Tag Archive: reality


By Jade Graham

 

-Located in the Saville Family Archives-
From the desk of Margaret Saville
Date: December 4, 1799

Robert and I were close, especially when we were younger. He was always wandering off to the nearby forest where we lived as kids, while I always had my nose in a book. Eventually, he would come back and tell me his findings. Usually, it involved woodland creatures and his attempts to interact with them. I always believed them to be silly tales he told to amuse me. After he was finished telling me his stories, I would tell him the book I had read that day. Reading was my way of experiencing adventure, and Robert quite often enjoyed my retelling of the interesting novels I read.

As we got older and we both were dedicated to our studies, we kept in touch through letters. I was focused in England and Robert was continuously changing school to another school. One day, I got a letter out of the blue from him saying he was planning an expedition to the North Pole and leaving his studies behind. I inquired as to why he would make a decision so drastically. It made me think back to when we were younger and his forest journeys.

He used to say he wanted to change the world with a great adventure one day. In his letter, he reasoned that this expedition was a fine idea and how he was fully capable of seeing it through. Robert desired the knowledge that others did not possess in universities. I did not believe when my brother informed me of going through with this expedition that it would go well. The North Pole is dangerous and not like the woods he used to explore as a child.

I wondered if mother and father knew of Robert’s intentions. However, there is very little they could have done to stop him. Once Robert set his mind on something, he was driven by ambition to get the task done. If only they knew what I knew now. I haven’t heard from Robert in a few months, the letters have stopped. I’m terrified that something else has occurred since his last letter where he revealed the last part of Victor Frankenstein’s story with his creation. Even the word, “creation” is still appalling to read in his letters. What a story!

If this is to be truthful, then science has forever been altered. The events that have taken place the past few years, if real are fascinatingly terrifying. But a question lingers in my mind most nights, preventing sleep. Is it better for the world to know of the creature and his creator’s tale or let the world continue? With this knowledge my brother, as well as myself, now have… what are we to do with it? There is no proof, no evidence to be given. When Robert comes home as he is supposed to in four months time, I will ask what he believes should take place next. I do hope he is alright. Robert does not always think first with his actions, especially if he can attain something out of the risk. He and Victor Frankenstein appear to have this idea in common. I just hope for his sake that he does not end up in a fate such as Victor Frankenstein did.

 

Review:

Published in The New York Times
May 13, 2019

It has been over two hundred years since this letter (and others mentioned) have been written. Recently found in the deceased Mary Saville’s household, skeptics believe there is a possibility of truth to this story. Other sources have discovered journal entries from their family ancestry describing strange events involving a “creature” like the one mentioned in Ms. Margaret Saville’s letter. This one, however, is the only letter recovered, the other ones have yet (or never will be) found.

Why were these letters between Ms. Saville and her brother written? It appears to be a sibling bond nonetheless, however, the wild tale implications seem to add a shock appeal. Ms. Saville’s handwriting in this letter is quick as if the thoughts were about to leave her as she wrote them. As if she needed to get them out. Yet, there is still secrecy what the full story is. Without the other letters, the world does not know the full tale. I do believe skeptics will find the letter funny and discard it. Cast the idea off aside, when in reality one never does know the full truth. What happened with the person Victor Frankenstein? What fate did he have? Why did Ms. Saville want to stop her brother?

Too many questions with very little answers to show for an actual story. That is what my editor told me. But here, now before the deadline, I believe there is more to Ms. Saville and her brother’s letters. I believe they could change the world as her brother wanted to when he was alive.

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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– Written by Daniel Olmos

Before I was exposed to this novel my preconception of the Frankenstein myth was that the certain character was a green creature with little to no education, a selfish perspective, a bad attitude and no sense of humor. 

However, after reading the novel I have come to the conclusion that the Frankenstein myth was made up in order to appeal to many people. If people were to be told Frankenstein is a normal human being just like you and me, everyone would take it as an offense because that would mean the ambitious Victor Frankenstein is the real monster, therefore labeling us as a monster or in other words as an additional Frankenstein. Although the real Frankenstein is not who I would have believed it is at first I still believe the mythical Frankenstein and the human Victor Frankenstein in the novel possess very similar characteristics and beliefs. Victor Frankenstein is the person responsible for creating the “creature” as it is labeled in this novel, therefore you could say that Victor Frankenstein the human being, has characteristics as the mythical Frankenstein because they both share selfish characteristics. 

After I continued my reading of the novel I came to realize and determine that perhaps the reason the real “creature” is Victor Frankenstein is because human beings are the real monsters in Mary Shelly’s point of view. And the reason that other readers and myself are able to sympathize with the actual “creature” in this novel is because we know the creature never asked to be created in the first place. Therefore we can suggest that Victor’s ambitions and selfishness end up affecting his creation that he cherished so much, giving us the feeling of sympathy towards the creature. 

frankenstein

Reality and Illusion

The creature in Frankenstein represents the primitive, backwards, and ostensibly “Oriental” figure, which remains alien to the Eurocentric, Christian “West”. The creature, however, is merely a displacement of Victor’s desires and thoughts about himself.

Through the layers of filtering in the novel, the creature can be representative of Victor’s identification as the savage Asiatic woman. By projecting these Eurocentric, westernized thoughts onto a subaltern creature, which is in fact only a figment of his imagination, Victor can escape internalizing his inferiority and avoid becoming conscious of his status as an “other” amidst enlightened, rational society. Victor feels not merely oppressed, but also voiceless in his own life and this forces him to identify as a foreign colonized woman. His adoption of Edward Said’s binary opposition allows him to place himself into the “Western” structuralist category and escape his inner, oriental nature. This displacement blurs the distinction between reality and illusion, as Victor’s illusory creature is in reality his skewed thoughts and inferiority complex manifesting in latent content. By defining himself in opposition to everything he has been taught is lesser and backwards, Victor can avoid the cultural multiplicity that characterizes relations between the colonizer and the colonized. The education that the creature receives from Felix is Victor recounting the Eurocentric cultural and historical narrative he received, which he believes is fallacious. However, he can’t outwardly deny this and identify with the oriental, paradigmatic “other” so this creature allows him to avoid being an outsider and gives him the ability to break free of these shackles.

When Victor sees himself, beneath all of the layers of filtering and repression, he even says that he “became fully convinced” that he “was in reality the monster”. It is only by artificially conjuring a monster and displacing all of his genuine thoughts and desires onto it that he can avoid how he really feels about himself. This uncanny feeling is so foreign yet strikingly familiar, precisely the relationship that the monster has to Victor. The “miserable deformity” that the monster witnesses is in fact Victor’s castrated body exposed by the water, and this fear of castration that Victor represses sheds light on his identification as a foreign, colonized, subaltern woman who obviously does not have a penis (104).

Through this avoidance, Victor can displace these thoughts onto a monster that typifies the subaltern, foreign woman in his unconscious and ultimately, he can avoid self-hatred and can continue to perpetuate the Eurocentric, colonialist discourse that he internally abhors. 

Victor’s fear of castration

In Frankenstein, the monster’s feelings when he sees himself reflected in the water are deeply indicative of displacement and social construction. Psychoanalytic criticism emphasizes the role of the unconscious and the hidden repression inherent in the monster seeing himself in the water. The uncanny conjures up a weird, foreign feeling yet strikingly familiar. Freud’s theory of dream distortion explicates this incident because the monster is actually a projection of Victor Frankenstein himself. The monster is how Victor actually sees himself, beneath all the layers of filtering and the repression. Victor “became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am” and it is only with displacement that Victor can transfer all of his genuine thoughts and desires onto the monster, which is in actuality an artificial conjuration (pg. 104). Seeing his repugnant and grotesque form unmasks the primary narcissism present according to psychoanalytic criticism because the monster, or Victor is the center of his entire world. This incident gives us a glimpse into how Victor feels about himself. Because Victor’s recurring thoughts are omnipotent in his dreams, he sees himself in his truest form when he stares into the water because he observes a primordial beast. This primitive form of identification is emblematic of the uncanny. Victor’s observance induces horror because it’s only within his dreams that his fear of being castrated is exposed. He sees himself bare and the “miserable deformity” that he refers to is actually his castrated body exposed by the water (pg. 104).

While the monster certainly wants others to overlook this deformity, he is so disgusted at his image because that’s how he identifies in his unconscious. Victor has repressed these thoughts and fears about himself to the level that they only show up in his dreams, where Victor becomes the monster. This displaces all of his self-hate onto a creature, which is ostensibly detached but actually very real. Victor wants others to overlook his deprivations and in his dreams, the lack of a penis due to infantile fears. His identification as the monster signifies the identification of the child initially with his father in psychoanalytic terminology, but turns completely when he realizes that his father wants to castrate him. Victor, realizing his repulsive nature in his dreams, has already been castrated but longs to be accepted by his mother so he can ultimately have sex with her. The manifest content of this dream reveals itself because Victor has repressed this fear for so long in his unconscious.