Tag Archive: horror


Proleterrorat

In his essay “The ‘Workshop of Filthy Creation’: A Marxist Reading of Frankenstein”, Warren Montag claims that there are Marxist undertones within Marry Shelly’s novel that depicts the ongoing struggle of the working class against the middle class, represented by Frankenstein’s monster and Victor Frankenstein respectfully. Towards the end of his essay, he claims that Frankenstein’s creation is “not so much the sign of the proletariat as of its unrepresentability” (480). I agree with this notion as I believe that the horror of  the industrial and technology that helped to create the working class, as mentioned by Montag, is exemplified within Shelly’s work with its ability to transform beauty into horror so seamlessly without being depicted at all.

Indust

The reader witnesses the unrepresented power’s horror when it causes Victor to view his magnificent creation as a work of terror. Right before Victor is ready to bring his creation to life, he takes a moment to praise “his features as beautiful. Beautiful!–Great God!” (60). He continues to lovingly evaluate his work as an ideal image of man with perfect proportions, noting that “his hair was of lustrous back, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness”(60). Amidst his thorough compliments however, he takes a moment to notice his creation’s “more horrid contrast with his watery eyes…his shriveled complexion and straight black lips,” alluding to the unseen industrial and technological dark consequences (60). Despite having “worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body,” Victor succumbs to the horrors of the working class in an instant, viewing his once beautiful and flawless creation now with “breathless horror and disgust…unable  to endure the aspect of the being [he] had created” (60). The strong change in polarity in the way Victor views his creation demonstrates the amount of horrible power that technology, the industrial, and the working class have and helps create a terrifying image within the reader’s mind. Fear of the unknown is perhaps the greatest fear of all after all. The text never describes the process in which Victor uses technology to reanimate the corpse, as suggested by Montag’s claims that “technology and science, so central to the novel, are present only in their effects; their truth only becomes visible only in the face of their hideous progeny and is written in the tragic lives of those who serve them” (478). The unseen nature of the elements that created the working class, the industrial and technology, help “to render this being,” Frankenstein’s monster and by extension the proletariat, as “inexplicable and unprecedented, a being for whom there is no place in the ordered world of nature” (480). In the end, the unseen forces of technology and the industrial that Victor used for his experiment caused him to view his creation he thought was the pinnacle of humanity as a despicable monster, just as the capitalism that created the cruel lives of the proletariat.

–Jose Ramirez

Samantha Shapiro

frankenstein

Even while having read the novel prior, I still see much of and thus associate Frankenstein’s creation as “Frankenstein,” a green, hulking, bolt-necked monster. Lately, around September, even as early as August, we begin to see the monster come out in time for one spooky October night, in the form of cheap costumes and lawn decorations.

As a standard of Halloween, the monster’s appearance as a green giant is shattered with a rereading of Shelley’s original novel, with a recounting from Victor Frankenstein noting the creature’s “yellow skin…[hair] a lustrous black…a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips” (Shelley, 59-60). This, as we learn, egotistical scientist turned to taking dead body parts from the “unhallowed damps of the grave, …dissecting room and slaughter-house” (57-58). In reading Shelley’s Frankenstein, the standard “Frankenstein myth,” or, a horrifying monster coming to eat your children loses its superficial appearance when faced with descriptive lines including some horrifying actions. Rather than keep up the image, likely popularized by the classic horror adaptations’ perspectives, the novel instead tells a tale about a complex creation.

After reading the novel, there are many elements of a sort of horror, but a more psychological, deeper horror rather than have the focus of a scary child-murderer. The eeriness of Frankenstein’s creature lies in its almost human, but more so human-like being, as well as the connection it has towards death and life, or animation and decay.

Our common depictions now show it as a threat, a monster some poor villagers in the backwoods of Europe threw their pitchforks at, something universally feared.

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Although physically, it is presented as terrifying, the creature is terrifying to Frankenstein due to the implications of creation it brings, the guilt of creating something that shouldn’t exist (59). His conflict in creating something animated, perhaps even seen as alive, was a terrifying concept, bringing together life and death, and breaking an almost hallowed tie between the “corruption of death…to the blooming cheek of life” (55). The modern standing of Frankenstein’s monster, fitting into the myth of a horrible, scary monster is due to the appearance of it, but also our uneasiness towards it as a general dislike for something that shouldn’t be there.

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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