Tag Archive: art


“Las Llamas Que Torturan”

by Isaac Gallegos Rodriguez

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“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.

 

 

 

Be Open

 

Related image

Christopher Martinez

In the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, there are multiple parts that show the injustices of being different. Jessica states with passion and dignity in her blog post that there should be a, “reclaim the word tranny. For me, it is time to dull the impact these words have when used against us. It is well worth embracing who we are as monsters.” When she says that the word tranny should be changed and interpreted a different way it reminds me of Frankenstein’s experience as a lonely monster – maybe even part of the LGBTQ community like Jessica.

There is multiple parts in the book where the monster shows the willingness to try to be like everyone else, yet also having the idea of self-hate. An example of this can be found in chapter 15 when the monster begins to be eager to learn more about the world he is in and what he is in society. He reads books and discovers many different feelings. He states, “I can hardly describe to you the effect of these books. They produced in me an infinity of new images and feelings, that sometimes raised me to ecstasy, but more frequently sunk me into the lowest djection.” (115) Just like in Jessica’s post there is several mentions of wanting to be themselves, but society doesn’t allow them to. In addition, there is a connection between the monsters hate for the world he lives in and the world a queer or a lesbian lives in. When Stryker mentioned, “On January 5, 1993, a 22-year-old pre-operative transsexual woman from Seattle, Filisa Vistima, wrote in her journal, “I wish I was anatomically ‘normal’ so I could go swimming. . . . But no, I’m a mutant, Frankenstein’s monster,” this made me think of the ideas the monster had himself. The monster said, “Cursed, cursed, cursed! Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed?” (121) This gives evidence that the monster Victor created is no different from people who are homosexual or bisexual. They feel different like the monster in Frankenstein. Now I am not calling anyone a monster, but in fact, I am blaming the community for not allowing beautiful and unique ‘monsters’ into society. Just like Jessica said in her blog, “I can want to kill them with kindness, but their vitriol and hatred might wear down on me faster.” As humans, we aren’t seeing the right picture when interpreting someone. We saw the monster as a man, but is he really? Is the monster wanting to be himself, but the monster is furious about the close mindsets humans have.

A Rise of Action From Nothing

Image result for proletariat frankenstein

Christopher Martinez

In “The ‘Workshop of Filthy Creation’: A Marxist Reading of Frankenstein,” Warden Montag argues that the creature is “not so much the sign of the proletariat as of its unrepresentability.” With all respect to Warden, I would disagree with his statement because Frankenstein does represent the proletariat as a whole. Montag states that “if the modern (proletariat) were allowed to appear, the monster would no longer be a monster, no longer be alone, but part of a ‘Race of Devils” (480). His statement might be true, but the monster serves as the journey and voice of every proletariat as a whole.

I decided to focus on Chapter 20 (pg 145-146). During this part of the book, the monster confronts Victor about his new mate. Victor destroys all the work he has done just to punish the monster. The monsters madness can be shown through the quote, “Slave, I have reasoned with you, but you have proved yourself unworthy of my condescension. Remember that you I have power, you believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you. You are my creator, but I am your master – obey!” (146) Symbolism and tension can also be depicted in this quote because the monster (proletariat) mentions that Victor (the bourgeoisie) is his slave likewise, lower classes in society can overthrow the rich through an action. This gives me a feeling of letting go of chains. Ambiguity is also shown considering we have to decide what the action to change is. The reason I am saying this is because as a proletariat myself reading this book can give me different ideas towards action against aristocratic ideals. Thus, being annoyed and angry at being exploited lead up to the moment where the proletariat stands up for themselves. To add on, Mary Shelley uses a voice that makes me interpret that she threatening the bourgeoisie. Words like ‘I’ are used a lot in this section of the book. Such as in the quote, “I will watch with the wiliness of a snake, that I may sting with its venom. Man, you shall repent of the injuries you inflict” (146). I get that horrific mood when reading this. In other words, I interpret that Mary Shelley is threatening the rich just like the monster is doing against Victor.

Throughout the whole section, there is a motif of rage. Victor made the monster reach up to his tipping point. As a consequence, Victor has to face an inevitable horror at some point. I don’t feel as if anything is missing because clearly the monster represents every single proletariat – unlike what Montag thinks. To make this more clear, throughout the book we see the growth of the monster (such as through education). Once the monster has the knowledge of the mind to act between right and wrong, we see the confrontation. Similarly, as I mentioned before, this can all relate to any low-income student because through knowledge and anticipation we can act upon our own people: the proletariat.

By Isaac Gallegos Rodriguez

Mary Shelley’s gothic novel, “Frankenstein”, and it’s overall impact on our society and it’s culture is extraordinary. This is further supported by the that the majority of us are at least acquainted with the Frankenstein myth. The name “Frankenstein” conjures up images of a mad scientist, pseudoscience, and of course the monster itself. However, it is a significantly different experience reading the novel as opposed to solely relying on the myth.

Frank.The reason for this is that the myth of Frankenstein creates an inaccurate representation of the characters and their moral standings. For example, I had the preconceived notion that Victor Frankenstein was our stories protagonist, while the monster was the antagonist. In simpler words, I had believed that Victor Frankenstein was our story’s “good guy”— it was thought that although he could be described as a reckless character, his ingenuity and his good intentions would’ve been his redeeming factors. However, as we read the novel, Victor Frankenstein’s character wasn’t  improved – it was damaged.  For instance, when Victor undertook the task to reanimate dead matter he said “Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world.” This quote helped illustrate how Victor viewed himself, as a powerful creator, yet he is only a human. As the story progresses, we come to understand that this god complex is Victor’s hamartia. This lapse in moral judgement ultimately created pain and suffering, but at the expense of others— and because of Victor’s god complex and his irresponsible decisions, his image is ultimately damaged.  Consequentially, as we start to depend on the actual novel instead of the Frankenstein myth  and it’s preconceptions, a noticeable change can be seen with the monster’s character. The former myth that we had been prescribed to had dictated that the monster had been the villain of the story; this preconception is greatly challenged as we start to see that the monster is a very complex and relatable character. Throughout the story, the monster becomes less of fiend and more so a victim of prejudice and discrimination. Even the monster recognizes this injustice, saying “I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather a fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed”. The monster has a valid claim to Victor’s affection, however Victor Frankenstein continues to deny him this until the very end.

 

Therefore, after reading Mary Shelley’s novel, “Frankenstein”, our aforementioned preconceptions on the myth of Frankenstein are greatly challenged.  In this case, we see a dramatic shift in character relations and moral standings. The true victim in this tale was the monster, because as Percy Shelley wrote, “his original goodness was gradually turned into the fuel of an inextinguishable misanthropy and revenge”, due to the actions of the tale’s true monster — Victor Frankenstein.

Christopher Martinez

 

 

Before I start this blog I want whoever is reading this to go to Thesaurus.com and find synonyms for the word monster. One of the synonyms is Frankenstein, however he is clearly not a monster in Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein. Whenever I think of Frankenstein all I imagine is a monster that kills and has no soul. I fell for the typical classification of Frankenstein being shown as malevolent. Likewise, the video for my blog is to show others the cliché that the monster is an ugly and a destructive monster.

Throughout the book, Mary Shelley describes the monster as a person who is innocent and is wanting to love someone. From the beginning of chapter eleven, the monster tells Victor Frankenstein his story up to that point. We learn from the monsters stories that he is an intellectual person who seeks knowledge about everything. The monster reads the books that Victor had in his jacket. These romantic books gave the monster a view of the world he lived in. He knew a lot what humans desired in life. The monster also looked for attention, but everyone seemed to be anxious and afraid to have his presence. Since no one wanted his companionship he accepted himself as an outcast.

I can conclude that at this point I am starting to feel as if Frankenstein is every student right now. Every student is curious to try learning new things and use them in the real world, while also seeking attention and friendships. I realized at this point that the real monster this whole time was the fantasy I had learned about the misunderstood monster.

 

In class today students worked in groups of three to draw the landscape scene on pages 92-93 of Frankenstein (see pics below).  Team 3 won the competition because they were better able to represent the way the creature defied Burke’s aesthetic categories of the beautiful, the sublime, and the ugly that are deployed in this literary passage.

Nonetheless, all these pictures are masterpieces in their own right and clearly testify to my students’ imaginative powers!

Team 1

Team 1

 

Team 2

Team 2

 

Team 3

Team 3

This week in class three groups of students collaboratively drew three landscape drawings of vol. 1, chapter 10 of Frankenstein, where Victor and the creature encounter each other for the first time (pp. 92-93).  Drawing #1 won the contest, because of their sublime depiction of mist and the surrounding shadowy mountains.  Nonetheless, drawing #3 did a better job of emphasizing the creature’s sublime obscurity and horror of the unknown.  All the groups struggled to capture the “unearthly ugliness” of the creature, without making him appear comical or too distinct and clear (a quality of beauty).  We concluded that the creature upsets the aesthetic categories of the sublime, the beautiful, and the ugly, as theorized by Edmund Burke.

I’ll be glad to get some comments from those who have any suggestions for how to visualize the creature in this novel.  Of course, film depictions of the creature try to do this, but they have not always been faithful to the novel.

                                                                                                                                                                       group drawing #2:

drawing #2 

                                                                                                                                                           group drawing #3:

208 photo[3]

                                                                                                                                         group drawing #1: (the winning picture)

208 photo[2]

Sympathy in Frankenstein

For next Wednesday (1/30), write a blog post that applies Edmund Burke’s theory of sympathy to ONE particular passage in Frankenstein.  Please take the time to practice your close reading skills.  File your post under the category “Sympathy, Art, and Society” and don’t forget to create tags.

To help you with this post, here are 5 close reading guidelines worth considering:

1. Note key words or phrases that repeat in that passage.

2. Look for irony, paradox, ambiguity, and tension.

3. Note those words or phrases that seem odd or out-of-place.

4. Note any important symbols, motifs, and themes.

5.  Is there anything missing from the text that should be there?