Tag Archive: monsters


“How Can I Move Thee?”

Self identification is a matter in which I have very little authority in. To define oneself as surely based on their emotion is something that eludes me, but which I work harder at everyday in order to understand the Individual. The ways in which Jessica Rae Fisher and Susan Stryker struggle in becoming who they are destined to be demonstrate to me that, despite the animosity thrown their ways from the very communities that should have stood at their sides in camaraderie, inspires within the soul a sense of distress. It must be understood that the use of pronouns and the celebration of using negative terms in resistance plays an important part within the narrative that Fisher tries to make in her blog post “I am Frankenstein’s Monster: An Echo of Susan Stryker’s Call to Action.”

As both Fisher and Stryker find a sense of similarity with Victor Frankenstein’s Creature, it is important to note the use of pronoun that the Creature uses to identify as. Within the novel, there are many instances where the Creature and his creator uses the masculine pronouns he and him to describe the being. There is never an explicit passage within the confines of the novel that say, “And Victor thus created a man in his own imagination” (Despite when Victor describes the features of the Creature on pages 59-60(“His limbs were in proportion […] His yellow skin […] his hair […] his teeth)); it is through the learning that the creature endures soon after his production that he starts to define himself as a man. As Victor chose and picked many of the bones from the charnel-house and gathered many other materials from the dissecting tables and the slaughter-house, there is almost no doubt that the creature could be an amalgamation of many different fleshes from man and woman. When the creature experiences the natural world, he makes discoveries of ecology and society and literature. It is through his understandings that he identifies as man, declaring on page 93 “I ought to be thy Adam” and demanding on page 129 “a creature of another sex” which Victor believes will bear children of a new monstrous race in Africa. The Creature himself shows that he believes to be of a masculine nature, and thus adopts the pronouns that he both has had assigned to him as well as using them to describe himself.

In the case with Fisher using rage to kill with kindness, it is absolutely promoted  that she continue upon the path of most resistance, as she mirrors the plight of the Creature: “If any being felt the emotions of benevolence towards me, I should return them an hundred and an hundred fold; for that one creature’s sake, I would make peace with the whole kind” (page 129)! As both of them are on the journey to become accepted for who they truly are and to finally come into acceptance with those that can share their experience, then they must continue to pursue that dream of the day in which they can finally live in peace with the rest of mankind and not be seen as a Monstrous Creature but as a Living Being.

-Alejandro Joseph Serrano

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The Monster’s Rejection and Rage

In Susan Stryker’s essay and Jessica Rae Fisher’s response to Stryker’s essay, they make a strong connection between transgender people and Frankenstein’s monster. Initially, it may not appear that there are many similarities between transgenders and the monster, until we analyze the ways in which they are isolated and rejected from communities in which they wish to belong to and their rage as a result. Jessica expresses that as a transgender person, “The villagers refuse to accept us. We remain no more than monsters.” Stryker too, voices her feelings on her issues of gender and sexuality in saying, “I can never be a woman like other women, but I could never be a man. Maybe there really is no place for me in all creation” (246). Through this we can see both Frankenstein’s creature and the transgender people are forced to be labeled as “monsters” because of their struggles to fit in with societal and gender norms and as a result, their rage. The creature explains, “my feelings were those of rage and revenge” (121), and Stryker responds to this in saying, “May your rage inform your actions, and your actions transform you as you struggle to transform your world” (254).

In the novel, the creature explains to Frankenstein its initial confusion of its identity saying, “It is with considerable difficulty that I remember the original era of my being: all the events of that period appear confused and indistinct” (95). The creature further expresses his confusion saying, “I had never yet seen a being resembling me, or who claimed any intercourse with me. What was I?” (110). Through this we can see the many ways in which the creature relates to the transgender community. It is then left for us to wonder why might Frankenstein have created his creature as such? Perhaps it was Victor’s own personal issues with his sexual identity. While the creature was never explicitly said to be a male, as Frankenstein encounters his creation in Mont Blanc, he says, “He bounded over the crevices in the ice, among which I had walked with caution; his stature, also, as he approached, seemed to exceed that of a man” (92), referring to the creature with male pronouns he/his, but how would we know for sure if the creature is a male, female, or non-binary? There is no way to know for sure, which would then suggest Jessica’s thoughts on the use of neo-pronouns because it differs from what is usual or normal, encouraging them to embrace who transgender people and Frankenstein’s creature are as monsters.

-Serena Ya

By: Katherine Hernandez

In the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, there is the undertone of gender ambiguity with the main character Victor Frankenstein. In our class we have already discussed the differences in social classes, feminism and even the role science plays in the novel, however as we delve into the core problems Shelley was trying to evoke, the question arises; how do all of these things tie together? From early stages in the novel, we can see that Victor possesses a passion towards the sciences; specifically the ability to create life. When discussing this desire, as a class, we decided to call this “womb envy.” Victor is envious of the fact that he is not able to create life with his male anatomy thus delves himself into science and his studies in order to create “the monster” we all know. Victor Frankenstein often struggles with himself to find a sense of inner peace. When plagued by dreams of his dead wife Elizabeth morphing into the decaying corpse of his dead mother, his ever-present ‘mommy issues’ is the first things that come to mind, however, his pursuit for beauty is the pinnacle of what he truly desires. Victor showed little to no emotions when the death of his beloved wife, Elizabeth occurred, could it be that she was just a surrogate for his dream to bare life? Once Victor created life on his own, without her, she was no longer the pawn he needed in order to fulfill his “womb envy.” And all those who are aware of the literary correctness of the novel by differentiating who Frankenstein is and who the monster is; is it possible that we have been calling Frankenstein, the scientist, the monster because we believe he is so, even if it is unconsciously.

Susan Stryker makes an interesting appeal when discussing the monster’ in the novel Frankenstein. Claiming that as a person who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community there must be a way for them to take back such words such as “monster” or “freak” when others use them against them in a derogatory manner. What is interesting is the fact that she like many others not only in our society but also in our class associate the monster with what Victor Frankenstein created, and there are similarities that Stryker brings up that compares a transgender person and “the monster.” Just like in the novel, many people in the trans community find themselves alienated by people and communities that should be their allies, they also both faced the terrible adversary that at times makes it hard if not impossible to grow. However, the question arises; just like in Frankenstein the creature was referred to a monster many times, even by Victor himself even though he created it and it is because of ignorance. Just like in the transgender community and the LGBTQ+ community, many of these derogatory slurs are thrown around because of ignorance that is present in our society. So, I must ask Stryker, who is the real monster? People trying to define themselves in whichever way makes them comfortable for people who are blinded by their ignorance?

Victor’s preoccupation with science is immediately obvious at the beginning of the story. We all know that he is intent on accomplishing the impossible because he feels like he is the one person who can achieve it. Victor’s ego aside however, the idea that science can and will conquer the natural, is one shared by many Enlightenment thinkers of the time. Enlightenment era thinkers saw science as a study that should not be grounded in emotion but instead logic and an almost clinical detachment. This generally has been and is regarded as “good” science , not “bad” science,  even by today’s standards. Anne K. Mellor however exposes this separation as perhaps not so “good” after all because Victor is the prime example of where seemingly “good” science has instead revealed itself to be the opposite. Mellor explains that Mary Shelley “substituted for Davy’s complacent image of the happy scientist living in harmony with both his community and himself the frightening image of the alienated scientist working in feverish isolation, cut off both physically and emotionally from his family, friends, and society” and in doing so Victor serves as an example of where this practice of detachment in science is in fact negatively affecting not only the scientist himself but also all those around them. This science effectively becomes negative as “detached from a respect for nature and from a strong sense of moral responsibility for the products of one’s research, purely objective thought and scientific experimentation can and do produce monsters” so Victor’s actions could have only ended in a creation that was by all rights monstrous. Not only does this suggest that Victor personally was doomed from the start to create something that could only be destructive and inherently “bad” but it also implies that the purposeful decision to separate oneself from science is the wrong approach. If scientists separate themselves from everything in their pursuit of knowledge then everything they are likely to produce as a result of this pursuit will be tainted by the very objectivity they felt was necessary to discover it in the first place.

The isolation creates monsters essentially and in Victor’s case that is entirely true. Furthermore, not only does the isolation contribute to the monstrous qualities of the creation but Victor’s desire to circumvent Nature’s course also participates in the making of the monstrous. Victor “has further increased the monstrousness of his creation by making a form that is both larger and more simple than a normal human being” and this serves as one of the many examples in Victor is going against the natural order of things. This is another way in which monsters can only be created and is a type of science that “manipulate[s] and control[s] rather than describ[ing], understand[ing], and rever[ing] nature.” So Victor in trying to circumvent nature has proven that science is used in a manipulative manner that it shouldn’t be. Science should not be a tool used to get around Nature and her order of things but that is how it is used. Every time that it is used in this way the results is monstrous.

The female is not what creates monster but the male.

By Diana Lara.

Upon reading Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein, I held various images and judgements about this story. For example, the creature is created by scientist Victor Frankenstein and possesses no exact name, which is a common misconception prior to reading Shelly’s work. Throughout one’s childhood, one is introduced to this creature as a wild, inhumane monster who has no true perspective on the world and lives blindly. This perception is quickly debunked after reading the novel, for Frankenstein’s creation holds his own perspective on what the world around him is, and understands the dangers which lie within societies.

Furthermore, the audience is forced to empathize with this “monster”, who is more human than we would like to admit. The audience comes to the realization that this creature possesses human qualities, which allows the reader to relate to the emotions felt by this creature. Frankenstein’s human-like creation is viewed as a being with no true intuition or internal morals, but we soon realize the creature contains the same characteristics that humans do. Although Frankenstein’s creation has the ability to react and live like a civilized individual, he is soon forced to become involved in dangerous acts of violence and destruction. These actions take place as a result of his daunting physical appearance and abnormal size, which makes the “monster” unable to conform to normal standards of living within a society. Prior to reading Shelly’s work, people are led to believe that the creature is innately cruel and evil, when in reality he is only reacting to the judgements and cruelties of society in the only way he knows how. Without being properly taught the rules and intricacies of civilization, the creature displays his anger and frustration through inhumane acts of physical violence, which ultimately leads to the death of his creator, Frankenstein.

After reading Shelly’s novel, I clearly see the misconceptions about this story and how society has shaped people’s perspectives of the “monster”. The creature is depicted and illustrated in a way that does not accurately represent the intentions and true desire of the creature. Through this novel, I have created my own conclusion about this creature and understand his actions towards the individuals in his life.

-Cathryn Flores

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By: Leena Beddawi

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, readers are told an emotional tale of self-discovery, one that arguably seems more human than the average coming-of-age story found ever so innovative. This has to do with the fact that this was an entirely new way to delve into the intersections of the human experience, bringing science and philosophy together, and how that contributes to the development of said characters as well as how one perseveres anything they find “other” to their “normal” as a barbaric way of thinking and feeling. In reality, the creature merely wanted to be understood, accepted, and loved.

Frankenstein.gif

You take this novel at pure face value, humans began placing somewhere among the horror/thriller section, merely because it contains a “monster” who has a path of destruction in his wake almost anywhere he goes. In reality, when we hear the actual perspective of said monster, we see all the misconceptions our culture has strewn onto us.

This novel is not that of a horror or thriller, but a tale of one’s journey to self and environmental consciousness. The creature taught themselves everything through watching people live their daily lives, from simple to complex; such as acceptance, tolerance, hatred, language, empathy, economic inequality, power dynamics, social standards, and even gender roles.

One of the most touching parts of the creature’s story, for me, is when they first encounters a painful bone-chilling cold, and when the sun began to shine down upon them, however “surprised by the novelty of such sensations… [they] still dared to be happy”(186).

Before reading this book, the only idea I had of it was what the myth or legend was told, that Victor Frankenstein was a mad scientist who went rouge and started creating this big, and sub-human. This pre-conception of the misconstrued maverick has almost everything to do with the subconscious attitude we still have over people who do not look exactly “normal” in a very subjective opinion.

Truly, the deeper we get to know the creature Frankenstein created, the more we feel ourselves projected onto them, almost as if we are all still learning and growing as individuals all the same, while some only get a different reaction due to their own physical appearance, rather than what is in their hearts.

frankenstein

Wendolin Gutierrez

Prior to reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s monster was presented to me primarily in two lights: as a lumbering creature lacking cognitive skills and as a fiend driven a desire for violence. I was very surprised to read that the “monster” is well-spoken, understands his emotions, and more importantly is able to reason— much like us humans. Reflecting on the view I had of the creature before reading the novel and the similar preconceptions other students had, I wondered why the intellectual characteristics of the monster aren’t the first traits people associate with him. I soon realized it boiled down to man’s pride of being the only creature capable of reason and our refusal to acknowledge our own monstrous traits and capabilities.

Although Frankenstein’s monster lacked important abilities, like speech and literacy, in the beginning of his new life and proved aggressive in a number of instances, he eventually educated himself and displayed kindness to the De Lacey family, demonstrating that he is not one-dimensional. Instead, the creature possesses these traits, those that I previously had of him, and many more just as humans express a variety of emotions and can be wise or foolish in various settings. However, we still choose to look at Frankenstein’s monster from narrow perspectives and disregard his dynamic likeness to us. I believe that these limited views come from what is considered “monster.”

People usually associate “monster” with “inhuman” or “abnormal,” specifically in appearance but the term can also be applied when describing behavior. While many would consider Lurch, the Addams family’s butler, a monster for his physical appearance, Adolf Hitler can be classified as a monster for the millions of deaths committed under his orders. What these individuals share that categorizes them as “monsters” are their divergence from the idea of “normal, functioning humans.” Lurch doesn’t look like a regular human so he is not, just as Hitler’s repulsive actions, that would not be committed by a regular person, dismiss him of his humanity.

Frankenstein’s monster’s ignorance and anger have been singled out and exaggerated in the popular culture I have been exposed to as too ignorant or overly aggressive to be able to reason and be human. By focusing on his stupidity, the “monster” would not have the mental capacity to think critically and make conscious decisions. If he is only driven by anger and violence, the creature cannot consider all possible consequences as he will always choose to react with violence. Nevertheless, we see in Shelley’s novel that he can reason and reflect on the situations he is placed in, just as we humans pride ourselves so much on. This negativity, almost repulsiveness, applied to certain traits of Frankenstein’s creation feeds man’s ego as a superior being that distances itself from these “monstrous” associations. However, the “monster” in Shelley’s novel blurs the line between monster and human, demonstrating we might not be as reasonable as we believe.

It was on a dreary night of April, that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With hesitating anxiety, I arranged my thoughts around me, that I might infuse a spark of intellect into the lifeless blog that lay on my screen. It was three in the morning; the mechanical hum of the adjacent laundry room resonated miserably against the fluorescent bulbs in the study room. My machine’s battery had nearly died, when, with a click, I saw the dull words of my post flicker onto the screen.

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineated the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavored to write? The sentences were grammatically correct, and I had chosen words as intelligent. Intelligent! — Great God! The clunky prose scarcely covered the half of the screen; the relevant tags at the end of the post could not possibly illustrate properly the conventions of my post. The blog layout was well-formed, but this luxuriance only formed a more horrid contrast with the disastrous and unbecoming words that snaked down the page, suckling away any intellectual value from the post seemingly at once.

The different accidents of academia are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. I had worked hard for nearly an hour, for the sole purpose of growing the boundaries of human thought and expanding the well of knowledge so that my peers might bathe in its waters. For this I had deprived myself rest and a meal swipe. I had desired the reward of high marks with an ardor that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the lustrous dream of an infallible transcript vanished before my very eyes, retreating into the darkest recesses of the internet. Unable to endure the aspect of the post I had created, I hurriedly shut my browser. I threw myself on my dorm room cot in my clothes, endeavoring to seek refuge in sleep. But my attempts were in vain, as I tossed and turned in my bedchamber as the agonizing thoughts of my failures tortured my brain.

When I did sleep, I was disturbed by the wildest dreams. I thought I saw my future diploma, the manifestation of my academic success, in good condition on my study wall. Delighted and surprised, I approached it, but as I reached out to at last embrace my good fortune, it became livid with the hue of failure, and to my palms it gave a searing pain. Its form appeared to change, and as it modified, it captured my wrists in the unbreakable snare of handcuffs and rope. What I had so long desired had become the bondage that now held me captive. As I studied the freshly open wounds of my bound wrists, ink appeared to seep out of my injuries and form writing on the ground below me — tantalizingly close, yet a fog shrouded the words so that I could not decipher them.

I started from my sleep with horror; a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and every limb convulsed; when, by the dim and fluorescent light of my phone, as it forced its way into my consciousness, I beheld a notification on my blog — the failure I was responsible for. The email opened, and it presented some incomprehensible information to me. It might have said something, but I did not read. I was aware of only one letter that was present on the screen — C+ — which appeared to reach out to me, seemingly to mock me for my trespasses on academia. I recoiled, and quitted my phone, and fled into my covers. I took refuge under my sheets, where I remained during the rest of the night, languishing in the agony of my creation.

Review (in the form of an ‘author forward’)

For this project I wanted to do something that everyone in the class could relate to and would also find enjoyable to read. So after thinking long and hard about experiences we might share as a class, I decided the only experience we all must be familiar with is the task of writing a post for our class blog. In many senses, the blog is a bit like Frankenstein’s monster — a collection of many different parts, dug up from each of our minds. I wanted to also convey the sense of struggle that most of us feel as we pursue our higher education. Certainly there are worse fates to fall victim to than that of the overworked college student. However, at times it does feel as though our obligations for school are controlling our lives, and not the other way around, as it should be. The plight of the college student is both humorous and relatable, and in context, it was easy to frame and represent through the creation of one of our blog posts.

Stylistically, I quite literally took Shelley’s passage on Victor’s creation scene, systematically broke it down word by word, and re-wrote it in a way that would fit our experience. Certain sentences are almost identical to Shelley’s work (done on purpose, not out of laziness!) while others only echo the original text. I tried to use the same arcane-sounding literary style that was the popular style of writing when Shelley was around. It actually ended up being pretty fun to do, and as I have found, inserting words and phrases similar to the dramatic, verbose tone Shelley uses can actually be quite humorous when juxtaposed with modern or otherwise silly concepts.