Tag Archive: film


The Clash of Disability Models

By Isaac Gallegos R.

“Victor and Elizabeth view their creation in different ways. In a way, they serve as stand-ins for how science tends to view people with disabilities. On the one hand, Elizabeth, people with disabilities are still able to feel and should be viewed with compassion. They should be cared for. On the other hand, Victor represents viewing people with disabilities as lesser, as failed by-products, that need to be taken care of.”

I chose the 2nd observation (quoted above) because I think the observation made, regarding the contrasting perspectives of the scientific community and their opinions on disability, can be built upon and investigated. When reading Parker’s chapter on Disability Studies, we learn that the two most prominent models are the “social disability model” and the “personal disability model”. And as the person observed, Victor Frankenstein aligns more with the personal disability model (therefore looking at a single individual and blaming their “alter-ability” for the challenges they face) and Elizabeth being a closer representation of the “social disability model” (and therefore seeing how society helps construct the obstacle rather than just the disability).

This observation can be built upon and observed throughout the whole movie and can be beneficial in Disability Studies, one can even say that the roles of Victor and Elizabeth can be a metaphor on the struggle between the different perspectives on disability (within our society and scientific communities). And with Elizabeth’s murder at the hands of Victor, it can further highlight the dominance of the “personal disability model”, and the prevalence of individuals with disabilities being blamed for the obstacles that they face in our society.  With this, it helps us understand that we need to integrate more inclusive infrastructure and be more open-minded when it comes to disability.

Rilee Hoch

I believe comment number five provides the best opportunity for further interpretation of disability in the film. It reads, “I noticed that the “disability” portrayed in the film is “Adam’s” inability to speak and comprehend his surroundings. This is something that the doctors believed needed to be fixed. In doing so, they treated “Adam” like an animal; the scene in which they inject medicine into his body is very similar to when a veterinarian puts shots into a dog”.

This comment shows the idea that disabilities are simply labels given to us by other people, or society who know nothing of our own existence. Adam is stuck with this label by his “parents” Victor and Elizabeth but he has no say as to whether he would consider his inability to speak a disability or not. This comment also shows how they deemed the “disability” as something that needed to be fixed. This could serve as a commentary for the way society views disabilities, as something needing a solution or an infirmity needing healing. We know of course that this is not the case. It also speaks on how people with these so called “disabilities” are treated by our society. They are deemed outcasts and shown either humiliating amounts of sympathy and compensation like Elizabeth shows Adam, or extreme prejudice and discrimination like Victor shows. The idea that they create a living thing, yet as soon as they uncover a flaw they are wiling to put it down like, “when a veterinarian puts shots into a dog” is profound and speaks volumes about how disability is shown in the film. I think overall this comment has multiple aspects that could very effectively be used as a commentary of disability and disability studies as a whole.

Adam, the Sick Puppy

Esther Quintanilla

I noticed that the “disability” portrayed in the film is “Adam’s” inability to speak and comprehend his surroundings. This is something that the doctors believed needed to be fixed. In doing so, they treated “Adam” like an animal; the scene in which they inject medicine into his body is very similar to when a veterinarian puts shots into a dog.

I believe this observation has the most potential to offer a broader interpretation of the film Frankenstein. The comparison of Adam to a sick animal can be considered one of the most problematic ideas that could come into play in an essay, but it would be the most interesting because there are many similarities to take into account. Sick animals are a sight to be cooed at, pet owners will go to extreme lengths to take care of and protect their animals. When the pets are sick, the owners will take them to the veterinarian and get them “fixed” as soon as humanly possible. This is a problem because the pets are no longer animals, but commodities that need to be taken care of. The problem with the view of disabled people as sick animals takes away their humanity, almost creating a person who has no business being a person unless they can be “fixed” into a perfect being. In “fixing” their disabilities, they are then accepted as equals. This idea could branch off to discuss what it means to be human, the particular qualities that make the “perfect” human, and what people need to do/need to be born into in order to be accepted in their societies.

Below are a small representative sample of the in-class student Top Hat responses to the early clip of Bernard Rose’s 2015, FRANKƐN5TƐ1N.  I now ask students to complete this in-class blogging exercise:  from the comments below, which ONE offers the potential for a broader interpretation of the film.  Please explain your selection and elaborate on your interpretation (one paragraph will suffice)  Please publish this as a separate blog post and write your full name.  Students will have 15 minutes to complete this assignment in class.

 

1. There was a sense of having to “talk down” almost as if though “Adam” were a child, cooing as though he were an infant. There was a sense of discomfort and Victor did not see Adam as a person, but rather as an object that needed to be eradicated.

2. Victor and Elizabeth view their creation in different ways. In a way they serve as stand-ins for how science tends to view people with disabilities. On the one hand, Elizabeth, people with disabilities are still able to feel and should be viewed with compassion. They should be cared for. On the other hand, Victor, represents viewing people with disabilities as lesser, as failed by-products, that need to be taken care of.

3. I noticed how Adam is completely illiterate and mentally impaired, yet physically he is stronger than all of the doctors. This is an interesting contrast and it’s his lack of mental abilities that prevents any sense of rationality, giving the doctors complete power over him despite Adams physical abilities.

4. 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 nuero-typical consciousness.

5. I noticed that the “disability” potrayed in the film is “Adam’s” inability to speak and comprehend his surroundings. This is something that the doctors believed needed to be fixed. In doing so, they treated “Adam” like an animal; the scene in which they inject medicine into his body is very similar to when a veterinarian puts shots into a dog.

6. The way they restrained Adam could be a call back to how patients in psychiatric “hospitals” were cared for.

 

The Creature’s Relationship

Zakharieva in her essay mentions the female creature and the “decision” she has to make between Victor and the Creature. She states, “The bride is not a completely new being, she is a re-creation of the two women to whom Frankenstein is bound through his sense of guilt. The Female Creature is torn between her lover and his evil counterpart – the Monster” (Zakharieva). What is the significance of the bride’s indecision? What does her self destruction mean in terms of the battle between Victor and the Creature?

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?”

Born That Way?

“Study Finds Genetic Link to Homosexuality.” “Born Gay?” “Abortion Hope After ‘Gay Gene’s findings.” “Do you have the Gay Gene?” These are just a handful of the multitude of headlines that graced newspapers and magazines in the 1990’s following the release of a number of scientific studies regarding the nature of male homosexuality. This debate is complex and multifaceted, as it takes place in a wide range of arenas, from newspaper stands to scientific laboratories, school hallways to movie theaters. Furthermore, these arenas constantly intertwine themselves, affecting one another in a variety of ways. In the last couple of decades, diversified studies have suggested a biological component to homosexuality. The media attacked these scientific breakthroughs, using their results to claim the existence of an actual “gay gene”. However, this so-called “gay gene” is yet to be found, and the cause of homosexuality is likely much more conglomerate than a single gene. Film in particular explores this concept, bringing up social and ethical issues in correspondence with the biological studies of male homosexuality. Oftentimes, scientists and media outlets over-simplify the debate surrounding the cause of homosexuality by presenting only one side as true, when in reality science has shown the cause of homosexuality to be much more complex.

To read more, click on the link below.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s9x2TkvqccGRMPtAIiHNadgmhokeeUd1ZcOw3ye-dk0/edit?usp=sharing

Frankenstein: The novel vs the Myth

Frankenstein is not only a novel but also a cultural phenomenon. Since elementary school, years before I would ever get my hands on Mary Shelley’s novel, I have seen kids dressed up as Frankenstein’s monster for halloween, scaring me since since my very first glimpse. The biggest shock to me that came from actually reading the novel came from the fact that Frankenstein the novel is written from a perspective of truth. While it is obviously fiction, it is still embedded in truth and the novel still offers explanations for the narrative that could in fact be true. Before reading the novel I always thought of the concept of Frankenstein as being completely fictional. While I do not believe in reincarnation, Shelley still offers a scientific explanation of the creation process, making the events seem all the more real. This stood out to me because as a film major whose favorite films are horror films, I am extremely interested in story lines like this one. I enjoy horror movies that, even if they didn’t happen, could have happened. To me this makes the film ten times scarier than it would be without the element of truth, making the film exponentially more successful.  I like it when the film maker at least gives an explanation as to why and how what is happening is happening. I think this is what Shelley does, regardless of the myth that says otherwise. images