Tag Archive: Knowledge

Education As a Form of Rebellion

I think one of the biggest ideas which Mary Shelley introduced in her novel Frankenstein that enriches Jessica Rae Fisher’s views on transgender rage and kindness is the idea that knowledge and education hold power and through education/knowledge, one possesses the strongest and most necessary tool someone can use to stand up for themselves in society. Susan Stryker acknowledges this idea in her essay “My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix” as well and my biggest response, and advice, to Jessica would be that through continuing to be educated she can and will go much further than her oppressors and bullies. Through education she will learn the proper tools to fight back and she can use her rage to fuel her thirst for knowledge and eventually, settle her place in society. With something so simple, such as being knowledgeable, a person can rebel in a kind manner and this is something I think Stryker was trying to argue for in her essay as well.

One thing I have always personally believed is that education is power and it will be the difference between a naive view and sense of the world compared to an educated person’s who would view the world through a truthful lense. The creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a perfect representation of this long held belief. When the creature is first created, and he sets off into society on his own, he does not know what his place in society is or even what he is. Victor Frankenstein’s abandonment lead the creature to be uneducated and without any proper sense of the world he was forced to be a part of. However, through his finding of famous works – such as Milton’s Paradise Lost – and by observing the cottagers, the creature was then able to self-educate himself  and he was able to learn about the proper way humans are meant to interact and teaches himself not to accept the improper treatment he had encountered before. Stryker states in her essay, “The monster accomplishes this resistance by mastering language in order to claim a position as a speaking subject and enact verbally the very subjectivity denied it in the specular realm.” (241) She is demonstrating that because the creature pursued his desire of knowledge he was able to create a resistance for himself because he then leveled himself with the rest of society and was able to use it to his full advantage to eventually be on top of those who oppressed him. In the novel, it was always in the creature’s intention to learn and educate himself in order to roam within society without fear and this is seen in the novel when the creature states, “I ought not to make the attempt until I had first become master of their language; which knowledge might enable me to make them overlook the deformity of my figure” (104). In this part of the novel, I concluded that Shelley was trying to argue that the way to be able to stand up for yourself within society is through knowledge. No one is ever able to take away the education and knowledge that is bestowed upon yourself and therefore, education demands respect and acknowledgement from other members of society. If a person is educated and is willing to use it to their advantage and as a tool to grow, then society can never make them feel inferior and that is something I would remind Jessica of.  

Overall, I think Jessica Rae Fisher can use her education and her willingness to grow as an individual to her full advantage just as the creature was able to throughout Frankenstein. The creature in the novel was able to highlight the issues that existed within his society after he was able to communicate and understand everything that was wrong in the first place. He would have never had a voice to do so had it not been for his desire to learn and his will to be an educated member of society. Once he had the knowledge he desired, he was able to critique the people among him and express his concerns – and I think that is exactly what Jessica has been doing but should continue to do. I believe that the only way people are going to learn is by being reminded of, and being called out on, the problems they are provoking. By the end of the novel the readers are able to see how Frankenstein and the creature are then considered equals and they parallel one another thus showing that with education one can soon overcome those with power over them. I think the idea of letting rage fuel someone’s desire to learn, and using knowledge and education as a kind way of rebelling, is very important and it is a proper way for people in any LGBT community to rebel against a society that makes them feel inferior.

-Beverly Miranda-Galindo

Butchered Justice

In the novel Frankenstein, we readers witness the execution of Justine, the maid of the Frankenstein household, for the death of William. Although she was never guilty, she was still put on trial and found guilty for planted evidence. After reading Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Men, the connections between Justine/Justice and the writing material is very strong.

For instance, Wollstonecraft focuses the majority of her paper on the idea of beauty, and how it is treated towards Justine and all women found in Frankenstein. Wollstonecraft quotes that “littleness and weakness are the very essence of beauty” (47). With Justine being a female, this same idea of beauty collided with her, and her wretched state as she goes on trial, knowing that she herself is innocent. At this point in the novel, Justine is tear-faced and broken to hear the news of her guilt from the jury. Wollstonecraft shows us that in order to be considered beautiful by men, we must appear smaller than them, and act as if we have a necessity for males in our lives in order to survive. Justine was not able to fit in that category, since she was “guilty” of William’s murder, which led to her demise.

-Jody Omlin