Tag Archive: creation


Failure to be Perfect

I believe that the top hat response of, “Somehow, by wanting to produce a more perfect human being, Victor and Elizabeth are admitting to disabilities of their own. A creature impervious to pain and is virtually indestructible by medical and other violent means would be a triumph to the Frankensteins- if Adam were more conventionally attractive and had a neuro-typical consciousness.” has the potential for a broader interpretation of the film. The way Victor looked at Adam, was completely different than the way he looks at anyone else throughout the entire film. When Adam first came to life, Victor looked at him with amazement, but once he couldn’t speak and his skin began to change in appearance, then Victor’s look changed to discomfort. Victor was unhappy with Adam becoming so close to his wife, who became a mother figure to him. Perhaps it was due to him being ashamed by the way Adam looked and how he acted, but Victor clearly didn’t want to be a father figure to the “Monster” he has created. Once his disabilities began to present himself, Victor could hardly wait to get rid of Adam. It was too much for him to deal with, the unsuccessfulness of his creation caused a feeling of failure in himself.

– Alina Cantero

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The creature, slighted by her creator, gives an account of what she has learned in her journey thus far. She, a creature that is made of human parts but is distinctly not human, witnesses the joys and heartaches that humans can impart unto one another. She learns about families and the culture that their intimate affiliations can produce, the identity that they have formed around one another (an identity that she lacks, because she was abandoned by Victor). Then, I believe that she see’s herself in the truly human- in the foreigner that appears and is beloved by felix- the Arabian Safie.

“Safie, who sickened at the prospect of again returning to Asia and being immured within the walls of a harem, allowed only to occupy herself with infantile amusements, ill-suited to the temper of her soul, now accustomed to grand ideas and a noble emulation for virtue”.

Safie exists in a country that oppresses her based on her sex and her cultural identity. Because she is identified as a muslim (despite what she may believe and yearn for internally) she and her father are immediately targeted and rejected by the country that houses her. Safie is the embodiment of two groups that are oppressed because she is both a woman and an arabian muslim in Paris. Because of this background her identity is split by these two demographics, bound twice by the French (who are colonialists) and by the patriarchy (available at any country near you). Though she would like to learn and change her identity, that too, is at odds with her roots and current condition. For in 19th century Paris, or any other colonialist European country, the opinion of a woman of color would not be considered. She would be shut down in England as she was in Paris and by her Father. She is an arabian and a woman, she exists as much as she isn’t allowed to be free.

The creature also experiences a double consciousness: she is an inhuman human, and a perceived creator of life (in other words: a woman). She is prosecuted by Victor and rejected by Delacey for these reasons, and wars with her identity as an Eve figure. She is demonized immediately for existing, she is rejected by her creator, by the creatures that exist alongside her. The prejudice of the ruling and working masses, cause her to question her identity and fuels a rage in her that is akin to the rage that the Monster experiences and voices.

By providing her tale and the tale of Safie alongslide it, she is performing to Victor the similarity of her condition as an arcane creation to that of the foreign woman. They are both foreigners in their own right, cis and trans wombs, and rejected by the people around them. If Victor can understand the plight of Safie, then why can’t he understand the creatures?

Oíche Shamhna Shona
Maria Nguyen-Cruz

“How Can I Move Thee?”

Self identification is a matter in which I have very little authority in. To define oneself as surely based on their emotion is something that eludes me, but which I work harder at everyday in order to understand the Individual. The ways in which Jessica Rae Fisher and Susan Stryker struggle in becoming who they are destined to be demonstrate to me that, despite the animosity thrown their ways from the very communities that should have stood at their sides in camaraderie, inspires within the soul a sense of distress. It must be understood that the use of pronouns and the celebration of using negative terms in resistance plays an important part within the narrative that Fisher tries to make in her blog post “I am Frankenstein’s Monster: An Echo of Susan Stryker’s Call to Action.”

As both Fisher and Stryker find a sense of similarity with Victor Frankenstein’s Creature, it is important to note the use of pronoun that the Creature uses to identify as. Within the novel, there are many instances where the Creature and his creator uses the masculine pronouns he and him to describe the being. There is never an explicit passage within the confines of the novel that say, “And Victor thus created a man in his own imagination” (Despite when Victor describes the features of the Creature on pages 59-60(“His limbs were in proportion […] His yellow skin […] his hair […] his teeth)); it is through the learning that the creature endures soon after his production that he starts to define himself as a man. As Victor chose and picked many of the bones from the charnel-house and gathered many other materials from the dissecting tables and the slaughter-house, there is almost no doubt that the creature could be an amalgamation of many different fleshes from man and woman. When the creature experiences the natural world, he makes discoveries of ecology and society and literature. It is through his understandings that he identifies as man, declaring on page 93 “I ought to be thy Adam” and demanding on page 129 “a creature of another sex” which Victor believes will bear children of a new monstrous race in Africa. The Creature himself shows that he believes to be of a masculine nature, and thus adopts the pronouns that he both has had assigned to him as well as using them to describe himself.

In the case with Fisher using rage to kill with kindness, it is absolutely promoted  that she continue upon the path of most resistance, as she mirrors the plight of the Creature: “If any being felt the emotions of benevolence towards me, I should return them an hundred and an hundred fold; for that one creature’s sake, I would make peace with the whole kind” (page 129)! As both of them are on the journey to become accepted for who they truly are and to finally come into acceptance with those that can share their experience, then they must continue to pursue that dream of the day in which they can finally live in peace with the rest of mankind and not be seen as a Monstrous Creature but as a Living Being.

-Alejandro Joseph Serrano

Was Frankenstein transgender?

Jessica Rae Fisher explores the transgender community and establishes a few connections within Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein. Her connections are very important to the audience given that the creation’s gender was never fully established throughout the novel. Though in some parts of the novel he may appear “masculine” which would explain why the pronoun he and him are used to refer to him in the novel, there is no other evidence shown to us that proves he is in fact a male. For this reason, we are able to identify more connections between the creation and transgender people than our first glance at this book after reading Jessica’s essay.  In the novel, Victor is constantly isolated from his loved ones and has to live with the absence of his mother. However, it seems to be that his need of fulfilling his maternal needs leads him to an obsession and reality check at the same time. For instance in the novel, Victor unconsciously has an unpleasant sexual dream with his mother. His dream begins of seeing Elizabeth’s beautiful face and somehow Elizabeth’s face rearranged to look like Caroline, Victor’s mother. Victor’s sexuality can be triggered by this fact given that he was obsessive over beauty and looks, specifically womens. Victor did not love elizabeth as a sister, rather he was in love with her beauty and appearance. In the same way, Victor was also triggered by the fact that as a male he was not able to reproduce and birth life. This indifference lead him to scientifically give life and create his creature through exhausting research and experiments. “Victor demolished his creation of a female creature to give to the male creature because he truly believed that if he were to do so the creatures would crave to have “children, and a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth” (Shelley 144). This quote proves Victor is envious of the fact that women can conceive children and he cannot. Victor’s obsession to conceive a child hints at his wish to become a woman. There are many examples that may or may not lead to the creation’s true gender beliefs, but as readers we may never be sure because we are not given much evidence as to what he might or not be.

 

By Dalia Ulloa

This was a bad idea, sir.

Maricruz Rivas

By analyzing Frankenstein and Anne Mellor’s essay it becomes obvious that there is much more to Victor’s desire of creating a creature than mere curiosity. Victor Frankenstein seems to be unfulfilled and he is looking for something to fill the empty space within him. In science he finds room to develop creations to fill those empty spaces…it’s a wonder that his first creation is life, a child to subdue his loneliness. By choosing to create a life Victor defies nature (often associated with femininity) and the idea of “natural order”…he uses science to bring life into the world for his own perverted benefit. Anne Mellor states in her article, “A Feminist Critique of Science,” that Mary Shelley intentionally made Victor the direct opposite of an emotionally aware person which by default means he was by no means prepared to be sensitive to the long term needs of his creation. I believe that in a semi-unintentional way the creature was created to suffer along side Victor – a partner in misery because Victor was in desperate need of a connection even if it was unnatural and miserable for all involved. We see that after the death of his mother (and maybe before though there isn’t a lot of textual evidence to go off of) Victor struggles with creating connections with people even those he cares about most like Elizabeth and his father rather, he develops a deep connection to his work. He consumes his life with studying and learning but not on cultivating emotional bonds with people. 

I believe that Victor Frankenstein puts his disregard for the process of “natural science” best when referring to the beginning of his interest in science and his disinterest of natural history, “…I at once gave up my former occupations; set down natural history and all its progeny as a deformed and abortive creation; and entertained the greatest disdain for a would be science, which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge,” (48) in that passage there is purposeful language used by Shelly to depict the eventual creation of something “deformed”. In my opinion, Victor doesn’t actually have any regard for science and moreover he is unable to see outside of his lonely existence long enough to see that an unnatural creation is a bad idea! Sadly, his desire to give life is directly associated to his desire for connection – he is desperate for a bond and who better to know what he needs than himself. In Victor’s eyes there is no greater giver of life than him which directly goes against natural order because as biology would have it it is not within his ability to do so. 

Image result for frankenstein as a baby

Motherly Obsessions

Esther Quintanilla

In Frankenstein: A Feminist Critique of Science, written by Anne Mellor, a depiction of nature as female is established. With the idea of “Mother Nature” and the stereotype of women being the ones who bring life into this world, this is a known idea. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein completely destroys this stereotype. Victor Frankenstein creates life, that is, artificial life, and expects to control the entity that he created. Mellor states, “the scientist who analyses, manipulates, and attempts to control nature unconsciously engages in a form of oppressive sexual politics” (12). Victor Frankenstein is contributing to the oppressive society that depicts women as sweet, naïve creatures and is expecting to dominate over them. Victor, therefore, is erasing the need for women in the novel, as life can be artificially made. This leaves the notion that Victor had a desire to give birth.

In order to achieve this goal, Victor turns to science. Instantly, Victor revels in the ideas of science and becomes obsessed with giving birth to artificial life. This becomes the focal point of Victor’s existence. The relationships that Victor had with various female figures in his life also may have had an impact on how he was picturing himself creating life.

Victor’s relationships with the women in his life may have had an impact on his desire to give birth. His mother, although Victor may or may not have had a desire to sleep with her, was caring and nurturing toward him. Elizabeth, who replaced Victor’s mother after she passed, was a loved figure who cared deeply for Victor. He may have seen the way that the women around him were nurturing and loving and developed a need to be in a similar situation. However, it turns in the completely opposite direction. Victor abandons his child at birth and forsakes any implication of motherhood in his own being. Without even realizing, Victor slowly begins to turn on motherhood and becomes a figure that destroys life. An example of this is the mere abandonment of his creature. Victor, by abandoning his creation, sets up a destructive fate for it.

Rilee Hoch.

I had a very specific image of Frankenstein’s Creature in my mind, but after reading the novel by Mary Shelly I see that the reality is completely different from the myth that was shown to me by Hollywood. There are three main differences I have distinguished from what I believed about Frankenstein versus what is accurate to the novel. The first of these differences is the physical appearance of The Creature. I always pictured him as green, with two large bolts sticking out of his neck like the image popularly used. In the novel The Creature is described as having yellow skin and there are no bolts mentioned. The second difference involves the creation of The Creature. In my imagination and the films I have referenced, The Creature is brought to life by thunderbolts and lightning. In the novel, however, the methods used to bring The Creature to life are purposely kept secret by Victor because he wants to spare others from the consequences that result. There are no joyous screams of a raving mad man, instead he feels horror and repulsion. The last difference I found between the myth and novel, is the behavior of the Creature. He is not a stupid and illiterate monster who simply wants to murder everything like I previously believed. Instead The Creature is bright and learns how to speak, read, and write. When he does eventually commit murder, he understands the impact and kills with intent and intelligence.

Image result for frankenstein

The Doctor is in the House

“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.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 1.06.52 am

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.

Best,

Astra Sharma

Frankenstein 1994

Let’s talk a bit more about the creation’s birth scene. Bouriana Zakharieva, in “Frankenstein of the Nineties: The Composite Body,” writes that in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994), “[c]reator and creation embrace in an ambivalent scene of struggle and affection; their hug is an expression of a desire to separate from each other and at the same time to help each other stand erect” (422). The claim is that this moment symbolically represents “human evolution” (422) and their eventual “love-hate relationship” (423).

But for me, I think this was downright one of the most comedic scenes of the film. Victor fails at least six times to get his creation to stand in that slimy mess, and the camera makes no effort to disguise the pitifulness of it all. I didn’t see much animosity so much as a little creator so desperately wanting his creation to stand.

I have way too many questions, but oh well:

Why did Branagh introduce this “standing-up scene,” which Mary Shelley never put in her novel? Does its comedy (if you agree that it’s funny) serve some purpose? How does it, as Zakharieva claims, represent “human evolution”? Finally, why is it only after the creation’s actually chained up that Victor questions, “What have I done?”