Tag Archive: rank


         -An imitation of the passage in Chapter 13 on page 108-109

     “The books from which Felix instructed Safie were George Orwell’s 1984 and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. I should not have understood the significance of these books had not Felix, in reading them, described the magnitude of the ideas implicated by the novels. Through these works, I obtained a rudimentary understanding of the history and ideology behind the most infamous socialist nations of the past and present. I heard from Orwell of the social rigidity and homogeneity of Oceania and from Solzhenitsyn’s writings I heard of the avaricious and recreant Soviets and Felix even told of the cruelty of Chairman Mao in the People’s Republic of China. I heard of the collectivization of farms under Joseph Stalin and I wept with Safie over the hapless fate of the destitute kulaks.”

“ These wonderful narrations inspired me with strange feelings. Was man, indeed, at once so innovative, so virtuous, and conscientious, yet so brutal, envious, and insatiable? He appeared at one time a mere mouthpiece of an evil ideology, and at another as all that can be conceived as fair and compassionate. To be a merciful and just man appeared the highest honour that can befall man; to be envious and brutal, as many on record have been, appeared the lowest degradation, a condition more pitiful than that of the blind bat or harmless dove. For a long time I could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or why there were laws and governments put in place to assist such actions; but when I heard of how envy of the wealthy was being masked as compassion for the poor, my wonder ceased, and I turned away with abhorrence and a feeling of injustice.”

“Every conversation of the cottagers now exposed new forms of malevolence to me. While I listened to the instructions which Felix bestowed upon the Arabian, the strange system of socialist society was explained to me. I heard of the government’s ownership of property, of equal wealth for all regardless of occupation; of rigidity, groupthink, and malevolence.

The words induced me to turn towards myself. I learned that the purpose for such socialist systems was for the equivalence of power and wealth. A man should only be respected if he expressed compassion for those who found themselves at the bottom of any hierarchy and contempt for those who have succeeded much of their own accord. Thus, man was doomed to waste his powers to bestow uniform riches for all people. And so what was my place in this society? Of my creation and creator, I was absolutely ignorant, but I knew that I possessed no capital, no companions, no kind of property. Was I then to receive the pity and compassion of man or would I merely bear witness to the eradication of any man, who in any of his various identities, was considered a tyrant; I was not even of the same nature as man. I was more agile than they and could subsist upon coarser diet; I bore the extremes of heat and cold with less injury to my frame; my stature far exceeded theirs. In these attributes, I knew that I was superior to man, yet with regards to my capital I was an inferior being. What was I then? Was I, then, a victim, a child to be cared for, from which all people empathized with and whom all men pitied? Or was I then an oppressor, a taskmaster to be exterminated from the face of the Earth, from whom all men despised and envied.

I cannot describe to you the agony that these reflections inflicted upon me: I tried to rationalize the reasons for which such system would function without such pathology, but the more I tried to rationalize such ideas, the more I realized the incoherence of such ideas. Should I then separate myself from the society of man, ensuring my survival and evading my inevitable dishonest obliteration from the face of this Earth?

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

            Regarding my short parody, I choose to imitate the structure and formal aspects of the passage on page 108-109 of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. This passage depicted the creature learning all about human history and the nature of human society in the present; He does this by listening in to Felix’s conversations with Safie as he attempts to teach her how to speak the same language as him. In reading this passage I realized that it often discussed aspects of capitalist based societies as being evil and in some senses unfair. This insinuation of the evils of capitalism is mentioned through constant mentions of a “division of property, of immense wealth” and of higher “rank” being attributed to those who had more money. In attempting to recreate this passage for a modern audience, I reflected on the constant recurrence of the espousals of socialist ideals and of the degradation of capitalism that I hear on a constant basis. Thus, I decided to use this parody as an admonition of the adoption of socialist ideals. Far too often I see the espousal of socialist ideals often grounded in the name of compassion without the recognition of the dangers that socialism has presented throughout history. While socialism is often masked by compassion, it often is motivated by the envy of those who succeed in a free market capitalist system and because of this socialism in many different variations and in different times throughout history has resulted in the mass genocide of those often seen as successful. Furthermore, those people who more recently have embraced the ideas of socialism are those ideologues – usually on the extremes of the political spectrum- who adopt a small number of incoherent irrational axioms to live their life by and center their belief systems around. Because of this adherence to ideologies and social systems based on faulty axioms, I found it incredibly important to broadcast the dangers of socialism. In keeping true to the original passage, I kept the original structure, form, and used similar language to that in the original passage. The original passage began with the creature learning about history from the teachings of Safie by Felix and in my parody, this remains true except he learns of the socialist dictators of the past and portrayed in novels. In this teaching, I chose to use George Orwell’s 1984 and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago to be the novels from which the creature and Safie learn from. This is because Orwell’s novel emphasizes the dangers of groupthink and of the danger of centralizing power in the government while Solzhenitsyn’s novel focuses on the horrors and tragedies that people- usually those with even a modicum of wealth- experienced during the Russian Revolution.  Next, the creature reflects on how man can value such high moral principles yet simultaneously act against them and in my parody I kept similar dialogue but made the dialogue apply in the context of a degeneration of socialism. Finally, the creature speaks of fundamental aspects of human society with an insinuation of an aversion to capitalism and thus in my parody, I used the same structure in my criticism of socialism. Overall, my goal in this project was to convey a caution against the adoption of socialist ideals often adopted in our modern society through a comparably similar imitation of the original passage.

-Steven Gonzalez

December 5, 2018

By: Sandra Tzoc

In “Frankenstein”, Mary Shelley writes about the creaturescapegoat‘s gruesome actions one which includes the ploy that eventually leads to Justine’s execution. This is a very questionable scene because Victor is well aware that Justine is not behind the murder of William however, he does not voice the truth and in the end, Justine pays the consequences. This raises questions as to why Victor stayed quiet, perhaps the answer is: he felt guilty. Through Burke’s eyes it is possible for it to be that way. In his writing Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke repels anything abstract, anything that is not in order. He condemned the French Revolution because he thought individuality was foolish and that the revolution would eventually translate into an anarchy. Burke states: “[prejudice] renders a man’s virtue his habit”, moreover that prejudice would act as a guide to every “man”. Burke was a man who preferred to believe in mainstream ideas even if they were prejudice because he thought that a person’s individual thoughts could not compare.

This is important to note as Burke believed in submissive women and found beauty in their obedience to the state and church. Burke valued class and order and the French Revolution dismantled this rank thus, destroying his perception of beauty. He would probably be proud of Victor and his silence because although Victor was foul for staying quiet, Justine would simply be an offering to the state, to Victor, to the men. Furthermore, she was a servant who was below Victor and Burke would probably care less about her execution given that she was lower class. The prejudice that Victor used against Justine could possibly be presented in the form of scapegoating. He projected all his feelings of guilt onto Justine and let her take the blame for what he had created. He could not possibly come forward to say the truth, that the creature was to blame, because then that would mean he himself was a culprit.

justine2

I find Justine’s death rather interesting, whilst reading the passages regarding her I noticed a few things. On page 66 when Elizabeth describes Justine in her letter to Victor she says, “‘…and I recollect you once remarked that if you were in an ill-humour, one glance form Justine could dissipate it, for the same reason that Aristo gives concerning the beauty of Angelica—she looked so frank-hearted and happy.’” When I read this, I automatically thought of the fact that Elizabeth basically devalues Justine and her personality and just makes her out to be one thing—pretty. The first thing that comes to mind when she thinks of Justine is her beauty. She is objectified, and everything that the reader comes to learn about her is automatically forgotten or disregarded because the only thing that matters when it comes to her is her beauty. This reminded me of Mary Wollstonecraft’s essay where she says society—specifically men have taught women that they were created by God to only be pretty. And because they were created to only be beautiful they don’t need to bother with things like “truth, fortitude, and humanity,” which are “within the rigid pale of manly morals…” (47).

In her essay, Wollstonecraft is basically trying to argue that women should not just be regarded as objects used for pleasure or aesthetic purposes. Instead, they should revolutionize and show the world that they are capable of anything they want to do, and should be held as equal to males. They should not be seen as a “lower class” just because they are women, they should also not be seen as lesser or inferior to men because of their gender. Their gender is not something that should hold them down in the eyes of society. Instead it should be something that uplifts them and empowers them to progress in the world. Because they are just as capable as men are when it comes to having certain characteristics or doing certain things.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Mary Wollstonecraft’s text highlights her intolerance for the church as well as the classifications of class and rank in society. In regards to women and their treatment, she is dissatisfied because they are valued more through the idea of beauty than through their intelligence or morals.  Her views are intertwined and seen in her daughter’s novel Frankenstein, specifically through the character Justine and her unjust death. In order to understand Justine’s situation we must remember that Victor’s creature is the one who framed her for his crime. This supports Wollstonecraft’s view that men can’t be trusted and only care about themselves since they are “men who have no titles to sacrifice,” (49) The creature loathed Justine because she was beautiful and normal, which overshadowed the fact that she was of low status. Where was chivalry when Justine could have been saved by Victor’s confession or when the creature was planning to escape the consequences if his own crime? It was nowhere because the men valued themselves more than an innocent woman. frankenstein08.jpg (560×777)

Justine reveals that she is threatened with “excommunication and hell fire in her last moments.” (83) by her confessor. Here we can see how Justine is being deeply influenced by the church, so much that she fears what will come after death more than being charged for a crime or the act of death itself. She has been made to believe her life is meaningless if she does not conform to the ways of the church, when in reality the church is nothing but a group of over religious men who do as they please. Being aware of her innocence is not enough to keep her safe. However, it’s easy to see that if she were a man, Victor for example, her guilt would have been immediately questioned if charged with murder. In contract to Justine, Victor was an intelligent, educated man…to most. As a woman with no outstanding education or valued status, it was easy to place the crime on Justine. In relation to Wollstonecraft’s views, now that Justine’s beauty was tainted she was of no use to the church or society, even though her good reputation from Elizabeth and little education should have been enough to save her from injustice in a fair society.

By Galilea Sanchez