Tag Archive: ecocriticism


Fire and Ice: Political Reflections

The wildfires that are spread across California can mostly be attributed to the lack of funding for agencies to prevent them in the first place due to the President, Donald J. Trump. Due to his negligent efforts to try and manipulate (second-hand) the climate as a point of some ill-gotten revenge fantasy, we the people in this gracious point are suffering for it. In essence, this is a sort of perverse reverse reflection to the events that occurred in the 1820s and their efforts to find an enemy in the inanimate icecaps of the North; while the cause of the concern back then was how a natural part of nature was culprit against humanity, the situation Californians face now is due to humanity being the culprit for a natural part of nature. In the near future it seems as if there will be articles saying that it is the fault of organizations and agencies in California that we are in such dire conditions, but that is a scapegoat to the fact that there is very much political avarice behind those messages to take the heat off the one who is truly to blame for the lack of funding for the services to try and prevent it in the first place: the President.

Alejandro Joseph Serrano

(I did not mean to totally make this a political attack piece, but it is important to note that the President did retract funding for California agencies, as well as threatening to withhold funds from the UC system in the past. Ultimately, this is due to his negligence.)

By interpreting the novel Frankenstein through an ecocritical lens we can see how the climate change issues we are experiencing are very similar to the ones of Mary Shelley’s time. Mary Shelley was writing her novel during the time period known as the Year without summer which was the consequence of climate change. During that summer it was extremely rainy and cold. Similarly, we are experiencing unusual weather as a result of climate change. In previous years the city of Merced has been pretty consistent in its weather patterns but recently its experience longer periods of heat and drought. In both cases, climate change was man-made due to the lack of respect for nature. Even now as we are given a chance to right our actions, people still deny climate change being an issue and vote against efforts made to address the issue.

When looking at Frankenstein through an ecocritical lens, there are issues subtly presented regarding the climate of the time and place in which the novel is set. The climate during this time was so severely cold that those years were referred to as the “Year(s) without a Summer.” Undisturbed by these climate issues however, the characters in the novel continue to manipulate nature, mainly through the creation of the creature. The issues that result from this is only acknowledged after great damage and destruction is already done. In this way, the novel foreshadows our current climate issues in America and more specifically, now, in California, warning us that climate is and always will be an issue that should be addressed before any severe damage is done. Unfortunately, today California is battling major wildfires that can very much be connected to climate change issues, and while some of these issues may be unpreventable, it is important that we educate ourselves and do what we can to help in any way we can and prevent further disaster.

-Serena Ya

The theme of nature is prevalent all throughout Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein which can be read in an ecocritical lens. Relating this back to our current state of fires here in California, I personally believe Victor Frankenstein illustrates and portrays the role of humans today as we constantly abuse nature. Victor Frankenstein, upset nature quite a few times in the novel and nature fought back with darkness, lightening, and etc. The current events happening in our state are mere reflections of what we do. Our climate has been destructive and concerning and it is because of us and how we treat our planet. If we treat mother nature correctly and not “abuse” her, then things could get possible get better. We are products of nature, it is only correct if we treat it properly and respectfully.

-Rahma K

Awaiting Damage

As we have been discussing, Frankenstein can be interpreted as a warning of climate change due to humans and the possible consequences. While the novel warns of ice as the enemy, we are currently battling against the opposite, fire. Along with destruction of homes, the fires also bring poor air quality. This situation can be interpreted through Frankenstein as another instance in which humans are fighting a force stronger than them, that requires more than just asking it to go away. Furthermore, those with breathing problems, who are more sensitive to the unhealthy air, would support the claim that creature is a symbol of the coming end, meaning that it may be possible that the air quality, and the fires themselves, will become so severe that everyone will suffer irreversible damage, ultimately causing change in the regular climate completely. We can see the damage happening now, but further, possibly greater damage, may not be noticed until much later.

By: Galilea Sanchez

Melanney Giron

Currently, California is experiencing severe changes and damages in regards to the air quality. Similar to our situation, in the novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley seemed to have been aware of the climate changes happening during the time she was writing her novel. An ecocritical interpretation of Frankenstein would consist of a point of view that analyzes and challenges the role that humans have played in our current climate woes. We can relate our actions to those of the creatures in the novel. There are people who, like the creature, are unbothered by the climate change and do not believe that we must fix our behaviors now before its too late. In the novel, the creature had become accustomed to all climate changes while commoners, like the cottage family, felt the true effects of the changes. Both the creature and the climate change non-believers need to open their eyes and realize that the world around them is changing dramatically and not in the way we would expect.

One As Nature

An ecocritical interpretation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein teaches us that although climate change can be the result of environmental processes, we, as natural beings, must acknowledge ourselves as part of the natural world and recognize the power of our activities that disrupt and change the state of the earth in order to prevent its destruction. While the climate conditions described in the novel and during Shelley’s production of the text were likely the result of the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815, and not a man-made dilemma, the creation of the Creature was because of Victor and manipulation of the natural world. The monster who, while put together by a man, is an amalgamation of various bits of humans, a biological product of the natural world, is not distressed by the icy conditions facing Europe in the summer, unlike Victor who often describes the natural world as intimidating, like the Alps just as he does with his creation and classifies these dangers as innate qualities, rather than the possible result of his actions. It is through this dissociation from the natural world that some individuals in the present, when faced with environmental crises like recent megafires in California, refuse to consider the effects the human population has had on the nature for these disasters to arise, just as Victor affected nature in his mistreatment of the monster, despite scientific evidence of it. Because these people reject to realize they themselves are natural components of the environment and evade their role in its declining status, like Victor runs from his fear of the monster, they do not see their actions to be blamed for the chaos that goes around them and, as a result, do not find need to change their practices to correct these issues. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein teaches that we, as products of nature, have influence on it’s well-being, as much as volcanic eruptions or other inevitable phenomena, and must become like Frankenstein’s monster in acknowledging that link in order to realize when we have caused the world damage to mend it and our own faults.

-Wendy Gutierrez

Nature’s Funeral

On the basis of what we have already discussed in class about how Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein can be connected to the environmental crisis that was and still is happening in the world. We can definitely see the parallels between the climate change crisis that occurred when Shelley wrote her novel and present day. However, the difference is that in Shelley’s time, nature was left to do its own thing, meanwhile in present day, we are the ones who have instigated the damage. So how and why has our interest in nature shifted from attempting to protect it to destroying it for our own benefit. Despite the fact that in Shelley’s time the climate was the exact opposite of today’s it is interesting to see that the climate would have such an impact on her writing. Had that climate crisis not occurred during Shelley’s time would her novel ever have been born? How would we be living differently if the fires weren’t raging on in present day? Or better yet, how will these environmental crisis’ influence other writers to write their own novels? One can only wish these events go down in history so that future generations can learn from our mistakes and understand the importance of caring for our home.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Let Us Breathe

By: Jocelyn Lemus

CA fire pic

When referring to the ecocritical lens, one may not think of the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. The way she uses her abilities of writing to hide the true meanings is very significant. To elaborate, the way the novel relate to the ecocritical lens because just like nature the creature in the novel are unpredictable. They don’t say much from how they look but when one pays attention to it they are left speechless. When Shelley decided to write this novel she lived during child nights and days without the absence of training.  This is important because the experience one goes through manipulates one’s mindset when it comes to focusing on writing. To add on, what I am trying to connect this with are the fires happening in California. This demonstrates how nature can get out of control without one’s ability to control its purpose. As humans, we are given the potential so fix these problems. However, we do not use our resources wisely. This connects with the creature in the novel because Victor was responsible for creating the chaos around for manipulating nature to his project. One must be awaken when it comes to considering world problems.

Unforeseen

Interpreting Frankenstein through an ecocritical perspective, makes the parallels between our current environmental epidemic, and that of Mary Shelley’s apparent.  As discussed in class Mary Shelley lived in Switzerland during a period where it was constantly raining, even during the warmer months when rain was not expected. Our current situation here in California is similar to Mary Shelley’s, just opposite. We are currently caught in the midst of these harshly large land fires, that along with it brings bad air quality. In the middle of November this is not expected. This situation connects to Frankenstein in the sense that not everything is expected. For example, Victor created this new species thinking that he would have complete control over the creature and using them for his own benefits. That whole idea completely backfired on him and the creature brought more danger to society. Nature and Frankenstein connected with each other in the sense that they are both unpredictibale. Nature is a force that humans can’t completely manipulate, and control and most importantly it is a force that can strike at any given moment.

~Dariana Lara