Tag Archive: Maria Writes


The creature, slighted by her creator, gives an account of what she has learned in her journey thus far. She, a creature that is made of human parts but is distinctly not human, witnesses the joys and heartaches that humans can impart unto one another. She learns about families and the culture that their intimate affiliations can produce, the identity that they have formed around one another (an identity that she lacks, because she was abandoned by Victor). Then, I believe that she see’s herself in the truly human- in the foreigner that appears and is beloved by felix- the Arabian Safie.

“Safie, who sickened at the prospect of again returning to Asia and being immured within the walls of a harem, allowed only to occupy herself with infantile amusements, ill-suited to the temper of her soul, now accustomed to grand ideas and a noble emulation for virtue”.

Safie exists in a country that oppresses her based on her sex and her cultural identity. Because she is identified as a muslim (despite what she may believe and yearn for internally) she and her father are immediately targeted and rejected by the country that houses her. Safie is the embodiment of two groups that are oppressed because she is both a woman and an arabian muslim in Paris. Because of this background her identity is split by these two demographics, bound twice by the French (who are colonialists) and by the patriarchy (available at any country near you). Though she would like to learn and change her identity, that too, is at odds with her roots and current condition. For in 19th century Paris, or any other colonialist European country, the opinion of a woman of color would not be considered. She would be shut down in England as she was in Paris and by her Father. She is an arabian and a woman, she exists as much as she isn’t allowed to be free.

The creature also experiences a double consciousness: she is an inhuman human, and a perceived creator of life (in other words: a woman). She is prosecuted by Victor and rejected by Delacey for these reasons, and wars with her identity as an Eve figure. She is demonized immediately for existing, she is rejected by her creator, by the creatures that exist alongside her. The prejudice of the ruling and working masses, cause her to question her identity and fuels a rage in her that is akin to the rage that the Monster experiences and voices.

By providing her tale and the tale of Safie alongslide it, she is performing to Victor the similarity of her condition as an arcane creation to that of the foreign woman. They are both foreigners in their own right, cis and trans wombs, and rejected by the people around them. If Victor can understand the plight of Safie, then why can’t he understand the creatures?

Oíche Shamhna Shona
Maria Nguyen-Cruz

By Maria Nguyen-Cruz
TW: Transphobia, and mentions of dysmorphia

Stryker and Fisher circle around the word monster, circling around the term, even taking it so far as to adorn themselves with the term as a badge of honor. The source of their struggle with alienation is delivered to them on a silver platter by the binary constructions that Western society and culture has created. Just as the creatures own struggle was passed onto him by his creator and the conventions that the people of his culture and species had bestowed unto him and humans alike.

The creature is forced to live in society. The creature has no choice but to exist in a world that has little regard for them, to remain isolated in their hut and be accused of invading the “normal” spaces. Just like Stryker when she referenced a TERF’s* letter to a transwoman who spoke in public, misgendering her and saying that “This individual] is not a threat to the lesbian community, he is an outrage to us… He deserves a slap in the face”. The same sort dehumanizing and fierce rejection manifests as a real and phyical action against the creature in DeLacey’s cabin;

“Who can describe their horror and consternation on beholding me? Agatha fainted, and
Safie, unable to attend to her friend, rushed out of the cottage. Felix darted forward, and with supernatural force tore me from his father, to whose knees I clung, in a transport of
fury, he dashed me to the ground and struck me violently with a stick.”

Fisher, while aware of the physical reprecussion of rejection, is more focused on self harm and suicide (not to say that Stryker neglects the subject) citing the high death rate of trans youth and adults in America. Transphobia and the dsyphoric feelings of the transexuals and transgender folx, not only imparts mental trauma- it manifests itself as pure physical violence from outward and inward sources. The encounter with the DeLacey family and the creatures frequent lament of their loneliness, are instances of this visceral acts of hatred that leave such an searing pain in the creatures heart that it turns to anger. They rage against their physical form, “cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live?” is not just a lament but an act of self depreciation.

The angry mob of villagers isn’t something that happens to the creature explicitly in the novel. But he is rejected by people from different walks of society. They are recognized immediately for their apparent “artificiality”.  In fact, think about it! The creature was made to exist as themselves but spends their lifetime tasting rejection and is left to do nothing but waste away, hate their body and rot.

You’d be mad too.

Encourage your local trans/nonbinary teens, tweens, pres and inbetweens to rage against society today!

 

 

 

*TERF= Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist

A Living Breathing Nightmare

 

The dream Victor Frankenstein experiences after creating undead life is controversial, uncanny, and acts as a manifestation of his feelings about what he has created. The dream starts out pleasant, he sees “Elizabeth, in the bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt” (60). He immediately kisses Elizabeth, but as he does she turns into the corpse of his mother. Freudians probably and will continue to have a field day with this scene in Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Though some would immediately associate the fact that the mother is present in this dream with Victor wanting his mother, I disagree. I do not think that it is as cut and clear as that.  His mother and sister (Elizabeth and if you didn’t remember oh boy isn’t it gross right?) are manifestations of his greatest loss and his greatest gain. The dream is a respite, it is a subconscious self depreciate act, an inner lament for his failure to produce the art that he had envisioned.

If everything had went right for Frankenstein he would have glory like no other, he would have had the beautiful Elizabeth with him in the streets in Ingolstadt! He spent several passages remarking on her beauty and goodness, that it is no stretch of the imagination to think of her as a prize (43). In this dream he is holding his prize: prosperity and beauty in front of everyone in Ingolstadt!

But because Frankenstein thinks he failed, his triumph disappears and changes into his greatest loss: his mother. When his mother died, it left an impression in Frankenstein that could not be filled- he spent nearly an entire page describing how terrible it was that he lost his mother (49). His subconscious is associating the terrible tragedy of losing his mother to that of creating the creature- who physically is as dead as she is. He is a literal walking corpse and Victor must live with his greatest loss and his biggest nightmare.

Or he wants to bang his mom. Both interpretations are valid.
Stay dreamy,
Maria Nguyen-Cruz

Mary Wollstonecraft is a renown feminist who published an essay entitled “A Vindication on the Rights of Man” in 1790. The essay is a response to Edmund Burke’s dramatic defense of the beheaded Marie Antoinette and the French monarchy. He claims that the revolution was absolutely barbaric and that it was an obstruction of the natural order, because evolution totally dictated that we be ruled by a monarchy. Years later, Wollstonecraft’s daughter Mary Shelly released the novel Frankenstein which included the death of a young hapless maid named Justine Moritz.  Wollstonecraft would have interpreted Justine’s character as an indictment of the clerical system and a representation of the oppression that women face. Wollstonecraft would have none of the argument that says that “Justine was killed by the monster and no one else”; she would absolutely blame the church in addition to blaming victor for the creation of the creature. She would not see Justine as a tragic martyr, someone to idolize and beautify for her obedience- she would see Justine’s obedience to the church and social norms as a symptom of a much larger problem: gender inequality and a meek populace.

Let’s remember that because Justine was a God-fearing Catholic, she did her best to do right by God and this meant listening to the authority of the church and subscribing to the standards that they set. This turned sour for her once she is badgered by her confessor (a local priest) into confessing for a crime she hadn’t committed and she said that she “began to think that she was the monster he said she was. He threatened excommunication and hellfire” (83) if she didn’t confess to this crime- what was a good catholic supposed to say to that? She would be branded for life as a terrible woman and a terrible catholic- ruining her place in society.

Justine’s character arc ends tragically, heading straight to death after Elizabeth’s visit. But please, don’t think that it was her devotion to God that ruined her. After all, would you blame a sheep about to be murdered by the farmer who raised it for following him to the slaughterhouse? She was just doing as she was taught- she was modeling what it meant to be an exemplary woman: little, quiet, smooth, and fair.  This is something that Wollstonecraft is very critical of. She said that it is not right to assume that “nature [would make] women little, smooth, delicate, fair creatures, [women were] never designed that they should exercise their reason to acquire the virtues that produce opposite, if not contradictory, feelings” (47). From this we can infer that she would have thought that women shouldn’t be bashed or hung for being self aware and capable of defending themselves. Nor should a large system with enormous amounts of power such as the clergy endorse having a priest (or anyone) push women to conform to this standard. This is corrupt and a severe misuse of power.

Edmund Burke, on the other hand, would have thought this to be an injustice only because they killed someone who was so obedient. Hell, he would have thought Justine as divine or beautiful for emulating the malleable Marie Antoinette. He would have blamed the monster for Justine’s execution.

Wollstonecraft would have argued that Justine should not be considered divine or beautiful because she did what she was told. Justine was ignorant of what she could have been, stifled because she was not raised in a society that valued her intelligence. Instead, Justine was referred to as “the most grateful creature in the world” (66) and after the death of Elizabeth’s aunt was praised for the “softness and winning mildness to her manners, which had before been remarkable for vivacity ” (66). It was her meekness and obedience that made her valuable and Wollstonecraft would have absolutely wanted audience to want see more for Justine and women in society.

Wollstonecraft would interpreted her as the portrait of the chronic condition that women in 1818 were plagued by and a symptom of the problem with assuming that following the church is the natural state of man.

We cannot just follow things or people because their authority is based on their seniority.  Wollstonecraft would want you to question the powers that be because “asserting that Nature leads us to reverence our civil institutions from the same principle that we venerate aged individuals, is a palpable fallacy” (51).

So anyway, catch you at the revolution comrades!
Maria Nguyen-Cruz

OW Junkenstein's MonsterWhen I hear the word Frankenstein, I frequently think of the misconceptions that come with the science fiction and pop culture phenomena. Some of which are as obvious as the title mistakenly referring to the groaning and green creature that the doctor, a mad scientist with a hunchbacked lackey, stitched together in a creative fit. The creature is filled with an insatiable blood lust, fears fire, and has no real thoughts or emotions and he is welcomed by his creator into his new life. Be it as early as the the 1931 Frankenstein film or recent as the Frankenstein inspired skin for the character Roadhog from Overwatch, these misconceptions are hard to get rid of.

I’m not discrediting them either- I think that some elements of this version of the story ring true, but obviously this version is inaccurate. My issue with it is that it leads its audiences to believe that the creation of the creature (and his subsequent rampage) was the fault of science- as opposed to that of an ambitious undergrad. I assumed during my first reading of the book that the question being posed was “Can science go to far?” and “does God live in Heaven because he lives in fear of what he has created?”.

I think that my interpretation of the questions the novel asks are dramatically different. I believe that Shelley is asking her readers to consider the fruits that revolution bears and whether it is truly ethical to use violence as a means to produce social and personal change. What is the cost of revolution? Who truly pays the price for rebellion? Wouldn’t the common folk regret stripping power away from the one percent, from people living their (extremely lavish) lives?

I wouldn’t. But okay, Shelley.

The ambitious Victor Frankenstein sought to create life after death, and after achieving it, rejected that which he created. He started this cycle of senseless brutality by rejecting his creation. It was not the act of creation, but his act of neglect and self interest that cultivated the selfishness in the creature.

But tell me what you think, is Shelley warning her readers of the dangers science may wrought- or is she dissuading young revolutionaries from starting an uprising and class war? And also, why do you think that the creature is frequently portrayed as an unnatural green?

Yours in monstrosity,
Maria Nguyen-Cruz