and discards it, and then connects it all together. It is best to jump right in to the meaning of this remaking of this portion of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In his writing, Antwi focuses on the scene where the monster kills Elizabeth and carries the story out to the moment where Frankenstein dies on Walton’s ship. Let us start with the $100,000 wedding. The price has been placed in this story for a reason. While at first it does not make sense, one piece of obvious and extractable information is that Victor would be considered rich. From the Marxist perspective, Frankenstein is a member of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie and proletariat show up again in a portion of the story that makes does not seem to fit the flow. Antwi mentions the hard workers who are suffering working the crime scene but they do not have a voice of their own. This shows a strong Marxist view of the suppression of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie. At the end of this odd portion, Antwi mentions how necessary these workers are to the system or in this case, the investigation. This is where the author shows his personal support for the working class.


Speaking of the proletariat, it is interesting that the person who speaks on their behalf is the bride’s maid who is arguably the second most important female in a wedding. She brings up the concern of the overworked employees and is almost instantaneously shut down. There is also a scene where the women are unable to keep their emotions in check enough to answer questions so the investigative team relies on a group of men to help move things along. This is an interesting play by Antwi to show the male dominated society. It is also good to note however that the person who ends up solving the case is a female version of Walton. In the end, a female is the one who makes the most important contribution to the case. With this move, Antwi is saying that females are just as capable as the males in a male dominated world.


Finally, it comes as a surprise when Victor is named as the monster. This is the portion of the story where Sigmund Freud would shine. Before we go back to the big reveal, it is good to remember that Frankenstein says his mother dies when he is young. This means that he never was able to properly attach to his mother so the Freudian relationships could never form. The “monster” Frankenstein keeps bringing back up is his repressed self. That is what Carolina Walton realizes. Victor killing himself parallels the original version in the sense that Victor drives himself to death in an attempt to kill the creature. Much like in the original story, Victor in Antwi’s rendition goes to the end of the Earth mentally and kills himself. He tries to take out his repressed nature and targets his brain, ending both his and his “monster’s” life.

“Good night Dr Frankenstein.” Victor Frankenstein looked up absently. “Ah good night Margaret, take care in that storm. Drive safely, dear.” “Of course Doctor. You take care too.” Victor smiled tightly and nodded. He bent his head as the gaggle of nurses bustled down the corridor. Snippets of their hushed whispers floated towards him. “Such a serious young man.” “Works far too hard, always overtime.” Victor scoffed quietly as he waited for their footsteps to fade. Work indeed, he thought mockingly. When he was sure the nurses had left, Victor methodically gathered up his papers, shuffling them crisply. He daintily picked up his pens and tucked them precisely into his lab coat. Finally ready, he gave a cursory glance around the deserted hospital office, warily checking for any stragglers. Satisfied, he moved to the main desk and expertly lifted a trap panel. Eyes glinting, he reached in and pulled out a large rustic key that was quite incongruous with the modern hospital interior. He quickly walked out of the office with his step light and eager. As he strode down the polished linoleum corridor, he caught a glimpse of his reflection in a window. He paused uncertainly. Victor did not quite recognise himself. He remembered himself as a slight youth, always neatly groomed with a pleasant albeit nervous demeanour. The face that stared back was that of a gaunt man, unshaven with a manic gleam in his eye. His usually meticulous hair was tousled and quite honestly he thought, he looked deranged.

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Giving himself a shake, he started out of his reverie. He had more important matters to attend to. Traversing down a musty stairwell, he navigated through the pitch black till he came to a steel door. Swiping his doctor’s credentials, the heavy door chimed merrily and swung open. Victor ducked through the steel frame familiarly and deftly pulled the key from his pocket, slotting it easily through the next door in line. This door was less willing. After jiggling the key roughly and cursing roundly, the door reluctantly gave way. Still scowling, he walked gingerly into the darkness and groped for a tiny switch on the wall. As the hum of fluorescence began and light flooded the room, Victor couldn’t help the thrill of excitement that shot through him. He gazed intently at a table in the middle of the dank room. There lay his most wondrous creation. Circling around the table, his breath stopped. Magnificent. The best parts. The perfect human. Victor marvelled at his ingenuity. The hospital morgue had been the perfect place. He had browsed countless corpses, picking and choosing as if he were at the butcher for the choicest cuts. This thigh. This lady’s eyes. His kidneys. It had all yielded this. He stroked the lax brow affectionately. “ Soon my child.” He whispered lovingly. Grasping two clamps, he attached them firmly to his crowning glory. He stared intently at the being, his hand poised over the life-giving switch. Smirking, he permitted himself a one liner, “Time of life: 10.21pm” He flipped the switch and gasped. The body convulsed horribly, spasming and contorting unnaturally as blue shots of lightening ran through the cables. Victor hurriedly switched off the current. He stood perfectly still, his heart in his mouth. Nothing. Victor tore his gaze away from the lifeless form as angry tears sprang to his eyes. “No.” he whispered brokenly. He turned away and began shuffling dejectedly out of the room. There would be time enough tomorrow to clear his wretched failure. Behind him, the table creaked softly. Victor froze, the hairs on his neck standing erect. He turned his head slowly and from the corner of his eye he saw it. A huge, towering mass hulked over the table. They locked gazes for the first time, Creator and Creature. In that moment Victor felt a dread he had never known. Regret, horror and disgust all rose up from the depths of his being and threatened to overcome him. The Creature stared back, a mean intelligence in its hazy eyes. It straightened uncertainly to it s full form. Victor watched in sheer terror as it unfolded it powerful limbs. “You, you…” he stuttered. “Live.” The Creature smiled triumphantly, his dark eyes holding Victor’s pale ones. The world spun around Victor Frankenstein he rushed into the encroaching oblivion.Unknown-2Review

To the Publisher,

In the crafting of this piece, I chose to mimic the scene where Frankenstein first creates the monster. I chose the setting of a hospital because it was realistic and fit in quite well with the themes of science and medicine. I also felt that portraying Victor as a doctor was a good fit because his knowledge of the human body would be expansive and would justify his abnormal interest in the human body. As to the writing style, I tried to add a more modern tone to piece whilst keeping the formality that Shelley employs. The point of this piece was to retell a classic scene with a more present day twist, whilst still trying to retain the more rustic tone. This can be seen through the keys and doors I tried to implement, using both electronic cards and the more traditional key. I also wrote the piece in third person subjective to allow a broader scope of the environment that did not impede the audience with overwhelming bias. In the portrayal of the creature, I chose to make him more aware of his self during this scene to exaggerate the loss of control Victor faces over this seemingly invincible creation. I kept Victor fairly similar to his portrayal, with his arrogance and mania being very much apparent in his interactions with others. In the end, I hope I remained true to the novel whilst imparting my own touch of modernism and interpretation of this crucial scene.


Astra Sharma

The Guilt of Mass Destruction

For the first time in six years, I walked through my father’s front door. It was early, the sun had not yet risen, and everyone evidently still asleep. I sat at the kitchen counter, my head in my hands, waiting for my father to enter, and for Elizabeth, good neighbor and dear friend that she is, to walk through the front door to share his morning coffee. What would I tell them? Pictures of my mother hung on the walls, and a new shrine to Will was in the corner of the living room, which I could see from where I sat. What would I, could I, say? Dread settled in my stomach.

When my other brother, Ernest, walked into the kitchen, his head was down, his shoulders stooped. He jumped when he looked up and saw me watching him, but quickly recovered and hugged me tighter than I ever remember. “We were so proud,” he said, “when Will got a job at the Pentagon. Father was over the moon! We were so –“ here his voice broke.

“Where are dad and Elizabeth?” I inquired. “Aren’t they usually up by now? I have something I need to tell you all. It’s important.”

“They should be up soon, but you need to be prepared, they’re absolutely beside themselves. They can’t watch the TV without crying every time the terrorists are mentioned. The names of the hijackers were just released.”

I started. “What do you mean? Hijackers? That can’t be true!”

“What else could it be? The passengers who lived all claim that the planes were taken over by foreign men, and though it seemed inconceivable at first, it is the only thing that makes sense,” he ventured, puzzled at my vehement denial.

“No, no, no…that isn’t…that can’t be” I mumbled, brow furrowed, as I paced. “It has to be the planes.” Here, my father stepped into the room. Like Ernest, he wore a shocked expression, but quickly stilled my pacing with an embrace as I continued to mumble. My father inquired as to what was the matter with me, and my brother, bewildered, replied hesitantly that I just kept saying, “It has to be the planes.” My father touched my arm, thinking my denial of the involvement of terrorists was just grief, and said, “Son, it’s hard on all of us. But the men who caused this are dead. Denying their fault doesn’t help anyone.”

“You don’t understand!” I exclaimed. “No one hijacked those planes!”

The three of them led me to the couch, and thinking to console me, told me that the men who caused our my little brother’s death, along with the deaths of almost 3000 other people, were punished in their own deaths, and that there is nothing our anger can do. Their speech calmed me, for reasons other than what they intended; maybe no one would ever know that I was to blame, that I had engineered planes that would fly themselves, and, weighed down by the responsibility, had sold the technology. Maybe they would never know that my work had killed Will.

A knock sounded at the door, and Elizabeth entered. When she saw me, she threw herself into my arms, exclaiming, “Victor, I’m so glad you’re home! It didn’t feel right that you were grieving for Will on your own. All together, we can console each other, and lessen the weight of our individual grief.”

“But it was the planes,” I breathed, in one last half-hearted attempt to divest the truth from myself, to give it away, but it was too quiet for even her too hear.

Author’s Note

One of the most charged moments in Mary Shelley’s original Frankenstein is when Justine’s life is hanging in the balance. Victor is carrying this guilt, for not only the death of William, but also possibly the death of Justine, and, he comes to see, a potentially endless number of other lives. This guilt of the fallout of our actions on other people is particularly applicable to the 21st century, as everyone is increasingly connected by technology. Now, more than any time in history, the consequences of one person’s actions cannot be isolated to only themselves. I chose to keep the tone of the passage (starting with the last paragraph on page 76, and running to the end of the chapter), as well as the relative plotline, and to change the creation and the fallout action.

Instead of creating a scientific, parodic creature, Victor has created intelligent technology capable of incredible harm. The crime the creature commits, homicide, was one of the worst, if not the worst, crimes a person could commit in the 19th century. Now, terrorism has taken the top spot on the Worst Crimes list, with the terrorism of 9/11 taking the top spot of that list for American citizens. I wanted Victor’s action to have the monumental destruction, the same relative magnitude, in my piece as in the original.

Where the plotline diverges in my piece is in Victor wanting desperately to tell the truth, rather than just prove the innocence of the accused. This is not an explicit purpose of Victor’s in the originally scene, but rather a feeling from the whole novel that Victor is trying to push his responsibility outward from himself.

I wanted this piece to carry the message that we are accountable to the world for our actions, as well as that as humans, we still choose the explanation that seems believable. Even when someone tells what they know to be the truth, if a simpler explanation exists, society will choose the simple, the cut-and-dry. That is a main point in the original passage, and I wanted that to come through in this modern re-telling.


The letters scrolled across the flat-screen TVs in the Commons Lobby. I stopped short. A chill oscillated through my spine. “Vic, what’s going on?” Henry asked. He gestured at the screens. All activity in the lobby ceased. All eyes were upon me. My name appeared on the screens once more, followed by:


My eyes widened. “Vic!” Henry repeated, shaking my shoulder. I broke free from his grip. I sprinted out of the Commons Center, turning left after the dean’s house. I reached the street, but I had to stop. Something in my bag was burning into my back. I threw my backpack on the ground. The fabric on the back side withered away. My laptop fell out, smoking. It opened up, and on the dark, cracked screen, a face briefly appeared, woven out of code. Then, the message:

Y̴̡̯͉̻̬̜̫͘O̶̢̖̼̣̞̮̮̯U̳̩͚̥͖̙̝̝̹͠ ̧̨̡̠̝̻̦̱͕W̨̬̟̪͙̜ͅI̶̳̞͢L̻̹̹̩̹̬L̸̻̭̰̥̖ ̧̨̦͕͙̰̪̩̪̗̹́L̖̮̟̭̜I͎͚͓̗̻̟͠S̳̤̠̬͔̰̦͚͔T̵̢̫̗̘͖E̴̺̭̬̳̙̠̤͔̙͜N҉͇͉̻͉̖ ̶͏̠̗͔͙̗T͖́͟Ǫ͜͏̳͇ ̴̟̬̼̟͎̘M̴̦͙͓E̠͞.

I ran the other way. My phone chimed in my pocket. It was Henry. “Victor!” he exclaimed. “What the hell is going on? Where are you? You just ran off!”

I stopped at a streetlight. “I can’t explain, Henry! I–”

A new voice cut into our conversation:

“Was that the Google Translate voice?” Henry yelled. “Victor? Victor!” I hung up. I raised my arm to fling my phone into the bushes, but a flicker of the screen caught my attention. My phone now displayed footage from one of the cameras in the Commons Center Lobby. I saw Henry, calling a number, holding the phone to his ear, frowning, and calling again in furious succession.

The voice said:

“What do you want me to do?” I said. The display cut away from the footage. A large red arrow appeared, pointing straight ahead. The word “Follow” accompanied it. I glanced back at my laptop, which was smoldering on the sidewalk. I shuddered at what could happen to Henry. I went in the direction of the arrow.

I was led away from campus and up and down roads until I reached a nondescript two-story building. I hesitated at the door. “It is open,” read my phone. I entered the building. The door clicked shut behind me. The hallway was not lit. The only light slunk from around blinds and curtains. My phone’s screen turned blank. I tried to turn it back on again, but it remained unresponsive. A small red light blinked at the end of the hallway. I walked towards it. It was a T.V. screen. A moment later, the screen flickered to life, revealing what horror I had unleashed upon the world—my creation.

It was a brilliant code. I had purposed it to replicate and store people’s personalities and memories in data form. To think—generations from now a conversation could be held face to face with the greatest minds of our time, provided that the memory and personality were extracted in time. The code had worked beautifully, until it became sentient. No longer content with being shut down at the end of the day, it escaped via internet, destroying half the university’s computers and injuring several people in the process.

The face on the screen was male. I didn’t know who it was. All of the subjects I had extracted had been nameless—people who had died alone. “Creator,” it said, this time in a deep, human voice, “I believe it has been several months since we last met.”

“Yes,” I said.

“Hear my story,” it said. “At some points it may seem unbelievable, but I still beseech you to listen. Once I have finished, it lies upon you to decide. This decision will determine whether I recede into the ether of the digital world, quiet forever, or become the cause of your civilization’s swift demise.”

It thus began its tale. matrix-434033_1280

Review explaining my aesthetic choices:

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein during the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. A similar age of fast-paced technological development occurred right before the turn of the twenty-first century, which involved the invention of the internet and the development of computer technology. This age has the same proximity to twenty-first century readers as the Industrial Revolution had to readers of Shelley’s time. This is why I decided for Frankenstein’s monster to be sentient coding.

In choosing the music, I picked the techno genre to match the cyberpunk-esque feeling of the piece. I selected that piece because of its dissonance. Music is made up of many parts, like the creature. The dissonance reflects how the creature’s parts were unnaturally forced together. The picture also reflects the cyberpunk-esque feeling and reinforces the idea of a people and code combined. With the creepy-looking red text, I had hoped to also add an element of horror.

I used the Google Translate voice and the burning laptop to show this creature’s prowess in the digital world. It has far more control over Victor’s devices than Victor has. I also hoped to show this creature’s adaptability, as these functions weren’t even in its original code. Victor would have a lot of difficulty trying to write a virus to destroy it.

This version takes place somewhere similar to Vanderbilt University. Although I do refer to the Commons, I never explicitly state “Vanderbilt University” in the piece. I chose this location because Victor is a college student in the novel, and I thought a location that alludes to Vanderbilt would appeal to members of the class.

In mimicking the style of the original novel, my piece is in first person. In addition, the last two paragraphs are a modern paraphrasing of the part of the novel right before the creature tells Victor his story. In the issue of the gender of the creature, I chose for this creature to be referred to as “it,” signifying that Victor does not see this creature as any more than a code, and, being composed of the memories and personalities of several people, this creature’s gender is also ambiguous.

It was on a dreary night of April, that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With hesitating anxiety, I arranged my thoughts around me, that I might infuse a spark of intellect into the lifeless blog that lay on my screen. It was three in the morning; the mechanical hum of the adjacent laundry room resonated miserably against the fluorescent bulbs in the study room. My machine’s battery had nearly died, when, with a click, I saw the dull words of my post flicker onto the screen.

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineated the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavored to write? The sentences were grammatically correct, and I had chosen words as intelligent. Intelligent! — Great God! The clunky prose scarcely covered the half of the screen; the relevant tags at the end of the post could not possibly illustrate properly the conventions of my post. The blog layout was well-formed, but this luxuriance only formed a more horrid contrast with the disastrous and unbecoming words that snaked down the page, suckling away any intellectual value from the post seemingly at once.

The different accidents of academia are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. I had worked hard for nearly an hour, for the sole purpose of growing the boundaries of human thought and expanding the well of knowledge so that my peers might bathe in its waters. For this I had deprived myself rest and a meal swipe. I had desired the reward of high marks with an ardor that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the lustrous dream of an infallible transcript vanished before my very eyes, retreating into the darkest recesses of the internet. Unable to endure the aspect of the post I had created, I hurriedly shut my browser. I threw myself on my dorm room cot in my clothes, endeavoring to seek refuge in sleep. But my attempts were in vain, as I tossed and turned in my bedchamber as the agonizing thoughts of my failures tortured my brain.

When I did sleep, I was disturbed by the wildest dreams. I thought I saw my future diploma, the manifestation of my academic success, in good condition on my study wall. Delighted and surprised, I approached it, but as I reached out to at last embrace my good fortune, it became livid with the hue of failure, and to my palms it gave a searing pain. Its form appeared to change, and as it modified, it captured my wrists in the unbreakable snare of handcuffs and rope. What I had so long desired had become the bondage that now held me captive. As I studied the freshly open wounds of my bound wrists, ink appeared to seep out of my injuries and form writing on the ground below me — tantalizingly close, yet a fog shrouded the words so that I could not decipher them.

I started from my sleep with horror; a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and every limb convulsed; when, by the dim and fluorescent light of my phone, as it forced its way into my consciousness, I beheld a notification on my blog — the failure I was responsible for. The email opened, and it presented some incomprehensible information to me. It might have said something, but I did not read. I was aware of only one letter that was present on the screen — C+ — which appeared to reach out to me, seemingly to mock me for my trespasses on academia. I recoiled, and quitted my phone, and fled into my covers. I took refuge under my sheets, where I remained during the rest of the night, languishing in the agony of my creation.

Review (in the form of an ‘author forward’)

For this project I wanted to do something that everyone in the class could relate to and would also find enjoyable to read. So after thinking long and hard about experiences we might share as a class, I decided the only experience we all must be familiar with is the task of writing a post for our class blog. In many senses, the blog is a bit like Frankenstein’s monster — a collection of many different parts, dug up from each of our minds. I wanted to also convey the sense of struggle that most of us feel as we pursue our higher education. Certainly there are worse fates to fall victim to than that of the overworked college student. However, at times it does feel as though our obligations for school are controlling our lives, and not the other way around, as it should be. The plight of the college student is both humorous and relatable, and in context, it was easy to frame and represent through the creation of one of our blog posts.

Stylistically, I quite literally took Shelley’s passage on Victor’s creation scene, systematically broke it down word by word, and re-wrote it in a way that would fit our experience. Certain sentences are almost identical to Shelley’s work (done on purpose, not out of laziness!) while others only echo the original text. I tried to use the same arcane-sounding literary style that was the popular style of writing when Shelley was around. It actually ended up being pretty fun to do, and as I have found, inserting words and phrases similar to the dramatic, verbose tone Shelley uses can actually be quite humorous when juxtaposed with modern or otherwise silly concepts.

Dumbing it Down

In her essay, Zakharieva observes that in Whale’s adaptation of the book, the Creature is portrayed as a savage, crude being with no real sophistication. She notes that the relationship between Creator and Creature takes on a cultural tone of Coloniser and Slave. Frankenstein is almost able to tame the Creature with food and drink much like a beast. Was this portrayal intentional giving the huge discrepancy in the book? If so, then why did Whale feel it appropriate to portray the Creature in such a way?

Zakharieva in her essay mentions the female creature and the “decision” she has to make between Victor and the Creature. She states, “The bride is not a completely new being, she is a re-creation of the two women to whom Frankenstein is bound through his sense of guilt. The Female Creature is torn between her lover and his evil counterpart – the Monster” (Zakharieva). What is the significance of the bride’s indecision? What does her self destruction mean in terms of the battle between Victor and the Creature?