Tag Archive: nature


Frankenstein Fired Up

When looking at Frankenstein through an ecocritical lens, there are issues subtly presented regarding the climate of the time and place in which the novel is set. The climate during this time was so severely cold that those years were referred to as the “Year(s) without a Summer.” Undisturbed by these climate issues however, the characters in the novel continue to manipulate nature, mainly through the creation of the creature. The issues that result from this is only acknowledged after great damage and destruction is already done. In this way, the novel foreshadows our current climate issues in America and more specifically, now, in California, warning us that climate is and always will be an issue that should be addressed before any severe damage is done. Unfortunately, today California is battling major wildfires that can very much be connected to climate change issues, and while some of these issues may be unpreventable, it is important that we educate ourselves and do what we can to help in any way we can and prevent further disaster.

-Serena Ya

A Plea for Change

An ecocritical interpretation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in today’s modern day, can help lead us to see the dangers of our denial regarding climate change. The idea that Victor Frankenstein created a powerful and dangerous being, chose to set it free into the world and completely ignore it – with no regard for the repercussions caused by his unnatural being – can act as a warning to man regarding what happens when they choose to ignore man-made catastrophes and in this case, we can view that man-made catastrophe as climate change. The weather changes we see within the novel would have been as much of a warning to audiences then as they can be now considering our climate has only worsened since then. Therefore, through the weather change and imbalance of it that Shelley described in the novel, we can conclude that there were subtle but alarming warnings regarding the change in weather and in an ecocritical interpretation we can argue that she included these warnings as a plea to humans to not ignore what they had caused. We can learn from the novel that we must acknowledge the way our behaviors and actions can upend the natural state of our earth and instead of ignoring the results of our doing we must act in order to reverse what we caused and assure that we won’t let the catastrophe go any further.

-Beverly Miranda

 

One As Nature

An ecocritical interpretation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein teaches us that although climate change can be the result of environmental processes, we, as natural beings, must acknowledge ourselves as part of the natural world and recognize the power of our activities that disrupt and change the state of the earth in order to prevent its destruction. While the climate conditions described in the novel and during Shelley’s production of the text were likely the result of the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815, and not a man-made dilemma, the creation of the Creature was because of Victor and manipulation of the natural world. The monster who, while put together by a man, is an amalgamation of various bits of humans, a biological product of the natural world, is not distressed by the icy conditions facing Europe in the summer, unlike Victor who often describes the natural world as intimidating, like the Alps just as he does with his creation and classifies these dangers as innate qualities, rather than the possible result of his actions. It is through this dissociation from the natural world that some individuals in the present, when faced with environmental crises like recent megafires in California, refuse to consider the effects the human population has had on the nature for these disasters to arise, just as Victor affected nature in his mistreatment of the monster, despite scientific evidence of it. Because these people reject to realize they themselves are natural components of the environment and evade their role in its declining status, like Victor runs from his fear of the monster, they do not see their actions to be blamed for the chaos that goes around them and, as a result, do not find need to change their practices to correct these issues. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein teaches that we, as products of nature, have influence on it’s well-being, as much as volcanic eruptions or other inevitable phenomena, and must become like Frankenstein’s monster in acknowledging that link in order to realize when we have caused the world damage to mend it and our own faults.

-Wendy Gutierrez

Nature’s Funeral

On the basis of what we have already discussed in class about how Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein can be connected to the environmental crisis that was and still is happening in the world. We can definitely see the parallels between the climate change crisis that occurred when Shelley wrote her novel and present day. However, the difference is that in Shelley’s time, nature was left to do its own thing, meanwhile in present day, we are the ones who have instigated the damage. So how and why has our interest in nature shifted from attempting to protect it to destroying it for our own benefit. Despite the fact that in Shelley’s time the climate was the exact opposite of today’s it is interesting to see that the climate would have such an impact on her writing. Had that climate crisis not occurred during Shelley’s time would her novel ever have been born? How would we be living differently if the fires weren’t raging on in present day? Or better yet, how will these environmental crisis’ influence other writers to write their own novels? One can only wish these events go down in history so that future generations can learn from our mistakes and understand the importance of caring for our home.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

How Dangerous is Knowledge?

Frankenstein makes a lot more sense when looking at it through an ecocritical lens. The creature is an unnatural creation without a mother. The creature is crazy and dangerous. which is a whole metaphor for what happens when you try to control mother nature. But we also have to look at what was going on when Mary Shelley wrote the novel. During this time period, the Year Without a Summer was occurring because they literally had no summer for years. Mary Shelley has two quotes that stick out to me through a ecocritical point of view.

How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to be greater than his nature will allow.

If our impulses were confined to hunger, thirst, and desire, we might be nearly free; but now we are moved by every wind that blows and a chance word or scene that that word may convey to us.

both quotes have roughly the same meaning. How much knowledge is too much? And when does too much knowledge become dangerous? The answer for both is a scary one, we just don’t know yet. The second quotes is a reflection on technology and how far we can push it before we feel the push back. It is a commentary on how science is helpful but can be dangerous if misused.

–  Andres Quezada

Let Us Breathe

By: Jocelyn Lemus

CA fire pic

When referring to the ecocritical lens, one may not think of the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. The way she uses her abilities of writing to hide the true meanings is very significant. To elaborate, the way the novel relate to the ecocritical lens because just like nature the creature in the novel are unpredictable. They don’t say much from how they look but when one pays attention to it they are left speechless. When Shelley decided to write this novel she lived during child nights and days without the absence of training.  This is important because the experience one goes through manipulates one’s mindset when it comes to focusing on writing. To add on, what I am trying to connect this with are the fires happening in California. This demonstrates how nature can get out of control without one’s ability to control its purpose. As humans, we are given the potential so fix these problems. However, we do not use our resources wisely. This connects with the creature in the novel because Victor was responsible for creating the chaos around for manipulating nature to his project. One must be awaken when it comes to considering world problems.

Unforeseen

Interpreting Frankenstein through an ecocritical perspective, makes the parallels between our current environmental epidemic, and that of Mary Shelley’s apparent.  As discussed in class Mary Shelley lived in Switzerland during a period where it was constantly raining, even during the warmer months when rain was not expected. Our current situation here in California is similar to Mary Shelley’s, just opposite. We are currently caught in the midst of these harshly large land fires, that along with it brings bad air quality. In the middle of November this is not expected. This situation connects to Frankenstein in the sense that not everything is expected. For example, Victor created this new species thinking that he would have complete control over the creature and using them for his own benefits. That whole idea completely backfired on him and the creature brought more danger to society. Nature and Frankenstein connected with each other in the sense that they are both unpredictibale. Nature is a force that humans can’t completely manipulate, and control and most importantly it is a force that can strike at any given moment.

~Dariana Lara

Mary Shelley lived through the non-stop rain in Switzerland, where it was always cold and people could be seen wearing big coats all the time. Currently we are in the month of November where it should be colder and raining, but instead, it is a month of fires. The fires are so bad that the air is considered unhealthy for us to be in.  In Frankenstein, we see how the creature is a representation of how nature is unpredictable, and how if we do nothing and ignore the signs it could be a danger for all. We are representations of Victor, in how we realized that we were wrong, we cannot control nature. Nature does what it wants, when it wants, such as the creature does by committing all the murders he does.

-Alina Cantero

Science gone too far?

In Anne Mellor’s essay, “A Feminist Critique of Science”, Anne Mellor draws some comparisons between scientists who attempt to manipulate nature and Victor Frankenstein who pretty much does the same in Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein. Anne Mellor mentions that nature should never be manipulated in science, and should always be respected and constantly accounted for when conducting experiments. However, these rules are broken when Victor’s obsession of giving birth becomes reality. He unconsciously oppresses sexual politics by “giving birth” without a woman in the natural process of sexual reproduction, and instead does it through science, which “reverses the evolutionary ladder described by Darwin” (Mellor, 6).  Victor’s belief in its power to control nature and give birth break the limits of nature in science. Through the quote “penetrate the secrets of nature” (46), we can view this as an indicator of his view of nature in comparison to his view for humans, specifically men. Evidently, he does not care to use others, even dead people, for his advantage. Never did he seem sorry or regretful for borrowing from the dead, which again shows his indifference towards the less powerful aspects of nature. Ann Mellor states that the acts Victor commits are, “The embodiment of hubris…. [and his] blasphemous attempts to fear asunder the sacred mysteries of nature,” are asked against femininity and the sexuality itself thus questioning Victors’ whole sexual spectrum.” His obsession of giving birth can even be interpreted as Victor’s secret sexual preferences. Some readers can also see this as Victor unconsciously wanting to be a female, rather than male.  His actions give the reader many assumptions, but one for sure was a sense of desperation of some sort. In essence, Victor manipulates nature in a way he shouldn’t have, only to prove his engagement in oppressive sexual politic beliefs.

Image result for anne mellor mary shelley

Anne Mellors in “A Feminist Critique of Science” is critique through the lens of a perspective of a feminine as she establishes that nature should never be manipulated nor controlled in the scientific field, but instead be mindful and aware when performing experiments. Yet this is not seen in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” as Victor Frankenstein oversteps the line between science and nature unconsciously as his ambition and arrogance leads him through this path which leads him to give birth to a life form.

Victor Frankenstein is unconsciously being unjust to “nature” by having a bias towards women. The time period and social context of the story is a great significance. The novel takes place in the 18th century when the idea of “traditional” gender roles was still prevailing, which is reflected as Victor mind never comes across this thought as it is a social norm. The main character, Victor is unconscious about his actions as his focus on his field of study has him occupied as he asserts, “The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine. Curiosity, earnest research to learn the hidden laws of nature, gladness akin to rapture, as they were unfolded to me, are among the earliest sensations I can remember” (Shelley 43). Victor begins with the word “secret”, stating that he was kept away from this information and now has the “desire” obtain and gain this knowledge. The word “divine” is mentioned and usually holds a definition of relating to God, but in the novel, Victor uses the word with the definition of discovery and understanding. Further leading to his mind being occupied with his desire to learn he aware pursues the “hidden law of nature” which Mellors says are that people should be mindful of and not look into the “hidden” as it will lead to a person exceeding to what she calls “good science” and “bad science”. His “earliest sensation” gave him a taste of the physical awareness who he finds with excited and addicted as he goes on to create life with the creature without a thought of the consequences. Here is what Mellor declares that“the scientist who analyses, manipulates, and attempts to control nature unconsciously engages in a form of oppressive sexual politics” (12). Victor then proceeds to create a male creature without being conscious of his action. The sexual politics here is a social norm that is engulfed with a society willing to accept the way women during this time are viewed as inferior when compared to men.

Victors ambitious to have glory is set which sets forward an attempt to be this “God-like” figure with an attempt to control nature. Victor reveals that “if I could banish disease from the human frame and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death!” (Shelley 47) Proclaiming that he will then alter nature itself which Mellor is firmly against. The creature holds a representation of how he was able to make “man invulnerable” as he brings pieces of human part back to life. Therefore, he does succeed in manipulating “nature” and becomes a form of a “God”. He uses a jubilant tone to assert that he will personally accomplish this and have an everlasting effect on humanity. Because of the success of his experiment, he will accelerate evolution which is supposed to happen over a time, he is able to have an organic life form and have a sexual selection. The penetration of nature leads him to give life in an unusual more way rather than the pure way which is a mother giving birth. Upon him giving life to a creature he eliminates the female role in sexual reproduction and now is controlled by a male. The female will, therefore, be cast aside and no longer have any control over what is supposed decision made by two people. Asserting man as the dominant gender.

Levit Martinez