Tag Archive: death


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.

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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.

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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

Jocelyn Lemus

We speak, we move, we do all these sorts of things because that is what makes us human. As a person we take certain actions because the world asks us to. We invest so much time to satisfy society that we truly forget our personal instincts and beliefs. For a women, it is hard to freely express what is truly kept inside, since majority of the the time in the past and now women have no say.

Image result for women mouth covered

Mary Wollstonecraft expresses this sort of action in her writing of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman… when she states, “Nature, by making women little, smooth, delicate, fair creatures”(47). This indicates that once a women is implemented in such image, there isn’t quite a possibility that that expectation will change. Nothing they say or do can be justifiable as long as the words come out of their mouths. To add on, this correlates so well with Justine’s death sentence in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. They correlate because it is shown that women don’t quite defend themselves because they internally believe that their words don’t quite make a difference to society. As Justine says, “I did confess; but I confessed a lie”(83). Why would she lie about something that involves death? A women is seen as this target, this vulnerable human being with no will to express their own feelings. This is important because nature and beauty have a lot to say more about women than women can, according to society. The world has stitched the mouths of women together, up to the point where every word they say comes out as pure muteness.

The Ending

One major difference between the book and the movie that wasn’t discussed much in the essay was the ending. The book ends with the creature disappearing into “darkness and distance,” while the movie shows the creature lighting Victor’s funeral pile and burning along with him. Is this an attempt to redeem the creature? By burning alongside Victor, the creature could be trying to atone for his killings and trying to prevent any more from happening by destroying himself. In doing this, does the creature upset the dichotomy of “Nature/Woman/Good versus Science/Man/Evil”? What does the more concrete finality of the movie suggest?