Tag Archive: science


War Against Human Caused Climate!

Image result for climate change

 

Christopher Martinez

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, there are multiple pieces of evidence that tell the world about climate change. The whole novel is taken place in a heavy cold environment. During Mary Shelley’s time, there was an unusual winter. Every day was cold and people were getting tired of it. This influenced the novel, Frankenstein. Through Mary Shelley’s experiences, she tried to give a message of action whenever the climate seems to be in trouble. In other words, we can say that the novel is an activism for recognition of climate change. Although climate change during the novels time was naturally caused, today the environment is dying and asking for help! As we can see in the news fire’s are occurring during the fall and with the basic evidence, we can see what the cause is – humans! In the ecocritical person eyes, the need for change is clear. Even the people who literally wanted war against ice during Mary Shelley’s time would agree!

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The Fire Within

Written by Cathryn Flores

Jessica Rae Fisher, a trans woman writer, explains through her blog post the influence that Susan Stryker’s essay had on her as a queer, trans woman. Stryker’s essay expresses the similarities between the transsexual body and the body of the creature in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. In the novel, while reading Frankenstein’s journal, the creature learns the particulars of his creation and expresses that “the increase of knowledge only discovered to me what a wretched outcast I was”, (Shelly 125). This statement is crucial to understanding the struggles faced by transgenders and the way society views them as “abnormal species”. Susan Stryker states that “the transsexual body is a product of medical science. It is a technological construction. It is flesh torn apart and sewn together again in a shape other than that in which it was born”, (Stryker 338). Understanding the fundamental, physical differences between the bodies of transgenders can lead to the realization that there are positive aspects to being different from the rest of society.

After reading Stryker’s essay, Fisher comes to understand that trans people may never be perceived as “normal beings of society”, and comes to terms with this idea. Fisher says, “I think that if the villagers want to see us an unnatural, that we should embrace that. I do not shy away from the scientific realities that make me a modern human”, (Fisher). It is evident that the feelings of rage and disappointment felt by the creature in Frankenstein are also the same emotions felt by transgenders. Knowing this, Fisher comes to the conclusion that trans people can use this idea to empower themselves and live a life free of being self-conscious about other’s opinions. Rather than internalizing this rage and hate for other people that do not understand the constant struggles the transgender community goes through, the writer suggests that they use this rage to make a change in the world by expressing their right for an equal pursuit of happiness.

Jessica’s reflection on the difference between a “naturally-birthed” human body and the body of a trans person leads to insight on the mind-set that trans people need to have in order to combat those who discriminate against them in society. The first step needed to be able to use this information to empower the trans community is accepting that a trans body is a creation of science, one that was a product of medical procedures. Fisher continues to say that although society may be alarmed by the differences between trans bodies, this is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, this is something to be proud and aware of. Knowing that similarities exist between the feelings felt by the “monster” in Frankenstein and transgender people, individuals within the trans community can use this insight to come to a conclusion on how to react when faced with adversity within society.

By Maya Carranza

In  Susan Stryker’s essay and in Jessica Rae Fisher’s response, Frankenstein’s monster is connected to transexual people. As Stryker states, “The transexual body is an unnatural body. It is the product of medical science. It is a technological construction. It is flesh torn apart and sewn together again in a shape other than that in which it was born” (p. 238). Nowadays, many technological advances have been invented in order for individuals to transition from one sex to another. This is connected to Frankenstein’s monster as it was created using different body parts using science.

Both the monster and transgenders are not something society is accustomed to. Frankenstein’s creature was identified as a monster due to is “hideous” physical appearance. Similarly, transgenders are viewed as “odd” and “unnatural”. Stryker even compares the words “fag” and “queer” to the word “monster”. Filisa Vistima, a transexual  woman, was seen as a monster and just like Frankenstein’s monster they were both seen as outcasts. Filisia was treated by her community as badly as Frankenstein’s creature was treated in Mary Shelley’s novel that it led her to take her own life and even she viewed herself differently  as she wrote in her journal, “I’m a mutant, Frankenstein’s monster”

When people transition, are in the process of transitioning, or even question their gender identity, they sometimes prefer being identified as the apposite sex they were assigned or born with. Even in today’s society many people assume other’s gender especially based on physical appearance. For example, an individual who was once a male may now identify as a woman but if she still had male characteristics people would automatically assume that she’s a male rather than a female. This links to Frankenstein’s monster as it was never established whether it was male or female. The only thing indicating that it was male are the pronouns used throughout the novel but perhaps the monster was created with a female genitalia but was assumed to be male based on it’s physical characteristics.

Furthermore, the way one identifies themselves shouldn’t define who they are. “For me, it is time to dull the impact these words have when used against us.” (Fisher). With that being said, it shouldn’t matter whether you are male, female, transgender, a “faggot” or a “monster” because at the end of the day those are just words and they should NOT define a person. We are all beautiful in our own unique way.

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.

The article “A Feminist Critique of Science”, written by Anne Mellor, explores the rights and wrongs of unnatural science from the telescope view of a devote feminist. Mellor notes that nature cannot be controlled by science and shouldn’t ever be tried to. In Frankenstein, however, our main character Victor does not heed this advice, and decides to make life and death his personal plaything.

Victor is using nature, and life, unnaturally, and therefore is being unfair towards nature as a whole. To create a creature out of science is an insult to nature, and does not follow Mellor’s ideas whatsoever. In fact, it is the complete opposite, making Victor the antagonist of the natural course of human life and human death.

-Jody Omlin

Anne Mellor discusses in her essay, A Feminist Critique of Science, how the different motives of male scientists directly correlates to their oppressive sexual politics. Scientists who strive towards controlling and manipulating nature see women as submissive and inferior to men. Because nature is seen as a woman/mother, men in the sciences are attempting to assert their power and intelligence on “mother nature” to create and explore completely new ideas and distort the original functioning of nature and its offerings.

In Mellor’s essay, she explains that, “rather than letting organic life-forms evolve slowly over thousands of years according to natural processes of sexual selection, Victor Frankenstein wants to originate a new life-form quickly, by chemical means”, (Mellor 7). The author states that in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein chooses to produce a brand new species of life without contemplating the effects that this may have on nature and society. Frankenstein chooses to disrupt the natural life-cycle of human beings by taking human flesh and bones from graveyards. This act completely contradicts the theories of evolution from scientist Erasmus Darwin, who suggests that organic matter and human remains should be used to nourish soil and act as fertilizer for plants. Instead, Frankenstein chooses to build and bring to life a new creature, and enjoys the idea of becoming the “master” of these new life forms (Shelley 41). Mellor’s argument regarding scientist’s intentions to oppress women in relation to their experiments and studies is evident through Frankenstein’s creation of his “monster”, which is seen as a solution to fill the void of his deceased mother. This creation is a symbol of his longing for the ability to give birth and have a sexual relationship with his mother.

Written by Cathryn Flores

 

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.

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

In Anne Mellor’s essay, A Feminist Critique of Science, it is demonstrated how dealing with the use of science in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein unraveled an important perspective into the manner that nature is viewed with a feminine perspective. Mellor makes it clear that nature should not be manipulated or controlled in science. She believes respecting it and constantly accounting for it when conducting certain experiments. As for in the novel, Mellor’s argument and rules can be seen being completely put aside and forgotten about. Victors arrogance and egotistic mindset ultimately revealed his repression towards the opposite sex by his aspiration to manipulate and control all nature and create life.

In Frankenstein, Victor repeatedly references nature and when he does this he depicts nature as a woman. This can be seen on page 46 of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein when Victor says “…but her immoral lineaments were still a wonder and a mystery.” This demonstrates that Victor does call nature a woman, however, he does not do it with the intention to harm or hinder her rather allowing him to interpret nature better. On page 46 as well, Victor states “…here were men who had penetrated deeper and knew more.” When Victor speaks about science he is stating that these scientists “penetrated” deeper into the understanding of manipulating nature thus allowing them to control and continue to learn from it. Victors enthusiasm to apply feminity to nature and to so discover secrets about it shows this strong sense of oppression towards it.

To conclude, we can see Mellor’s arguments continue to get certified when Victor views a lightning strike, and he describes it as something “…[curious] and [delightful]”. Victor describes this sequence as a sort of mystery, however, it can be interpreted as if it is a warning from mother nature or foreshadowing what is to come for Victor if he continues to question and attempt to unravel the depths of mother nature. Ultimately, despite this “warning”, Victor is left with sorrow and nothing due to his fascination with wanting to distort and manage “mother nature” for his own self-centered objectives.

By: Daniel Olmos

By: Maya Carranza

In “A Feminist Critique Of Science”, the author, Anne Mellor, illustrates the idea of nature as female and as “fertile”. Woman are linked with creating life since most woman are “fertile” and are able to conceive and give birth. The only thing stopping Victor from being a mother is the lack of a womb. Therefore, Victor challenges nature and tries to create life on his own by creating his monster. Frankenstein’s strong desire to create life is as if he is attempting to physically become pregnant.

Frankenstein’s desire to create life can be compared to a woman becoming pregnant and giving brith. This also give the impression that Victor is questioning his gender and perhaps wants to be a woman.  Mellor states ,”The scientist who analyzes, manipulates and attempts to control nature unconsciously engages in a form of oppressive sexual politics.” (12)  By “giving brith” through the use of science, Victor abuses the use of nature which Mellor disagrees with. She argues that nature is feminine and with Frankenstein’s manipulations in nature and science, he engages in sexual politics resulting in him ignoring the power that woman posses by being able to give birth.