Category: Creative Writing Project (12/5)


         -An imitation of the passage in Chapter 13 on page 108-109

     “The books from which Felix instructed Safie were George Orwell’s 1984 and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. I should not have understood the significance of these books had not Felix, in reading them, described the magnitude of the ideas implicated by the novels. Through these works, I obtained a rudimentary understanding of the history and ideology behind the most infamous socialist nations of the past and present. I heard from Orwell of the social rigidity and homogeneity of Oceania and from Solzhenitsyn’s writings I heard of the avaricious and recreant Soviets and Felix even told of the cruelty of Chairman Mao in the People’s Republic of China. I heard of the collectivization of farms under Joseph Stalin and I wept with Safie over the hapless fate of the destitute kulaks.”

“ These wonderful narrations inspired me with strange feelings. Was man, indeed, at once so innovative, so virtuous, and conscientious, yet so brutal, envious, and insatiable? He appeared at one time a mere mouthpiece of an evil ideology, and at another as all that can be conceived as fair and compassionate. To be a merciful and just man appeared the highest honour that can befall man; to be envious and brutal, as many on record have been, appeared the lowest degradation, a condition more pitiful than that of the blind bat or harmless dove. For a long time I could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or why there were laws and governments put in place to assist such actions; but when I heard of how envy of the wealthy was being masked as compassion for the poor, my wonder ceased, and I turned away with abhorrence and a feeling of injustice.”

“Every conversation of the cottagers now exposed new forms of malevolence to me. While I listened to the instructions which Felix bestowed upon the Arabian, the strange system of socialist society was explained to me. I heard of the government’s ownership of property, of equal wealth for all regardless of occupation; of rigidity, groupthink, and malevolence.

The words induced me to turn towards myself. I learned that the purpose for such socialist systems was for the equivalence of power and wealth. A man should only be respected if he expressed compassion for those who found themselves at the bottom of any hierarchy and contempt for those who have succeeded much of their own accord. Thus, man was doomed to waste his powers to bestow uniform riches for all people. And so what was my place in this society? Of my creation and creator, I was absolutely ignorant, but I knew that I possessed no capital, no companions, no kind of property. Was I then to receive the pity and compassion of man or would I merely bear witness to the eradication of any man, who in any of his various identities, was considered a tyrant; I was not even of the same nature as man. I was more agile than they and could subsist upon coarser diet; I bore the extremes of heat and cold with less injury to my frame; my stature far exceeded theirs. In these attributes, I knew that I was superior to man, yet with regards to my capital I was an inferior being. What was I then? Was I, then, a victim, a child to be cared for, from which all people empathized with and whom all men pitied? Or was I then an oppressor, a taskmaster to be exterminated from the face of the Earth, from whom all men despised and envied.

I cannot describe to you the agony that these reflections inflicted upon me: I tried to rationalize the reasons for which such system would function without such pathology, but the more I tried to rationalize such ideas, the more I realized the incoherence of such ideas. Should I then separate myself from the society of man, ensuring my survival and evading my inevitable dishonest obliteration from the face of this Earth?

 

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            Regarding my short parody, I choose to imitate the structure and formal aspects of the passage on page 108-109 of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. This passage depicted the creature learning all about human history and the nature of human society in the present; He does this by listening in to Felix’s conversations with Safie as he attempts to teach her how to speak the same language as him. In reading this passage I realized that it often discussed aspects of capitalist based societies as being evil and in some senses unfair. This insinuation of the evils of capitalism is mentioned through constant mentions of a “division of property, of immense wealth” and of higher “rank” being attributed to those who had more money. In attempting to recreate this passage for a modern audience, I reflected on the constant recurrence of the espousals of socialist ideals and of the degradation of capitalism that I hear on a constant basis. Thus, I decided to use this parody as an admonition of the adoption of socialist ideals. Far too often I see the espousal of socialist ideals often grounded in the name of compassion without the recognition of the dangers that socialism has presented throughout history. While socialism is often masked by compassion, it often is motivated by the envy of those who succeed in a free market capitalist system and because of this socialism in many different variations and in different times throughout history has resulted in the mass genocide of those often seen as successful. Furthermore, those people who more recently have embraced the ideas of socialism are those ideologues – usually on the extremes of the political spectrum- who adopt a small number of incoherent irrational axioms to live their life by and center their belief systems around. Because of this adherence to ideologies and social systems based on faulty axioms, I found it incredibly important to broadcast the dangers of socialism. In keeping true to the original passage, I kept the original structure, form, and used similar language to that in the original passage. The original passage began with the creature learning about history from the teachings of Safie by Felix and in my parody, this remains true except he learns of the socialist dictators of the past and portrayed in novels. In this teaching, I chose to use George Orwell’s 1984 and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago to be the novels from which the creature and Safie learn from. This is because Orwell’s novel emphasizes the dangers of groupthink and of the danger of centralizing power in the government while Solzhenitsyn’s novel focuses on the horrors and tragedies that people- usually those with even a modicum of wealth- experienced during the Russian Revolution.  Next, the creature reflects on how man can value such high moral principles yet simultaneously act against them and in my parody I kept similar dialogue but made the dialogue apply in the context of a degeneration of socialism. Finally, the creature speaks of fundamental aspects of human society with an insinuation of an aversion to capitalism and thus in my parody, I used the same structure in my criticism of socialism. Overall, my goal in this project was to convey a caution against the adoption of socialist ideals often adopted in our modern society through a comparably similar imitation of the original passage.

-Steven Gonzalez

December 5, 2018

By Jade Graham

 

-Located in the Saville Family Archives-
From the desk of Margaret Saville
Date: December 4, 1799

Robert and I were close, especially when we were younger. He was always wandering off to the nearby forest where we lived as kids, while I always had my nose in a book. Eventually, he would come back and tell me his findings. Usually, it involved woodland creatures and his attempts to interact with them. I always believed them to be silly tales he told to amuse me. After he was finished telling me his stories, I would tell him the book I had read that day. Reading was my way of experiencing adventure, and Robert quite often enjoyed my retelling of the interesting novels I read.

As we got older and we both were dedicated to our studies, we kept in touch through letters. I was focused in England and Robert was continuously changing school to another school. One day, I got a letter out of the blue from him saying he was planning an expedition to the North Pole and leaving his studies behind. I inquired as to why he would make a decision so drastically. It made me think back to when we were younger and his forest journeys.

He used to say he wanted to change the world with a great adventure one day. In his letter, he reasoned that this expedition was a fine idea and how he was fully capable of seeing it through. Robert desired the knowledge that others did not possess in universities. I did not believe when my brother informed me of going through with this expedition that it would go well. The North Pole is dangerous and not like the woods he used to explore as a child.

I wondered if mother and father knew of Robert’s intentions. However, there is very little they could have done to stop him. Once Robert set his mind on something, he was driven by ambition to get the task done. If only they knew what I knew now. I haven’t heard from Robert in a few months, the letters have stopped. I’m terrified that something else has occurred since his last letter where he revealed the last part of Victor Frankenstein’s story with his creation. Even the word, “creation” is still appalling to read in his letters. What a story!

If this is to be truthful, then science has forever been altered. The events that have taken place the past few years, if real are fascinatingly terrifying. But a question lingers in my mind most nights, preventing sleep. Is it better for the world to know of the creature and his creator’s tale or let the world continue? With this knowledge my brother, as well as myself, now have… what are we to do with it? There is no proof, no evidence to be given. When Robert comes home as he is supposed to in four months time, I will ask what he believes should take place next. I do hope he is alright. Robert does not always think first with his actions, especially if he can attain something out of the risk. He and Victor Frankenstein appear to have this idea in common. I just hope for his sake that he does not end up in a fate such as Victor Frankenstein did.

 

Review:

Published in The New York Times
May 13, 2019

It has been over two hundred years since this letter (and others mentioned) have been written. Recently found in the deceased Mary Saville’s household, skeptics believe there is a possibility of truth to this story. Other sources have discovered journal entries from their family ancestry describing strange events involving a “creature” like the one mentioned in Ms. Margaret Saville’s letter. This one, however, is the only letter recovered, the other ones have yet (or never will be) found.

Why were these letters between Ms. Saville and her brother written? It appears to be a sibling bond nonetheless, however, the wild tale implications seem to add a shock appeal. Ms. Saville’s handwriting in this letter is quick as if the thoughts were about to leave her as she wrote them. As if she needed to get them out. Yet, there is still secrecy what the full story is. Without the other letters, the world does not know the full tale. I do believe skeptics will find the letter funny and discard it. Cast the idea off aside, when in reality one never does know the full truth. What happened with the person Victor Frankenstein? What fate did he have? Why did Ms. Saville want to stop her brother?

Too many questions with very little answers to show for an actual story. That is what my editor told me. But here, now before the deadline, I believe there is more to Ms. Saville and her brother’s letters. I believe they could change the world as her brother wanted to when he was alive.

“Fall 1995, One hiker found dead…”

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Illuminated only by the flicker of a dying flashlight, it likely appeared, to the outside eye, like a nervous tic — just restlessness, even. Who would even want to go hiking around here in this kinda weather, anyways? Maybe a dumbass, that’s who. My voice echoed throughout the cavern that was out loud? It’s not like anyone would hear you, either way, as faint whispers joined my hushed grievances. They echoed throughout the cavern: my mother, “I’m glad you told me this time around, solo trips can be dangerous, my brother, “look at yourself, putting yourself, us in danger.” I could feel a lump building up in my throat. Dread and guilt seem to be pretty weighted. Atlas, holding up the emotions.

“Am I just going to die here?”

This felt like the age old-question, a constantly asked one. When it’s just you, and only you and your thoughts, though, it becomes the omnipresent dictator of your own self. What could I have done better? Maybe not lose your map, for starters…but it’s a little late for that. Musing over bad decisions should be the last thing on my mind.

With that, I shook my flashlight. It already looked a little brighter —already a positive!—but? but nothing.

“That’s a start.”

My saliva tasted bitter. Being alone is just so consuming. I can’t imagine an otherwise, befriend a Wilson, it’s just too overwhelming. Hold up, consuming?

“Speaking of consuming, that’s a necessary thing. Hoooooly crap.”

The icy floor might be the only thing keeping my senses sharp right now, but crap. The zipper on my backpack slides easily, like figure skates on an ice rink no freezing right now, thank you! and I have enough for, at most? a few days, I hope.

A few days ago, I’d hoped I could go hiking solo, complete a trip and just have time to myself so I brought it on myself, I deserve everything. Maybe just end it. Yet, to me, a hypothetical headline motivates me more than I ever could myself. Maybe I can just survive here, on like ice particles. Adapt, or something. Even if it’s stupid, I can despair. Rather than do that, though, I rolled out my sleeping bag. That’s something. At least my dreams can take me away, anywhere.

Why did I not die? Mountains of ice surround me everywhere. It’s just a slow, bitter end. This is a dream, right? What could I ever hope to get out of dying cold and alone, for the sake of something,

losing,

 

 

lost?

 

Review:

I wanted to write a short vignette on some of the emotions solitude can bring up. In this instance, I focused on a small excerpt of an “explorer’s” perspective on being alone once they found themselves lost and alone, without any guidance or semblance of normalcy. In Frankenstein, I feel like the impact of loneliness isn’t touched upon as much as it could have been, especially with Frankenstein and his creation. Not only this, but when there is a focus on isolation, other emotions that go along with it that Shelley focuses on are usually things like vengeance or suffering, but to me, some isolation can be interpreted as self-loathing, or having a negative psychological impact from looking inward

While I couldn’t touch upon a lot of emotions that come up with loneliness, or go into as much creative depth as I would’ve like to, I had wanted to create a mixture between a short story and an almost spoken word or inner-thoughts/turmoil type of piece. It felt very disjointed writing it, and echoed a lot of overwhelmed, yet somehow resigned emotions one could feel in isolation. Due to its varied impact, I wanted to include a basic sense of how almost immobilizing it could be, similar in my mind to physically freezing up, or getting lost in thought. Sometimes with a lot of isolation, fantasy could even be the better-suited and maybe even the other option in regards to facing the crippling sensations along with loneliness head on. I took one quote specifically from Frankenstein, with Victor Frankenstein himself questioning “Why did I not die?” on page 153 after discovering Clerval’s death. This type of loss, and subsequent isolation brings up a lot of emotions that stem from becoming isolated — why suffering is unable to end for some is intriguing, and to me worth expanding on and looking further into, especially as we become further isolated from others with ever-growing distractions and obligations.

Samantha Shapiro

What did I do to people for them to look at me this way?

It’s 2018 and people still victimize me to this day

They look at me with disgust and as different

Even my own mother looks at me like this

 

You see, I am woman but was once a man

I always knew I was Catwoman and not Batman

But even I was frightened by the thought of this

And once I said it out loud, it terrified everyone else

 

The first person I told was my mother

She was not happy, she got angry and yelled slur

I was kicked out of my home and shunned

When we crossed paths, not a word would be said

 

I get stared at, pointed at and laughed at

What is it? Is there something on me? Is it a rat?

Parents see me, grab their children and walk faster

I wish they would not judge me, I am actually friendly

 

My mother also gets taunted for having a daughter like me

Or should I say “son”? Since that is what I’m supposed to be

She can’t handle all the humiliation and decides to hang

I killed my mother because of who I truly am

 

I have lost a lot of family and friends

Hopefully someday we can all make amends

But for now, I am all on my own

And once they all find out, they all go running

 

I have finally completed the process of transition

For many, though, I look like a failed mutation

Monster, tranny, he-she, and he

Are things I get called almost every day

 

I am human––NO I am a woman

But I am not sure anymore if I can handle this oppression

People are just not accustomed to people like me

However, even the small words hurt

 

Life would just be better if I would just disappear

Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong here

I am an outcast, I am weird because of who I truly am

And now I am ashamed of that, I am ashamed of myself

 

“Ew you nasty tranny, go use the men’s restroom”

Someone in the women’s restroom says, I began to fume

No words come out so I run out, tears running down my cheeks

Why are people so mean and so rude? Words hurt

 

“I can’t do this anymore,” I say to myself over and over

I run to my car and speed home in my Range Rover

Knocking down everything that is in my way, I run to my room

And I open the drawer to my nightstand, there it is

 

Who knew that I would cause so many problems?

I didn’t think it would get to this point, wish this didn’t have to be the outcome

There it was staring back at me, it is the only way out

I know this will make all my troubles go away

 

I grab the cold heavy metal object up to my skull

To everyone who has been cruel, this is for you, hope you are cheerful

All of this pain and suffering because of who I truly am

Hopefully this time my mother welcomes me with open arms.  Continue reading

by Isaac Gallegos Rodriguez

20181205_020836(1)

“Las Llamas Que Torturan”

Our visage, emaciated

Hollow, a husk, an empty shell

Synthesized – production of our infernal hell

Our humanitarian claims rejected

Our intrinsic values, always contested

Detested, I feel detested

Who am I? A hijacked narrative

Corrupted, misconstrued

It was politically imperative

Lock the gates, erect the border, deny the refugee their refuge

Project onto me your perspective, I am an empty vessel

Deprive me of my dream, a dream of warmth and love

a place for my weary, burdened, soul to nestle

I live the life of a “criminal” but like a human, I dream

please do not take that away too,

fresh is my wound’s suture and seam.

I stole the torch from Lady Liberty, to light the way

I have offended thee? You have made me lose my way!

Shoot me in the head, and throw me away –

maybe in the afterlife, all borders are frayed.

Explanation:

“I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames”- The Creature (Shelley, 189)

My creative writing took the form of a poem because I wished to challenge my creative capabilities. My poem, which I titled Las Llamas Que Torturan (The Flames That Torture), is focused on the quoted text, and the ending of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, while also attempting to incorporate themes of our contemporary society and the ongoing struggles of immigrants. As a Mexican-American, I have experienced secondhand how our current political ideologies influence our nation’s tolerance over minorities and ethnic groups, and I attempted to project this ethnic study perspective, as well as utilizing Anzaldua’s race perspective.

The poem initiates in an ambiguous and nonspecific way, and this is visibly seen by the lack of a realized narrator (until the 7th line, and yet we still aren’t given a name). In fact, a narrator is never introduced in this text, because of the fact that I intentionally tried to minimize the presence of a speaker. This is a greater attempt to replicate the Creature’s validity in the civilized world (or lack thereof). However, instead of the Creature being in my poem, it is the Latino immigrants. This effect of ambiguity creates a sense of solidarity, through a collective experience of struggles in the United States. And with specifically chosen words (e.g., emaciated, contested, detested, etc.) I also mimic the tone of the Creature (as he describes himself in the novel). Overall, my poem is an adapted version of the Creature’s identity throughout the novel, and through this specific action I apply the Frankenstein myth into our modern times, and onto the struggles of Latino immigrants. The greater effect that may be achieved, through this poem, is a specific social criticism/commentary on the volatile immigrant policies, issued by our current presidency, that actively target our immigrant communities. Furthermore, I created the art piece above to represent the struggles, through a more visual medium. The image depicts a despondent-looking female, on fire. She represents the Latino immigrant. Furthermore, with the use of the color blue, it represents the Latino community’s internal representations of themselves: they are wretched (much like the Creature) because of how the United States projects inaccurate and discriminatory narratives/perspectives onto them. These may be misconceptions, however, even abstract things like ideas have negative implications. The fire engulfing the woman can attempt to further imitate the Creature and their “funeral pile”, yet in this situation, we as a people do not “ascend our funeral pile triumphantly” — we are subjected to it involuntarily. We do not want our identities to be ‘killed’ with misconceptions and politically-motivated attacks on our genuine narratives of struggle, but the sociopolitical institutions that surround us do — and as a people, we have to continue to claim our rights and validate our existence, because unlike the Creature, we are not alone. And this small difference is monstrous in importance.

 

 

 

Below are five very short stories, or drabbles, gathered together in a collection. We chose to explore different ideas in each of them through the characters of Frankenstein. In the spirit of fanfiction authors: we don’t own Frankenstein or the characters. Comments are always welcome and encouraged. They feed our muses! Without further ado please enjoy the first 2k18 Frankenstein Drabble Compilation!

By Diana Lara and Maria Nguyen-Cruz

Diana 1: The Dream Wedding

Elizabeth had always dreamed of the perfect wedding. Her dress would be a beautiful tulle and lace affair in the most crisp of whites accompanied by a beautiful bouquet of white carnations, red roses, and ivy.

The entire wedding would be gorgeous. It was the sort of event she envisioned would be the talk of the town when the initial save-the-dates were hand delivered. It was to be the best day of her life and she had planned for it far in advance. She wanted it to be perfection.

That being said her actual wedding was nothing like her dream wedding. Victor Frankenstein was a very selfish man and his family wealth and intellect could only mask that so much. Elizabeth had discovered that early on in their relationship and had come to terms with it over time.

Her new reality being that Victor Frankenstein was her endgame partner and the one who would surely be the father of her children one day. So instead she had to make do with him and make the best of the situation. Victor refusing to let poor Adam sit anywhere but right next to the toilets was a clear indication of his regard for the other man.

Victor announcing to everyone that Elizabeth would be taking his name publicly, when they had previously discussed that she planned to hyphenate, was in poor taste.

Victor spending more and more time with Henry the further Elizabeth delved into wedding plans with Justine and Caroline was frustrating but understandable in the end. So many of her plans had changed. Even her wedding bouquet now consisted of cyclamens, with striped carnations, and white petunias.

Victor’s faults could not surely be ignored but Elizabeth would be in the wrong to deny that he wasn’t also someone with virtues. After all growing up together had taught him how to be a proper educator and had taught her that there was nothing wrong with being a perpetual student.

Elizabeth loved Victor so even if the wedding wasn’t perfect and someone was clearly sabotaging them to keep them from marrying she would be satisfied. She would convince herself of it, she knew she could.

It was however incredibly hard to deny someone was clearly intent on ruining her special day.

“What do you mean your dress is ruined?” They couldn’t afford this right now! Adam, bless him, had been around to try to help and get Justine and her destroyed dress to a nearby seamstress to try to salvage it.

“I’ll just go with Adam and we’ll figure this out Elizabeth! Your wedding isn’t ruined yet. I promise!” Justine swore as she rushed out the doors with Adam and a garment bag.

Elizabeth sighed loudly and practically threw herself down on the bed of the hotel suite they’d reserved for her wedding preparations.

She loved Victor Frankenstein. She loved Victor Frankenstein. She loved Victor Frankenstein…

This was by far not the wedding she had expected. She sincerely hoped her post-wedding plans weren’t about to be ruined or she’d just die of frustration.

Diana 2: A Response to an Engineer Off the Rails

Margaret Saville née Walton had been an English major back in her university days. The saving grace of her brother Robert because the man was a lot of things but a good writer wasn’t one of them. He’d known it too.

During their university days it wasn’t uncommon to receive the odd writing assignment in her email. That was back then however when he’d been forced to take classes in subjects that did not interest him. They were past that now. They were adults with jobs in their respective fields.

So why was Robert emailing her a manuscript at 2:30 am? Which from the looks of it and the quick skim read she had done of it was nothing more than another retelling of the same clichéd horror and sci-fi thriller tropes.

Robert,

There are a few things I have to say but I just want to start off by saying what the fuck? I thought you were starting to work on that whole magnetism idea of yours? I know funding isn’t always as easy to come by for engineering products that aren’t for profit. Did you not get the funding for it? What happened? You’re now rewriting Frankenstein? I won’t lie to you this is bordering on plagiarism. You haven’t been very original have you?

Please tell me if something is wrong I’ll be more than willing to help you out.

Anyway the actual text itself: I found it to be very trite. Viktor’s android creation is out of his control and running rampant slaughtering symbolic characters. Judith Law isn’t a very subtle name brother. Despite bringing the old tropes into a modern setting and relating them to technological advances in science I fail to see anything truly new being offered by this modern rendition. It’s good but it’s been done before.

How many Terminator movies do we have? It’s that kind of logic that you’re playing with and I’m not very enthralled by it. If this manuscript was submitted to me at the company I would probably not publish it unless extensive revisions were done on the part of the author. It just lacks a selling point.

I’m sorry to tell you this but you have to do more than just tell me what I already know. You need to actually try.

See you at Christmas.

With Love,

Margaret Saville

Diana 3: Felix Before the Fall

As the only son there were things expected from Felix. Expectations that ranged from his profession to his eventual future wife. Inevitably one day he would be expected to continue his family’s legacy. They were a household name, albeit one of the lesser well-known ones, but a household name none the less.

Agatha had it far easier. For her part she simply had to have excellent manners and essentially hold court with her friends and admirers. Oh how lucky his younger sister was for having fewer expectations to meet. Sometimes he certainly wished he could trade places with Agatha.

Attending to all his related duties and engagements had eventually led to his path crossing with hers. She was gorgeous. The sort of woman he couldn’t help but have his eyes drawn to and he was struck with a desire to know her. To understand her.

It was an entirely foolish desire on his part because he could surely lose the family fortune. Ruin the family name if he wasn’t careful and that was something his father would surely have an opinion on.

“You’re in love with her?” Agatha asked as they strolled through the garden arm in arm.

“Well…maybe not quite yet but I feel like I could fall in love with her.” He responded all while looking away from his sister’s perceptive gaze.

“Right…Have you ever actually spoken to her though? You’ve only seen her because her father conducts business with some of our business associates. Maybe actually talk to her before you do something rash. Just a suggestion.” Agatha advised and Felix wanted to scoff at the suggestion.

Did she really think him so rash and irrational? Granted he had barged into her room to tell her he might be in love so perhaps she wasn’t quite wrong…

“I’ll try to speak to her the next time I see her. I just…I don’t know every time I’ve seen her I’ve become enveloped by this desire to almost protect her? She doesn’t seem like she always enjoys being in the presence of her father? Maybe I can do something about that. Give her an escape?”

Agatha sighed and looked away from her brother at that. It was a sigh teeming with a sort of quiet resignation that came from hearing something over and over again.

“Before you assume you’re some sort of savior for this woman, you should talk to her and ask her how she feels about her life. No matter how you see her situation it doesn’t necessarily mean it is as you see it. She might see it differently. It’s her life not yours. Speak to her first Felix.”

“I will.”

“If and only if she confirms your suspicions, then you can serve as some form of aid to escape. Don’t pretend to understand what we women go through and label it some sort of oppression without asking us first. So again speak to her first Felix before declaring you’re in love and her hero. That’s my advice.”

Review Pt. 1: Maria’s Review:

Fanfiction is very dependent on community engagement. The ways in which the work evolves and quality is ensured, is through the audiences comments and interactions with it. So, Diana and I have decided to write reflections on each other’s pieces in the spirit of fan fiction.

To begin, both of Diana’s stories take place in different versions of the Frankenstein canon; where in which Elizabeth, Felix, and Margaret are characters with more development. I don’t mean that in a manner that is disrespectful to Shelley and her writing, I just believe that Diana was exploring different ways that these characters work. How does one alter the work that has already been done, without losing the essence of a character that has already been established? You have to be creative and use the resources that are available to you. Whether it is an encyclopedic knowledge of birds or bread, you can integrate your personal touch to something that you are already fond of. For instance, Diana decided to use the flower language to display the dramatic change in attitude that Elizabeth goes through about marriage. There is a thoughtfulness that goes into displaying character dynamics, and unfortunately fanfiction doesn’t always have the benefit of a large word count to do so. Using the visual metaphors of flowers you are essentially relying on your readers to find the associations with them and close read for the deeper meaning. The original text develops the creature extensively and Diana Lara develops Elizabeth, Felix, and Margaret in a variety of forms. For instance for Margaret’s rework, Diana uses an email format in which to imagine Margaret’s reaction to her brothers retelling of the story. It provides an immediate response, there’s no need for a bunch of fancy prose.

This exercise was liberating for those of us who have gotten used to just writing essays. I know that for Diana and I, it was nice to revisit a method of collaboration and publication that we frequented in the past.

Maria 1: “‍The seductive nature of the sea”

Second Mate Angel Himshire’s Log

Twentieth day at sea.

Mood: Sober

I was told that this journey would assist in the betterment of society, but after a long conversation with the captain of the vessel, I realized why the rest of the crew doesn’t speak with him.

I was making my way back to my quarters when I ran into him, we exchanged greetings and (because I smiled at him, I think) he invited me to his cabin for a drink. He was handsome and I was already two drinks in so I agreed. He led me to his room, and after situating myself onto his bed, he planted himself onto his office chair. Then, he swiveled to face his desk and began to rummage through one of the cabinets before finally producing a bottle of wine.

We drank in silence for about half an hour. It was so awkward, I had no idea what to talk about with him. After he started to pour me another glass, I had garnered enough courage to speak to him.

“So,” I began, taking the glass he shoved in my direction, “Captain-“No please,” he interrupted, holding a hand up in the air, “Call me Robert.”

He had poured his wine into a canteen and as my heart skipped a beat my eyebrow raised. This is not cute behavior.

“So,” I eyed him warily unsure if I was going to be interrupted again, “I’ve noticed that there aren’t any women aboard the ship, are you traveling this vast ocean for a woman?”

Listen, the answer I was hoping for was something along the lines of, “I prefer the company of men and angels. You are one such heavenly creature.” But the answer I received was so odd, so jarring that the only reason I listened to him was because I had not the clarity to navigate myself back to my chamber.

“The ocean is a slut.” Robert hissed, his stare was so sharp that I was pierced with shock. I was paralyzed with confusion, so I didn’t respond, and he continued.

“We can’t trust women the same way we cannot trust the ocean. You know what? Because I said that, for just one moment think of the ocean as a woman. For one, there is no disputing that she’s beautiful, because everyone who encounters her usually speaks of her favorably. These people are fools. Her beauty is conditional; she changes briskly and frequently, one minute she’s as tranquil as the moon in the sky, and the next she’s at your throat for simply approaching her and her appearance is as haggard as the tone in her voice.” He took a long sip from the canteen he has been fiddling with since the conversation began.

“Raspy and unbearably loud!” Robert cried, “ She’s fickle and it seems as if she doesn’t know what she wants! But she does. She wants you. Every night she lifts her fists in anger against the cliff sides upon which you are housed. While her friend the wind sides with her and together they express their combined discontent. The earth may side with you, and is determined to protect you, but we as men have disrespected his protection- we have not sided with him! The ocean, the dirty whore, the salacious villain, is covered with our sea men. We throw ourselves at her, because she is wet and eager to take us in. She wants to engulf our length, our legacy, and we foolishly think it is safe to enter her depths. The deeper we get, the more foreign and dangerous she becomes. There is more of her than there is of us, boy!” Robert slammed his canteen onto his desk before he continued.

“As we pollute her with our filth, she wants more, so much more that she thrashes and fits as a mean to trap us within her bosom. And her friend, the vile wind, assists her once again! Oh the wind! Screeching, making it nearly impossible for some to travel, ripping off our clothes and taking our caps with her!”

He slammed the hat he was wearing onto the floor.

“This, boy, is why we make the journey towards a land with warmth, where we will be embraced by a virgin land- our last hope for survival. Women are liars and sluts, like their sister the sea, and we men are the stable and reasonable earth.”

Somehow, he tired himself out from hearing his own voice too much. He dismissed me and I ran towards my room at breakneck speed. Suffice it to say, I will never speak to him again. Perhaps he will find someone stranger than he is to connect with, and I’ll find a sane man to provide me a bit of entertainment on this vessel.

Maria 2: In which Justine is in detention.

Justine wasn’t supposed to be in detention.

She’s the most boring girl in the world; she can’t go to bed without flossing and brushing her teeth, she organizes her books by the year they were published, she has a color coded underwear drawer. Justine has straight A’s, thinks khaki can be scandalous, and loves Jesus. She would never dare think of stepping a 600 B.C sandal clad toe out of line.

So why was she in detention? Because they found a picture of the bullied boy in her jean skirt? How is that enough for the school administration to sentence her to detention and consider expulsion?

Justine has been grinding her teeth for the past thirty minutes and has been praying to god for help. Her parents are dead, so it’s not like they could bail her out. She doesn’t really have friends, and Elizabeth has been in questioning for hours now.

She’s alone.

She wasn’t before, when she could just talk to Elizabeth and hold her hand to feel better. Justine could look at soft and beautiful Elizabeth and feel at peace, in fact her behavior is so dramatically different that her posture relaxes as soon as Justine thinks of the blonde’s smile.

Even the thought of her is comforting.

So, Justine thinks about how she spends every waking moment next to Elizabeth. She starts thinking of a future where Elizabeth becomes the doctor she’s always wanted to be and Justine is her housewife who teaches bible study on the weekends- wait.

Housewife?

They would have to be married for that, and hers? Why would Justine consider herself Elizabeth’s?

Then it was as if god had sent an angel to speak truth to her, a voice clear as day said to Justine, “Because you’re gay, dumbass.”

But how could this be?

Then the voice spoke again, “Because you’re madly in love with your best friend, dumb ass. Go tell her.”

Oh. Well, love is love, and now she knows what she has to do. Everyone thinks that she’s the good girl gone bad, so why doesn’t she just say heck it and get what she wants for once?

This jail-bird is breaking free.

Justine raises her hand, “Mr. Law? Can I go to the restroom, it’s a feminine emergency.” She tried to look mysterious and pained at the same time, instead she just looked like she needed to fart.

The teacher, Mr. Law, could not care less. So she goes, she leaves, she runs to the parking lot and finds Elizabeth begging her friend Victor to help Justine get out of school.

Justine, filled with newfound strength, approaches Elizabeth, grabs her by the shoulders and says:

“I broke out of detention!” Elizabeth was shocked and gasped as Victor started to back away from the pair , “I did it because the lord told me to tell you that I am in love with you. I always have been. Can we start seeing each other, romantically, even if I get expelled?”

Elizabeth, stunned and overwhelmed with joy, pulls back her slightly curled hair over her shoulder and says, “Yes!”

Review Pt.2: Diana’s Review

As Maria said in her half of the review: fanfiction relies heavily on community. It is medium through which fans can argue and defend their views on beloved characters in a creative way. It is a way to provide prospective writers with inspiration and support as they endeavor to write the sort of material that fellow fans want to see of their favorite characters. Once a creator has set aside their pen for the final time, it is assumed that the characters stories also cease to exist beyond the room in which they were created. Fanfiction serves as way to free the characters from this initial room and into the rest of the house to explore.So my review is on Maria’s two pieces. Maria does this with her two pieces because not only does she pull Justine and Elizabeth into a modern setting but she also builds upon their original characters and adds a touch of her own interpretations of the characters. She grapples with the topic of the inner struggles many young adults can relate to and in a few short sentences is able to essentially provide a positive message that reassures that they can consolidate these different sides of themselves without having to compromise either. As for Walton’s rant on the ocean, here we see a different topic being explored with different characters and through the ideas of an original character. Once more by taking the beloved original characters and transporting them from their initial room to a different one in the house we are able to tell a fresh story. This fresh story that compares the ocean to a fickle woman through the eyes of the ship’s second mate. One aspect that I particularly enjoy is the choice to compare to the ocean to a woman but the earth to a man because both are forces of nature. Nature almost always is attributed female qualities and so is the earth but with this piece these general conclusions are not quite applicable. Now the ocean is the female figure and the earth is the male one. The struggle between the two speaks on more than just the physical but also on the dynamic that exists between men and women in practically any situation.

I enjoyed working on this assignment because it allowed me a certain kind of creative license that essays do not give me the opportunity to indulge in. I also enjoyed the collaborative aspect of the project because as we worked on these short pieces Maria and I discussed the characters and our visions of them. It is interesting to see how we both agreed on the characters and yet still present them differently because of our different narrative voices and writing styles.

Composition:

During the first three days of my stay at Merced, which I spent acclimating myself to the new environment, and allowing myself to meet new people. I followed up by asking people for suggestions on where to head for entertainment. As the week commenced I realized that my professor H. Gonzalez had given me information dealing with the way I established myself during his class. This angered me and influenced me to think that he was just a stupid and conceited man who’s only desire was to have an immense amount of attention. As I stood in my room recollecting my thoughts dealing with this issue I gather the will to go to his class and respectfully learn from what he had to stay despite his narcissistic characteristics getting in the way of his teaching.

Partly thinking about what could go wrong as soon as I stepped inside that mans lecture hall, I went into the hall and sat down in one of the many empty rows. As soon as I took my laptop out of my backpack I realized that H. Gonzalez came into the room. He seemed to be around forty-five years old, however, he was not wearing clothes you would expect from a professor of his age. He wore a regular t-shirt from a modern era musician with a pair of plaid shorts and a pair of faded black vans with short socks. He definitely was not what I was expecting from my calculus teacher. He was tall but very thin, under his eyes were bags from the lack of sleep that I assumed he had been experiencing for the past few days. His voice was very rough and aggressive which made me feel even worse about him. He began his lecture by a speaking about the history of mathematics as well as the many breakthroughs that have come through the use of mathematics, demonstrating every single improvement that has been made through mathematics as well. He then continued by describing the influence that science has in math mathematical achievements. After finishing his simple introduction he proceeded to criticize individuals that believed in the way former mathematicians operated, calling himself the best mathematician to live.  

As he continued to lecture about the significance of mathematics he began to demonstrate what mathematics is in the real world. Describing mathematics as a subject that requires and demands a lot from students as well as the professors such as himself. “Mathematics as a subject requires wisdom, judgment, and maturity. Meaning that if you do not give mathematics your full attention you will not be able to accomplish what you need.” He continued by explaining how the ability to acquire and master each of the requirements when dealing with math to able to find what you are attempting to find. He continued by saying “In here, in this very room are many mathematicians far better endowed than I am with these qualities, including several in this audience.” With this I found out how much I enjoyed mathematics and what it really meant to me from a different perspective, I felt the urge to go accomplish the many things I have always wanted to do.

Review:

The passage above demonstrates how Victor describes his intentions that he has for science in the novel, this is seen on page 52 when M. Waldman is lecturing about modern scientists. M Waldman describes the goals of these scientists as tame goals compared to that of the ancient alchemists. However, to Victor, this is very staggering because in his perspective he believes that these scientists are unbarring secrets of existence. Victor later understands his desire to continue to understand science after M. Waldman is done lecturing. As seen in the parody of this scene above it is a similar concept. The voice in the parody explains the love that it has for mathematics, however, in this passage, the opposite can be seen because the voice of the parody never fully describes a good relationship between themselves and the professor. The manner that contemporary features are added is through the use of modern-day social construct. The professor in the parody is wearing clothes that would be seen on someone in this day in age. Also, the way that the professor acts allows the reader to understand that perhaps his characteristics can relate to many characteristics that real people share in the modern era. As simple as the voice in the passage saying that the professor is conceited and narcissistic, it can be determined that perhaps you have come into an encounter with someone who shares these characteristics. Finally, when the voice in the parody describes the intentions it has to do with mathematics it can be seen as a call back towards Victor because after he learned all about science he believed that he was ready to accomplish many things, despite his eager characteristics overpowering him he decides to carry on with his intentions of manipulating nature to create in his own vision, which eventually becomes his demise.

– Daniel Olmos

December 30th, 2018

Dear Friend,

My first month of life was…confusing, I had woken up one night, completely bewildered and unsure. I couldn’t speak or make sense of anything, I was frightened, and I wasn’t sure where I was. I remember seeing movement out of the corner of my eye and I began to mumble try and get their attention, but when I truly saw them, all I could see was the face of a frightened individual who ran as soon as they saw me. This was the beginning of my heartache. The man—what I later came to realize was my father—the one who had created me, and he had ran from me, his son. I remember trying to follow him, but I just wasn’t sure how things worked. He lived in a very expensive and high tech house, so I became distracted with the many things in the house as I tried to find him. However, once I found him, I tried to speak to him but he just became frightened once again and looked at me with disgust and repulsion before fleeing down the stairs and out into the garden. That was the last of him I saw for a long time.

-M.

January 14th, 2018

Dear Friend,

I’ve been roaming the streets for quite a while now, I don’t have anywhere to go, no money or food. But I’ve picked up a few phrases here and there from people I hear, trying to sound out words that I seem to recall from a past life, I’m extremely intelligent you see. I’ve become friends this an old man who runs a small shop on the corner of R and Michigan Streets, he gives me candy when his son isn’t around. His son—Felix doesn’t like me hanging around, he says it’s bad for business, but I don’t care the old man is my friend. I often wonder how my father is, does he miss me? Does he ever think about me?

-M.

February 20th 2018

Dear Friend,

I saw my father, he seemed happy, but seeing him filled me with rage and an irresistible anger that I just had to let out. It led me to do something insane, and I am just a bit reluctant to share that what I did I enjoyed very much.

-M.

March 26th, 2018

Dear Friend,

I have found my father again, I have forced him to do something for me and luckily this maybe the last time I see him…this may also be the last time I write for you. Please know that I tried to be the best I could…I just wasn’t strong enough.

-M.

June 3rd, 2018

Dear Friend,

Apologies for the disappearance, I’ve been quite busy. But A friend recently told me I should tell my story of how I came to be. Of how I was created, and what my first few months of life were like. They said I should publish these letters it in a more public setting, like Twitter or Facebook, but these are secrets I have guarded for a long time, so I think a blog post would be best fit. Instead of a few characters on Twitter. If you read my story, thank you, you would be the first to willingly care to learn about me.                                                                                                                                           -M.

Review:

I chose to write diary/journal entries because I wanted to see what it would be like to write from the perspective of a modern monster and his experiences since he woke up. Obviously, I couldn’t fit all the important events, but I listed a few that seemed like major ones. I wanted it to seem like he was writing them as they were happening but unfortunately that would have been impossible because the monster didn’t know how to write or comprehend words. Therefore he writes them from the future as if he were in the past. I also tried to make it a bit more teenager-like as if a child were writing the stories rather than an adult. I also left it at a very abrupt ending because I wanted to show how realistically it would be if someone who just started writing and reading would be like writing in a diary. They would forget to write in the journal therefore missing a few pages and events, as well as writing in very incomplete thoughts.

If this were to be properly published as the speaker wishes, it would have been published on a private blog, I chose the blog site because I felt that even though Twitter and Facebook are very modern and very much the place where people share their stories, a blog would have been more personal to the creature because after all this is his life story which is very personal to him. And if he were to just post it on Twitter it would perhaps just be not as intimate as he would want it to be. Through his blog, the monster wants the readers to truly understand his motives, and reasons why he did what he did and to understand that this isn’t just some fictional story, it is his life. In a way he wants people to connect over his story as he did not have that connection with people for a very long time whilst he was experiencing the events he writes about.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

 

Christopher Martinez

Narrative:

Once, there was an ambitious scientist whose name was Darwin Frankenstein. Darwin was a very ambitious person and always sought to explore the unknown. His intentions as a scientist was to find out the truth of everything that had a life. In other words, he wanted to recreate life itself. Some would say Darwin Frankenstein is the modern Prometheus, while others may call him idiotic for trying to challenge the creator of his existence – god.  Darwin attended a very prestigious university that focused on the sciences, however, Darwin also learned about the philosophical thoughts created about humans itself. Darwin would hate any other class that had nothing to do with his passion. Using his brilliant mindset, he wanted to create a ‘thing’ with life and emotion. Darwin wanted a companion with consciousness.

When Darwin graduated from his university he had a goal that had to be fulfilled before the day of his death. Darwin wanted the power of life in his hand. One stormy night while walking back home from a small distraction break, Darwin saw something crying its soul out through the corner of his eye. Darwin saw the shadow of death take away the soul of a tender young black dog. As soon as Darwin saw this, he grabbed the dog and rushed straight to his house. Darwin ran with excitement, his dopamine levels were out of control. It was as if Darwin entered a state of euphoria as he finally knew what he was going to experiment on. When Darwin got home he placed the dog on his table and began the procedure. He took out the dogs brain and replaced it with a humans brain that he stole from a nearby hospital. He shaved the dog’s hair and switched it to something very odd. Darwin then stitched up the young dog as he was getting mentally ready for the moment. As the lighting reflected Darwin’s face, he flipped the electric switch that would change the meaning of life. “IT ALIVE!” said Darwin.

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Darwin looked at the dog with happiness all written all over him. “ Those blue eyes, the white fur, the perfect paws. What a beautiful dog.” Darwin looked at the dog as something to praise. He felt the power of the highest power on his hands. The dog began to run around like a lost person in the wilderness, but once the dog stopped he looked at Darwin and growled. Darwin ran away into his other room, however, when he came back to take a peek into his home laboratory, the dog disappeared.

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Darwin had looked everywhere and the fear spread through his veins. Darwin was starting to go insane. He didn’t even take a glance to reflect what he had done. If only he knew that the dog died from abuse and the dogs wish was to go into his paradise. The dog was rather happy dying. On the other hand, the human brain that Darwin had captured was a brain that would’ve saved a human’s life. The person who needed the brain had been waiting for years and years. If only Darwin took the time to realize what he was doing.

 

Review:

Dear Christopher Martinez,

I want to start off by saying that I really enjoyed your replication of Frankenstein and adapting it to the 21st century. I think that the story really showed Darwin real side in the original Frankenstein. Everything felt right and the sense of originality and creativity is shown. Throughout the story, Darwin is shown as a person who is very ambitious and wants to make something that has never been made before. He wants to have the hands of god and use it to his own benefit. Throughout this short replication of Frankenstein, Darwin is shown as a person who is fully dedicated to his mission. He goes to college for his own benefit and doesn’t really care about anything else that he learns. He ignores the real world just to have the same power as a creator! I also see a connection between the definition of beauty in the original Frankenstein and your story. Frankenstein’s ideology in beauty is that the European looks (white, blue eyes, and clear skin) are better looking than others. The use of the dog’s fur shows how Darwin wants only “beautiful and perfect” looks for his creation

Originality is shown in the story in a very unique way. The way the story is formatted gave me the chills. For example, you used similes to give any reader an image of what they are exactly reading. In your version of the story, I learned about Darwin obtaining a dog and getting a human’s brain. I read a bit of context on these two subjects, however, at the end of your story you come back to these and explain the meaning of these two important parts of the story. I found out how the dog actually died and what the brain was being used for. I am interpreting that you wanted readers to feel like Darwin. Darwin is shown a person who doesn’t give much thought to his actions and likewise, I felt that way as well. I read about these two things with little to no context and I didn’t pause to think what these two objects in the story truly signified about Darwin’s personality.

From,

A Bobcat

 

By Mahealani LaRosa

Narrative:

The sun settled over the mountains in purple streaks. The snow-covered jagged tops were a broken canvas that the sun painted its fiery gaze upon. Elizabeth’s face was glowing orange; her skin was shining and her eyes slowly blinked. Victor believed she was thinking that their wedding could not have gone more splendidly. He could hear his voice in the back of his mind. Troy. Whispering thoughts into his brain, delicate hands and his mouth on his ear. He couldn’t think of that now, so he shook his head and wrapped his arms around Elizabeth. She smiled up at him, her hair grazing his chin. Troy. Victor could not get him out of his head. He had abandoned him. Where was he? Was he angry?

“What are you thinking about?”

Elizabeth’s voice broke through the increasingly overwhelming thoughts.

“I’m lucky to have such a radiant, delightful wife.”

She laughed lightly at his quick excuse and stood up.

“Want to go for a walk?”

Her breath was visible in the cold air and her fingertips were becoming pink. He took her hand and pulled himself up.

“Where do you want to go?”

The wind rustled the nearby trees and it reminded Victor of his camping trip with Troy. He remembered how delicately Troy handled the flowers he picked and the way his voice made everything around them feel still. But feeling the way he felt about Troy was wrong. People looked at them strangely, wondering if they were more than colleagues. The coldness of isolation came back to him for a moment, and Victor felt the fear rising in his throat. He hadn’t realized that they had already begun walking, Elizabeth leading him by the hand towards the dark looming trees. They looked like broken skeletons against the fading sky. The path they followed was covered in soft pine needles that made the ground feel like they were floating. When they finally reached the door of the house, she turned and kissed him lightly, standing one step above him on the stairs.

Elizabeth was so delicate he felt like he could break her. She always avoided the conversations about Victor’s work, and the long months he spent away from her working with Troy. She liked to pretend that Troy didn’t exist, but they both knew he did. Now that Victor was away from Troy, he knew it all too well.

Elizabeth opened the door and walked down the wooden hallway. It was eerily silent in the house, and he could hear the crickets and the grass fade away as he stepped inside and the door creaked closed. Elizabeth called from upstairs.

“Victor, I’ll be ready in a moment. Come up in a few minutes for a surprise.”

He knew without a doubt that when he went upstairs she would be wearing the rose-colored lace slip and laying in the center of the bed, sinking into the comforter. She will have lit candles and her feet will be curled like a ballerinas toes. He wants to kiss her. He wants to love her. He pictures her breasts and only wants to study them. Nothing stirs inside him.

Victor sat down on the mauve couch and leaned back, letting his muscles relax. He closed his eyes and his mind drifted to wandering hands and soft lips.

Elizabeth screamed. He almost wanted to ignore it, but he opened his eyes and slowly stood. She screamed again and he heard mild scratches on the ceiling. He shuddered awake and scrambled towards the stairs, slipping on the polished floor. When he finally made it to the room, he found her laying as he predicted. Something was off. Her pale neck was swollen and purple, and tiny drops of blood trickled from her lips. Victor fell, slamming his knees into the ground and clutching her lifeless body. He sobbed.

The window banged open, and the white curtains fluttered inside from the darkness. He whipped his head towards the glass and saw an indiscernible shadow. Suddenly he understood. Troy. He was angry. He ran towards the window but nobody was there. Victors eyes stung and his heart was heavier than it had been before. The balcony was empty. He looked back inside through the doors. Her inanimate body seemed so far away. Nothing seemed worth the effort. He was alone. The ground seemed closer than his dead wife’s body.  The trees were so welcoming, and the sounds of the insects were loud in his ears. He looked back one more time and fell. There was a thud – the bugs stopped humming- and then there was nothing.

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Review:

Dear Mahealani LaRosa,

I greatly appreciated your modern take on Elizabeth’s death scene from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I have often hypothesized that Victor Frankenstein was a homosexual, so I was delighted to see that you subtly brought this idea into your account. I also really appreciated how you made the creature a man who ended up being Victor’s secret lover. You made it much easier for me to understand that in the novel the creature may have been created to become Victor’s perfect male lover. Naming him Troy was also clever because it is  reminiscent of the Trojan War and the idea that Frankenstein was somewhat hiding until the final attack, hiding his true identity from his loved ones but also from himself. It also reminds me that Troy and the Trojan War are still seen as kind of legends. It is not known if they are fictional occurrences or real events, and it will never be known. So in your story, we only know of Troy through Victor’s thoughts and an action he is suggested to have done. We are never given proof of his existence, so he is very aptly named.

The way that Frankenstein acts towards Elizabeth seems more accurate to me as well. He seems less attracted to her, while she dotes on him more often. Your descriptive language almost makes the whole story seem like it is a dream. The way you connect nature and Victor also reminds me of their connection in the novel, but in your adaption, the relationship seems less violent and more calming, but it still has sinister undertones. I also like the fact that Victor is most likely dead. I sympathized with the creature more than I did with Victor in the novel, and I am happy to see that Troy is probably alive while Victor is not. Overall, I thought your writing was poetic and beautiful, and the timelessness of it was amazing as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us readers!

Looking forward to your next release,

An Avid Fan