Tag Archive: relationships


Interacial Relationships in Frankenstein

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Isaac Gallegos

Although race’s biological validity has been disproven by the scientific community, and has more accurately been identified as a product of human society, it would be ignorant to not recognize the great impact race has on our lives. Race and it’s influence is visible in all aspects in society, including literature. The critical race perspective (CRT) can give the reader an insightful perspective on how/why race is represented in literature. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we can come to understand why the Creature (as an inhabitant of the boderland (Anzaldúa)) is determined on proving his “truth of the tale” with supplemental letter of Safie (a Muslim Arab migrant).

 

Unconscious Desires

 

Image result for sig freud’s theory

Sigmund Freud’s theory of Oedipus which primarily focuses on the human “unconscious desires” which include the idea of wanting to have sex with your parents and wanting to murder the people on sight; is paralleled with Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, with the character of Victor Frankenstein’s “wildest dream” and his desire to bring a corpse back to life.

Looking through the lens of Sigmund Freud to interpret the novel of “Frankenstein”, we are first brought to a crucial part in the novel, the death his relationship to his mother. Her death has a big impact on his life as he then embarks on the journey which leads him to his demise. While laying on her death he gives a description of her appearance, “the brightness of a beloved eye can have been extinguished, and the sound of a voice so familiar, and dear to the ear, can be hushed, never more to be heard.” (pg 49) A common relationship in our society is the love that a son has to his mother which is destroyed here by the death of his mother. Victor is in shock as he states that he can not believe that he will never see his mother’s eyes nor hear her voice. His attachment to his mother seems to appear as any other mother and son, however, Freud provides an alternative perspective through his theory of Oedipus. Freud asserted that the child desires to have a sexual relationship with their mother. After Caroline’s death, Victor goes on to describe his mother’s features with words such as, “brightness”, “beloved” and “dear”. He describes his mother in a majestic way, he is in shock that such beauty can be brought to an end so quickly. Victor describes her as if he were to be in love with her. The description of Caroline’s beauty can connect to Freud’s theory as we can see attraction he has for his mother. Freud states assert, “typically, the boy seeks to win his mother’s love by identifying with his father.” Nevertheless, Victor is not able to demonstrate this to his mother because his mothers die, which is why almost after the death, he begins to think about how to create the creature. Kickstarting the journey to his creation. He is creating his creature whom he hopes to have the ultimate beauty like his mother with the idea to revive his mother and assert his dominance. He makes the creature all the while, keeping in mind, the idea for a “perfect” human being, which connects to the description of his mother as he outlines that his mother having this impressive near-perfect beauty.

Victor’s dream reveals Sigmund Freud’s theory of Oedipus, after being horrified and sickened by his own creation he leaves goes to sleep. While asleep he begins to dream about his “beloved” Elizabeth whom he describes with a “bloom of health”, when thinking of the word bloom many thinks of flowers, when a flower blooms it is period of change where it is grown and fully developed and demonstrates its remarkable qualities of freshness and beauty. Victor is describing Elizabeth’s beauty and this idea of a healthy human being. He does not just focus on anything, but her physical appearance which makes him “delighted” because that is all he cares about. Further, into the dream, he goes in for a kiss but she becomes “livid with the hue of death” and he asserts that her physical appearance changed, to the point that he, “thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms”. He for so long has said that he desires Elizabeth but is thinking of kissing his mother instead of Elizabeth. Sigmund Freud’s theory of Oedipus which is are human “unconscious desires” which include the idea of wanting to have sex with your mother is clearly presented here in the novel. Upon Caroline’s death, she instructs Elizabeth to “supply my place”(pg 49) and proceeded to do so which can infer why Victor is in love with Elizabeth because he can no longer have his mother. Even though Elizabeth was supposed to take his mother’s place, his desire for his mother is unconsciously present and dominant enough to impede Elizabeth from replacing Victor’s mother, which is why the end result is Victor’s lack of interest in his dream for her. This leads him to change from kissing Elizabeth to kissing his own mother. The dream is able to give a direct access to the subconscious or to what the mind truly wants and is conflicted about. Caroline is a recurring thought in his mind as the dream is primarily focused on her. The theme of life and death in the novel is illuminated through Victor’s desire to bring a corpse back to life as he is in search of regaining his mother because of his attachment to her.

-Levit Martinez

The Desired Mother

In Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, the Oedipal desire for the mother is represented through the relationship of Victor with his parents. The main points of the Oedipal desire are that in our unconscious mind, one which we have no access to, we are in love with our mothers and we see our fathers as our rivals and wish to kill them. Victor Frankenstein lost his mother at a young age so by bringing the creature to life, he was trying to bring his mother back to life to fulfil his desires with her. He says, “I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body.” However, when the creature did not fulfil the beauty of his mother and was not a good replacement for her, he was very disappointed and described it as, “but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust.” His mother was the only one fitted to fulfil his Oedipal desires which is why he sees Elizabeth in his dream as his dead mother. The root of his desires are with his mother and only she can fulfil them but she is no longer around which is why he is so discontent with how his life played out.

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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 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.