Tag Archive: death


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…”

maxresdefault

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

Dark Desires

By: Carmen Ibarra

Victor Frankenstein’s dark desire for his deceased mother correlates back to Freud’s theory of uncanny stating that ” all humans have homosexual and heterosexual desires as part of their polymorphous perversity, but some of those drives remain unconscious, while other, more conscious…” 117 When Frankenstein first describes his dream he starts it with visualizing himself kissing Elizabeth (which he considers her to be his sister) later on Elizabeth disappears and he goes into detail about how he’s feeling when he is dreaming about his deceased mother is in his arms. “…a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and every limb became convulsed…” 60 basically Victor was having a dark desired dream of his mother and Elizabeth.

In my personal opinion, I don’t believe we sexually desire our parents and compete with our parent growing up, however, when we do grow up we look for someone like our parents (if that parent was a strong figure in our lives). We search for someone with similar characteristics, such as someone who can be as respectful, caring, and loving as our parent is to us. It’s disturbing to have that kind of mentality that we sexually desire our parents enough to search for a partner like them, but in Frankenstein, we obviously do see that there is this kind of mentality and he does sexually desire his mother and loves Elizabeth because she is much like his mother.

Momma’s Boy Forever

Sigmund Freud’s theory of “the uncanny” is presented in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein through Victor Frankenstein’s Oedipal desires in his “wildest dream” (Shelley 60). Victor Frankenstein has a vivid dream in which his beloved Elizabeth turns into the corpse of his deceased mother as he kisses her. The description of Victor’s feelings within the dream, while also illustrating his shock at seeing the transformation, hints at his lust for his mother. The passage is loaded with sexual imagery, like “the grave worms crawling in the folds of the flannel” alluding to vaginal intercourse and the “cold dew [that] covered [Victor’s] forehead” like the ejaculate released from the head of a penis (60), demonstrating the level if intimacy Victor unconsciously wants to have with his mother. More importantly, this reveals the reason for his fixation on creating life and the monster. He wants to give life to the monster the same way his mother gave life to him. In doing so, Frankenstein also gives life to his mother through memory by dedicating creation of the monster to her and literally giving her life in his dream through his ejaculation into her. This is the result of what Freud calls the “Oedipus Complex.” The Oedipus Complex claims every man is attracted to their mother since infancy and strive to develop a relationship with a woman reminiscent of their mother, since the mother is already taken by their father.

While the idea of a person, especially an infant, being attracted to their parent may be a strange concept for people to, it is not uncanny to Freud. Freud views it as normal and crucial to the social development of the child innate in all “normal” heterosexual humans. Therefore, it is canny, at least in a Freudian context, because of its rationality and existence in the unconscious. Freud writes in his essay “The Uncanny” that something is uncanny “because it is not known and familiar” (Freud 418), meaning it diverges from the common perception held of it while also abiding by it. The uncanniness in the scene that causes Victor to awake in fear is the uncanny appearances of his dead mother and his continued attraction to the corpse. In his dream, Victor’s mother is not fully human. She is no longer human because she no longer has a pulse and is decomposing, but her features indicative of a human gives the feeling that she could potentially have life and is simply not engaging at the moment. The case is the same for Frankenstein’s monster because he has human traits and body part but his deformities give the impression that he is an undead monster at the same time. Because of the uncanny appearance of his mother their relationship becomes uncanny as well. Victor is still attracted to his mother, which is seen as acceptable under the following of the Oedipus Complex. However, now that she is a corpse, she is no longer the same mother Victor fell for. Nevertheless, she also is because she is literally Victor’s first and continued love and is the same body and being. He finds comfort in his love for his mother while also dreading that he loves a corpse.

-Wendy Gutierrez

A Continuous Reality

Throughout the course of human history, one concept has remained in constant discussion: the perpetual battle between men and women’s rights. The argument of women’s rights and equality continues to be discussed in today’s modern day society. In Molly Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Men, the author explains the importance of gender and social class equality for women and the need for revolution. Wollstonecraft explains “never was any man, much less a woman, rendered amiable by the force of those exalted qualities, justice, wisdom, and truth; thus forewarned of the sacrifice they must make to those unnatural virtues…they would be authorized to turn all their attention to their persons”. This statement explains that women are forced to conform with society’s values instead of creating their own self-images. A woman must comply with what is asked rather than following her own moral beliefs. Wollstonecraft’s ideas on society’s view of women directly correlates with the unfortunate fate of Justine’s death in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.

As Justine converses about her unavoidable death, she explains “I do not fear to die…I am resigned to the fate awaiting me. Learn from me, dear lady, to submit in patience to the will of Heaven” (Shelly 83). This passage exemplifies the distorted self-perception of women, and how women are made to justify and accept the cruel “punishments” that await them for their “wrong doings”. Justine’s perspective on her death validate Wollstonecraft’s statements that women become submissive to the distorted ideals that they are exposed to since birth. These ideas allow for Justine to submit to her “fate” of death without any justification of her being the true murderer. As a result, Justine continues the ever-lasting cycle of women submissiveness and is merely a product of the ideals that were passed down from the generations before her.

Written by Cathryn Flores

By Jade Graham

In a trial, there is the often used phrase, “Innocent until proven guilty.” but more times than not the phrase is flipped. In Frankenstein, there is Justine’s trial where she confesses a lie. Justine did not commit murder. She knows she is innocent but is become with guilt. She accepts her fate. Why? She fears she will go to hell after she dies, so there is a sense of moral within her.

Mary Shelley’s mother Mary Wollstonecraft was a believer in the idea of both gender and social equality. Justine, a young woman who is a servant of the Frankenstein household. That is her rank, as a female servant who needs help from others. There is not equality in Frankenstein, Justine is just one example of that. In the Frankenstein time period, women were expected to do what they were told and keep opinions to themselves. An innocent life was taken and because Victor did not speak up, Justine was sentenced to death. He is an upper-class man who has created a snowball effect. Justine’s death is just a part of the snowball that occurred. She was never meant to be a part of a trial or be killed. Justine, her name is close to the word justice. People have different views of what justice is. What is considered right after such as terrible wrong has been committed. There is the judge’s opinion and public opinion. Victor did not help Justine out of fear and cowardice.

The quote, “I leave a sad and bitter world; and if you remember me, and think of me as of one unjustly condemned, I am resigned to the fate awaiting me.”  is a note on how the world can be cruel (83). Justine believes the world has turned negative, the words sad and bitter are examples of someone who is broken. How the world can be cruel and accepting of someone’s fate where they die for a crime not committed. Justine did deserve justice, but in the end, she was killed like many others. Others like Elizabeth who tried to help Justine when she was at her worst. It is because of Victor that Justine (and all the others) died. From the moment Justine was suspected with William’s photograph, she is guilty.

Added in class: Going back to the idea of being a woman, Justine can be considered pretty to admire. The opposite view of the creature who puts William’s picture to frame her. He has anger, resentment, and desire for revenge. The creature is made to be beautiful, yet turns out terrifying and unexpected. People are scared of the creature and because of that he knows human behavior. He decides to frame Justine and knows what will happen because of his actions. This is the cruel world that they (Justine and creature) both experienced.

Alexuz Bejarano

In Frankenstein, Justine confesses to a crime she didn’t commit, not only could she not defend herself due to women having to voice around this era. In Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Men, she interprets the way women are viewed, nothing more than “beautiful”. She describes beauty as demeaning, her text represents how the world see women, their reason for existing is only because of their beauty. They lacked many strengths because they believed they had nothing other than beauty. “Never, they might repeat after you, was any man, much less a women, rendered amiable by the force of those exalted qualities, fortitude, justice, wisdom, and truth;” (p 47). Even if Justine was able to defend herself, she was only a servant which was in the lower class, she was in no place to have any “fortitude” or “justice”. She didn’t murder William, and knowing that she still confessed because she knew she didn’t have a voice and no one was going to believe her. In the novel Justine’s beauty got her nowhere, what Wollstonecraft is trying to show is that women shouldn’t be fixed on their beauty, there should be more to women than looks.

 

By Carmen Ibarra

While reading Mary Wollstonecraft’s article, Justine’s reaction towards her own death, in the novel Frankenstein, began to make more sense to me. Wollstonecraft states that “You may have convinced them that littleness and weakness are the very essences of beauty..” pg 47 meaning that women who are inferior to men are the most desired. This made me think of when Justine was more focused on what everyone else thought about her and whether or not “God would condemn her to hell” than proving herself innocent.

However, it does make sense as to why nobody would believe her. First of all, she’s a woman, and second of all, she’s of a lower class. Justine would never be able to defend herself without being viewed as disrespectful or trying to revolt against the church. On top of that attempting to argue with a man was a huge “no”. It also makes me angry how Justine seeks for Frankenstein’s approval that she’s innocent and even to her death she still attempts to comfort everyone. Women were viewed as less of a human and so they were not taken seriously.

Rilee Hoch

William Godwin has a unique perspective in his criticism of the French Revolution.  He believes that if humanity would use our knowledge to properly communicate our thoughts and emotions, that justice would come naturally and a peaceful revolution would ensue. Then, that peaceful revolution would dissolve the unjust class system and result in an equal distribution of property. Justine’s death from this perspective then represents the rash actions of the French people who, rather than causing positive change with no violence, murder justice with their revolution. Justine in the passage literally represents justice, and her death the destruction of it. The Creature in this case represents the foolish French who rushed into to their revolution with action rather than sentiment which resulted in death, destruction and overall anarchy. The passage overall can be seen as a critique of Godwin’s ideology, but not in a way to disprove its idea but rather that it cannot work because the emotions of people do not allow for it.

Related image

If instead they had used reason and negotiations, the French and the Creature would have both received better results. Just like how the Creature places the blame for his crime on Justine without thinking it through and considering different approaches, the people take their anger out on the monarchy and throw all justice aside for death via guillotine. The Creature let his anger take over, just like the French, it  “stirred the fiend within me” (127), and yet for both parties there was no positive result. They both blame Justice or the lack thereof so they decide to make it pay recompense. Due to this many innocent lives are lost, including the life of Justine who is simply an innocent child. The Creature was never shown Justice so he decides make Justine pay saying “She shall suffer.. she shall atone” (127). It is ironic that he says he has learned this practice from Felix who had previously done an injustice to the Creature, so we see the pattern of abuse continue, which started when Felix also suffered injustice via Sofie’s father. If he had followed Godwin’s model however, he would have though more clearly and paid attention to the “the great instrument of justice, reason. We should communicate our sentiments… press them upon the attention of others” (Godwin 790). This idea of contemplating different approaches is clearly absent in the text. We can see that the cycle of pain will only stop when we choose to use truth over violence, and put our selfish emotions and desire to shed blood from anger aside. If they had not resorted to violent uproars and a bloody revolution, Justice would not have paid the price for other peoples mistakes and the outcome might have been a peaceful and happy ending. This however is not done, in the text or in history. Here we can see the commentary against Godwin’s ideology in actual practice, that we simply will not allow it to work, we cannot.

Mary Wollstonecraft’s text highlights her intolerance for the church as well as the classifications of class and rank in society. In regards to women and their treatment, she is dissatisfied because they are valued more through the idea of beauty than through their intelligence or morals.  Her views are intertwined and seen in her daughter’s novel Frankenstein, specifically through the character Justine and her unjust death. In order to understand Justine’s situation we must remember that Victor’s creature is the one who framed her for his crime. This supports Wollstonecraft’s view that men can’t be trusted and only care about themselves since they are “men who have no titles to sacrifice,” (49) The creature loathed Justine because she was beautiful and normal, which overshadowed the fact that she was of low status. Where was chivalry when Justine could have been saved by Victor’s confession or when the creature was planning to escape the consequences if his own crime? It was nowhere because the men valued themselves more than an innocent woman. frankenstein08.jpg (560×777)

Justine reveals that she is threatened with “excommunication and hell fire in her last moments.” (83) by her confessor. Here we can see how Justine is being deeply influenced by the church, so much that she fears what will come after death more than being charged for a crime or the act of death itself. She has been made to believe her life is meaningless if she does not conform to the ways of the church, when in reality the church is nothing but a group of over religious men who do as they please. Being aware of her innocence is not enough to keep her safe. However, it’s easy to see that if she were a man, Victor for example, her guilt would have been immediately questioned if charged with murder. In contract to Justine, Victor was an intelligent, educated man…to most. As a woman with no outstanding education or valued status, it was easy to place the crime on Justine. In relation to Wollstonecraft’s views, now that Justine’s beauty was tainted she was of no use to the church or society, even though her good reputation from Elizabeth and little education should have been enough to save her from injustice in a fair society.

By Galilea Sanchez