Tag Archive: ecocriticism

Lighting Our “Funeral Pile”

By Isaac Gallegos R.


Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein was written nearly 200 years ago, and yet through the application of multiple critical lenses, it is more relevant to our contemporary society than ever. In this instance, when we apply an ecocritical lens to Frankenstein, we can learn two valuable ideas: first, we should always be thoughtful nature and it’s countless complex mechanics, and second, we should never underestimate nature’s potential. In the 19th century, European scholars were very thoughtful of nature, thanks in part to romanticism and it’s ideologies on nature and it’s “power and innocence”. However, they many times failed to understand nature’s true power. During the Year without a Summer (1816), academics proposed legislature, strategies, and other literature that would amend this situation (one said example wished to wage “war on icebergs”); however, the issue with these propositions was that they were riddled with imperialistic diction! They viewed as nature and it’s forces as something that needed to be conquered and controlled, that it’s “savagery” must be replaced by “cosmopolitan”. We need to understand that nature is something wonderfully powerful, and it cannot be easily manipulated — nor should it be. And in contemporary society, we have failed to recognize both! We fail to respect nature (as we have adopted a caustic anthropocentric view on the world) and this total disrespect and violation of nature has begun to lead us into ruin. The ongoing wildfires in California are highly unnatural — our traditional rainy season has been dubbed the “fiery season”; years of poor rainfall have been transforming our forests from healthy ecosystems to barren and dry — and perfect for wildfires. And our politicians and representatives are ignorant, and they fail to see that global warming is highly responsible for all these ‘unnatural’ natural disasters. The Year without a Summer was over 200 years ago, and now, through human activity, we are beckoning the “Age of the Pissed-Off Earth” or maybe the “Age in Which the Ignorant Humans Begin to Ascend their Funeral Pile Unknowingly”, but only time (and responsible and urgently needed action) will tell.

Mary Shelley lived through the non-stop rain in Switzerland, where it was always cold and people could be seen wearing big coats all the time. Currently we are in the month of November where it should be colder and raining, but instead, it is a month of fires. The fires are so bad that the air is considered unhealthy for us to be in.  In Frankenstein, we see how the creature is a representation of how nature is unpredictable, and how if we do nothing and ignore the signs it could be a danger for all. We are representations of Victor, in how we realized that we were wrong, we cannot control nature. Nature does what it wants, when it wants, such as the creature does by committing all the murders he does.

-Alina Cantero

By Alex Luna

When taking an ecocritical lens towards Frankenstein, we come to understand how much the creature himself reflects the unpredictability of nature and the dangers that come with not heeding these warnings. Thinking of our current climate issues and how difficult it is to control such events like the fires, it’s interesting to see the parallel between our handling of the situation to Victor. Just like how Victor never expected for the creature to become a monster because we as humans tend to believe we have nature under our control. So when nature decides to strike, we are left underprepared and face the consequences, like when the creature began to murder Victor’s family. Unfortunately, many still refuse to see this perspective and continue to live in ignorance of the very serious issue that is climate change. Therefore, we can conclude that our decisions to take inaction will be our undoing, and to always remain cautious, for we never know when nature will hit again.