Tag Archive: media


MA_Lebrun.0

by Isaac Gallegos Rodriguez

In our world, there are observable and established institutions that should never be challenged; if our social institutions are challenged or rejected, only chaos will ensue. This idea was observed by Edmund Burke, in his criticism of the French revolution (Reflections on the Revolution in France). Burke recognized the purpose of France’s monarchy and refuted the senseless and ‘savage’ revolution that had rejected it. Applying Edmund Burke’s perspective (as a critical lens) onto Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, more specifically the character Justine’s death (pg. 65-67, 83-85), we can infer that Justine’s unjust death was a consequence of Victor Frankenstein challenging the oldest institution of human existence — life and death itself.

To establish this interpretation, it’s important to take a closer look at the character Justine Moritz, and what she can represent in Frankenstein. Justine, a servant of the Frankenstein family, can be observed as the pinnacle of feminine sensibility. Justine is described as “the most grateful little creature in the world”(Shelley 66) as well being “gentle, and extremely pretty”(Shelley 67). Justine’s only acknowledged attributes are always connected to her innocence, beauty, and demeanor and nothing else. And because of Justine’s character, the validity for beauty and femininity is extended. Her charisma is of benefit to the Frankenstein family, Elizabeth even acknowledges that “if you were in an ill-humor, one glance from Justine could dissipate it”(Shelley 65). Burke himself strongly believed in the importance of beauty and femininity in society. In Reflections on the Revolutions in France Burke stresses on Marie Antoinette and her feminine mannerism, writing “with a serene patience, in a manner suited to her rank and race”(Burke 75). The established ideals of femininity have purposes, as do all other established institutions: Justine’s character was an individual who recognized and embraced these ideals, she saw her purpose as a woman in 19th century Western society and for that, she was respected. On the other hand, Victor Frankenstein was ignorant for not respecting these institutions, and because of that, he caused chaos in his personal life. Victor attempted to challenge the greatest reality of life: human mortality. Naturally, when we thing about our mortality, we accept them. Unfortunately, Victor viewed life and death as ‘ideal bounds’ and because of his ignorance, he created the creature, that filled his life with the very thing he tried rejecting — death. When applying Edmund Burke’s criticism to the death of Justine, it would have reinforced his theory on the necessity of social institutions: these social institutions are valid manifestations, and to reject them will only subject us to some unfortunate ‘unhallowed arts’.

Warren Montag’s essay, “The Workshop pf Filthy Creation’: A Marxist Reading of Frankenstein”, Montage establishes multiple arguments as to what the creature symbolizes, however, he ultimately writes that he is  “not so much the sign of the proletariat as of its unrepresentability” (480). This statement can be inferred, meaning that the creature represents not the proletariat, but he represents the fact that proletariat cannot be understood, especially when you consider the extreme social economic differences that elevated the likes of Mary Shelley, and oppressed the working class. This further draws emphasis to the inhumane differences of socioeconomic classes, as well as a further disdain for capitalism.

The position of unrepresented proletariat is first inferred when the writer established the hierarchy between Victor Frankenstein and his creation. Victor says, “A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me” (57). As Frankenstein solely created the creature for his sole benefit, so did the industrial revolution with the creation of the working class. And the tone of innocence that is present within the quote, with words such as ‘bless’, ‘happy’, and ‘excellent’ could perpetuate the naivety that people hold to the idea of “progress”.

As the story continues, the conflict between Victor and the creature intensifies. The creature says, “I expected this reception, … All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us”(92). The monster, through his sharp and dramatic word choice helps project an image of injustice: his creator subjects him to terrible punishments. And in context of Marxism, this analysis of creator/creation can be neatly applied to the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. And through careful analysis, there is some sort of foreshadowing in the quote, with “… to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us”. Equality can only be achievable through the destruction of the will of the proletariat, or the destruction of the bourgeoisie.

-Isaac Gallegos Rharry potter frankenstein

  By: Sandra Tzoc

proxyI was dumbfounded at the truth of the “monster”: Frankenstein. All these years I had been holding onto the wrong picture of Frankenstein. In my mind he was just another myth made up to scare children with no deeper meaning other than entertainment. To me- he was analogous to Jason or Dracula, just symbols of Halloween and scary stories and never did I question more than what was fed to me. Before this class, I had no knowledge about Frankenstein besides costumes and that he was a monster, product of an experiment gone wrong. However, reading and listening to Mary Shelley’s writing has given me a completely different depiction of this creature, which has urged me to see “Frankenstein” in another light. He is more human than monster, he felt alone and all he asked for was a companion to share his existence with. Interacting with others is human nature and Frankenstein wanted to partake in that, which shows how there was humanity in him. Unfortunately, since he did not get an equally grotesque companion, he let out his resentment on innocent people. Frankenstein had emotions, emotions so strong that it led him to drastic actions but in the end he was more than just a monster because he had feelings. Reading about Frankenstein has made me realize how easy it is to be blindsided by the media. Finding this new perspective has definitely urged me to seek my own truth. To question whatever is around me, because sometimes it might be easy to judge a book by its cover rather than reading it. However, it is essential to really analyze the information that is out there because it might be misleading most of the time. This version of Mary Shelley has reminded me that skepticism is essential for the path towards wisdom. I was easily fooled into thinking that Frankenstein was just a ZOMBIE, when in reality he was a creature who was drowning in melancholy and who was on the search for acceptance and comprehension. Just like many of us. Although he might have looked different that did not make him any less human.

By Isaac Gallegos Rodriguez

Mary Shelley’s gothic novel, “Frankenstein”, and it’s overall impact on our society and it’s culture is extraordinary. This is further supported by the that the majority of us are at least acquainted with the Frankenstein myth. The name “Frankenstein” conjures up images of a mad scientist, pseudoscience, and of course the monster itself. However, it is a significantly different experience reading the novel as opposed to solely relying on the myth.

Frank.The reason for this is that the myth of Frankenstein creates an inaccurate representation of the characters and their moral standings. For example, I had the preconceived notion that Victor Frankenstein was our stories protagonist, while the monster was the antagonist. In simpler words, I had believed that Victor Frankenstein was our story’s “good guy”— it was thought that although he could be described as a reckless character, his ingenuity and his good intentions would’ve been his redeeming factors. However, as we read the novel, Victor Frankenstein’s character wasn’t  improved – it was damaged.  For instance, when Victor undertook the task to reanimate dead matter he said “Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world.” This quote helped illustrate how Victor viewed himself, as a powerful creator, yet he is only a human. As the story progresses, we come to understand that this god complex is Victor’s hamartia. This lapse in moral judgement ultimately created pain and suffering, but at the expense of others— and because of Victor’s god complex and his irresponsible decisions, his image is ultimately damaged.  Consequentially, as we start to depend on the actual novel instead of the Frankenstein myth  and it’s preconceptions, a noticeable change can be seen with the monster’s character. The former myth that we had been prescribed to had dictated that the monster had been the villain of the story; this preconception is greatly challenged as we start to see that the monster is a very complex and relatable character. Throughout the story, the monster becomes less of fiend and more so a victim of prejudice and discrimination. Even the monster recognizes this injustice, saying “I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather a fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed”. The monster has a valid claim to Victor’s affection, however Victor Frankenstein continues to deny him this until the very end.

 

Therefore, after reading Mary Shelley’s novel, “Frankenstein”, our aforementioned preconceptions on the myth of Frankenstein are greatly challenged.  In this case, we see a dramatic shift in character relations and moral standings. The true victim in this tale was the monster, because as Percy Shelley wrote, “his original goodness was gradually turned into the fuel of an inextinguishable misanthropy and revenge”, due to the actions of the tale’s true monster — Victor Frankenstein.

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is an exquisitely written novel with a cast of rich characters  that explores many important themes such as the dangers of knowledge, grief, loss, and existentialism. That, at least, is what I will think of from now on when the titular name comes to mind. However, there is a completely different image ingrained within the increasingly growing and dominant world of the media, one that lacks any of the aforementioned descriptors. It looks like this:

frankenmovie

 

It has become one of the most iconic scenes in any visual medium that has been recreated countless times: the vivid scene of a mad scientist pulling a lever to the sound of a raging thunderstorm as he witnesses the very monstrosity brought to life before him before screaming “It’s alive!”. To many, this is where the famous and well-renowned tale of Frankenstein begins and ends, failing to even move beyond the table on which Frankenstein’s monster was supposedly born from. Just like that, 280 pages of one of Mary Shelly’s finest works is condensed into one three minute scene that prevails as one of Hollywood’s most inspiring scenes to this day.

it's alive

It wasn’t too long ago that my mind also occupied that image, as I’m sure it just about occupies the minds of everyone unfamiliar with the original story. However, I’m not sure I can bring myself to rely on a three minute table scene to describe the tale of Frankenstein in my mind anymore after reading the book myself. There’s just so much more than madness and lightning and maniacal laughter that more people ought to experience for themselves. Victor Frankenstein is a complex and compelling character whose journey and life is filled with tragedy and remorse. He is a vulnerable man who learns the dangers of knowledge first-hand as he flees in fear of his creation and actions rather than celebrating with glee.  The creature he ends up creating proves to be more than just a mindless monster often depicted in the media, having more will to live and learn than most humans, saying that “life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it” (93). Furthermore, there are so many other explored characters and stories within the novel that are too fleshed out to be implemented in a small table scene, such as the lives of Agatha and Felix, or the wayfaring Robert Walton on a similar journey for knowledge and discovery as Victor Frankenstein once was. Simply put, there’s so much more to explore in the mind of Mary Shelly that’s beyond the table and I’m definitely glad I was able to look.

–Jose Ramirez