Tag Archive: truth


Devastating Ignorance

Sabrina Vazquez

Since lecture on Wednesday and considering the devastating fire that has taken so many lives in northern California, my thoughts have not been far from the effects of global warming. Siobhan Carroll’s statement “In works such as Frankenstein we can nevertheless see an uncanny reflection of our own struggles to discern the nature of, and decide on the proper response to, alterations in the global climate.” (524). There is virtually no time between one natural disaster to the next happening in the world, that are all the consequence of global warming, it is undeniable, but yet it is denied. Time and time again, from people who personify the saying ‘ignorance is bliss’, climate change is called a ‘hoax, or a ‘secret to agenda to push’. Carroll in relation to the novel declares that we must accept our fault in the situation or else it will be too late, much like Frankenstein and his creation. In order to repair even a fraction of the damage caused to Earth ignorance can no longer be tolerated. The fire that has demolished Paradise is a call to deniers to pull their heads from the sand, Global warming is undeniable and it’s devastating us all.

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War Against Human Caused Climate!

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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!

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).

 

Melanney Giron

When you look into the world that isn’t what you are normally used to seeing, you get a sense of immigration from what is called your ‘home’ and comfort. It is important to keep this in mind when you look at the possible reasons as to why the creature in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein insists on proving “the truth of [their] tale” by giving Victor, the main character, a copy of the letters by Safie, a Muslim Arab migrant from Turkey. Although written in 1818, Shelley’s novel brings up controversial themes, one of them being the action of victimization of internal colonization as talked about by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. Safie’s character, although an important part of the creature’s knowledge of the world, has limited character description from her own point of view.

Shelley wrote, “Safie related, that her mother was a Christian Arab, seized and made a slave by the Turks; recommended by her beauty, she had won the heart of the father of Safie, who married her. The young girl spoke in high and enthusiastic terms of her mother, who, born in freedom, spurned the bondage to which she was now reduced,” (111). Although a female character, the way the creature expressed Safie’s “story” and her “own fate,” the letters are retold in the eyes of the creature, an apparent male character. The creature is able to understand the isolation felt by Safie as a colonizer which could explain why the creature wanted to explain a tale that was not his.

The letters express Safie’s gratitude for Felix’s efforts on her father’s behalf, while also “gently” deploring Safie’s “own fate.” They are the letters of a young woman who has been promised in marriage to a man she loves but barely knows. In order to make clear her hopes for her own marriage, they recount the story of her mother’s unfortunate experience with men and with marriage. The creature told Victor that Safie lived a life controlled by men and a country who supported this idea. Essentialism could be used to explain the creatures desires to discover the reason for his existence.

The Activist

 

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Christopher Martinez

Throughout the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley there is signs of migration. Safie, the daughter of a merchant, seems to want the feeling of family and unity. Safie comes from a Turkish background and she migrated to leave the political problems. With this in mind, there is a connection between the monster itself and Safie. They both seek shelter and just want to be accepted for who they are. In addition, there seems to be evidence of discrimination against migrants in the book. Safie’s father was sentenced to death in Paris for a crime that he didn’t commit. Clearly, this shows the bigotry and separation of class and race in the book. Likewise, Frankenstein experiences the same thing as Safie. He sees discrimination all around him and even the way that Victor describes the monster shows the ideologies people have against people that are ‘different.’

When the monster gave Victor the letters by Safie and wanted Victor to know his tale through another person’s words, there was a sense of connections. In the story, Victor is very closed minded with the looks of others. He finds certain looks superior. We can see this when Victor says, “His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same color as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips” (60).

Furthermore, the monster seems to try to tell Victor to look through his eyes. The monster tells Victor that he has figured out the truth on his own and has taught himself about the world he lives in. He tells Victor, “These wonderful narrations inspired me with strange feelings. Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous, and magnificent, yet so vicious and base?” (108) The monster is questioning the ideas humans have about each other. Frankenstein doesn’t seem to understand why are humans so smart, yet can’t see everyone as equal. This is what stood out! It is as if Frankenstein is an equal rights activist!

Victor vs. Nature

Through the interpretation of Anne Mellor’s feminist conclusion about Frankenstein, we can see how she sees nature as feminine and something that should not be manipulated but rather understood. Victor Frankenstein however, wants to show his masculinity by manipulating nature and creating life. By doing so he is not only playing the role of a god but also showing his superiority to women. He believes that he is smart enough to change nature in any way he desires. Although, it is unclear whether he is doing it consciously or unconsciously it is no doubt exercising a form of oppressive sexual politics. He is very set on creating the perfect being and a whole new species out of body parts of dead people, however, because nature should not be manipulated it does not work out. Humans are not capable of changing nature and therefore he is horrified of his new invention because it doesn’t have the perfection of nature he was hoping to obtain. He gets so caught up on his invention that his whole life revolves around it. However, he doesn’t take responsibility for his actions and lets poor Justine die even though he is certain that she is innocent. Later on, the creature threatens to be there on his wedding day to kill Elizabeth and he didn’t value her enough to not marry her and save her life. He cared more about himself and not disappointing his father that he was willing to put his own wife at risk.

An Affection

 

 

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Christopher Martinez

On page 60 of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, there is an insight into Victor Frankenstein’s imagination. After creating the creature that unsatisfied him he decides to go to sleep. In his dream, he starts to imagine kissing Elizabeth, but he then starts to imagine his dead mother’s facial features on Elizabeth. It is as if he desires his mothers love. Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalyst, finds an explanation for this; he calls it Oedipus Complex. This states that when a boy child is born they have their mother’s love conquered, however, when as time goes by they seem to keep wanting their mothers to love. The grown-up child then starts to have the feeling of eliminating whatever is splitting the mothers love away – the father.

Although the thought of having affection for a mother isn’t as weird as it seems, the way Freud describes it isn’t something we hear about often. When Victor Frankenstein says, “I embraced her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death,” (pg. 60) there is clearly a personal imagination Victor has in his head that is affecting his real life. It is as Victor is somewhat trying to replace the love with his mother with one other close one; in this case being Elizabeth. Additionally, there is a connection between Victor and the monster itself. There is a presence of paradox in this section of the book. Throughout the beginning of the story Victor sees the creation of the monster as an accomplishment, yet it is actually his affection for his dead mother. I can also see how this relates to most students at UC Merced. Especially now that everyone is in college, I see how people miss their mother’s presence and love. The point is this: can this be connected back to the Oedipus Complex?

 

In reading the Justine excerpts a few things are shockingly obvious. She was incorrectly found guilty of a crime she didn’t commit, forced to confess to this crime or face repercussions eternally, and not given the benefit of the doubt when both Elizabeth and Victor tried to plead her case for her. All of this amounts to what Godwin would have considered to be failures on the part of mankind, especially those who tried her, because they did not adhere to his two plain duties as outlined in Reflections. These two duties are described as “first…an unwearied attention to the great instrument of justice” and “second…tranquility.” In reference to the first duty of justice, Godwin’s sentiments as expressed by the text were that people “should communicate [their] sentiments with the utmost frankness” and “be pervaded with a sense of the magnitude of [their] cause…to do justice to [their] principles.” Tying this back to Justine it becomes abundantly clear that she did attempt to do this initially but instead of receiving justice as Godwin expects, she received a priest who forced her to self-incriminate herself or face eternal punishment in exchange. Which for someone as god-fearing as Justine was a far worse punishment than hanging. Not only does Justine fail to get the justice she deserved by doing as Godwin wanted but the rest of the people at the trial, the judges, failed completely in this first duty as well. They did not seek to understand the magnitude of their actions nor did they attempt to be clear in their sentiments. Instead they allowed someone to force her into guilt and did not allow for anything but their decided upon story of events. The judges and all the other people are far guiltier than Justine ever was for their failure to fulfill one of their two duties.

As for the second duty of tranquility once more the ones truly guilty of not fulfilling this duty are the judges and others who deemed Justine guilty. Justine herself comes to terms in the cell with Victor and Elizabeth that her fate has been sealed and instead “assumed an air of cheerfulness, while she with difficulty repressed her bitter tears” because she was fulfilling her duty of tranquility. While instead the priest instead forced her into submission with angry words. Had they only fulfilled that duty of tranquility and seen the situation with a calmer and more objective perspective this situation could have perhaps been avoided. Instead they failed and in doing failed in serving justice.

Ultimately if they had fulfilled their duties as Godwin would have wanted then perhaps Justine would have gotten the justice she was meant to represent. The failure to fulfill their duties was a reflection of the corrupt society in which justice could not be obtained and Justine’s fate was just another product of that corruption.

By Diana Lara

 

Throughout the course of human history, one concept has remained in constant discussion: the perpetual battle between men and women’s rights. The argument of women’s rights and equality continues to be discussed in today’s modern day society. In Molly Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Men, the author explains the importance of gender and social class equality for women and the need for revolution. Wollstonecraft explains “never was any man, much less a woman, rendered amiable by the force of those exalted qualities, justice, wisdom, and truth; thus forewarned of the sacrifice they must make to those unnatural virtues…they would be authorized to turn all their attention to their persons”. This statement explains that women are forced to conform with society’s values instead of creating their own self-images. A woman must comply with what is asked rather than following her own moral beliefs. Wollstonecraft’s ideas on society’s view of women directly correlates with the unfortunate fate of Justine’s death in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.

As Justine converses about her unavoidable death, she explains “I do not fear to die…I am resigned to the fate awaiting me. Learn from me, dear lady, to submit in patience to the will of Heaven” (Shelly 83). This passage exemplifies the distorted self-perception of women, and how women are made to justify and accept the cruel “punishments” that await them for their “wrong doings”. Justine’s perspective on her death validate Wollstonecraft’s statements that women become submissive to the distorted ideals that they are exposed to since birth. These ideas allow for Justine to submit to her “fate” of death without any justification of her being the true murderer. As a result, Justine continues the ever-lasting cycle of women submissiveness and is merely a product of the ideals that were passed down from the generations before her.

Written by Cathryn Flores

by Steven Gonzalez

In William Godwin’s  Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793), he contends that equality and justice in a society are eminently appealing and that the people within a society should look to achieve equality, not through the use of violence, but through peaceful means. Godwin admonishes the use of violence proclaiming, “Let us anxiously refrain from violence… The cause of justice id the cause of humanity. Its advocates should be penetrated with universal good-will.”(pg.789) Godwin notes that a society can achieve this ideal notion of equality and justice among all people through the individual’s focus on reason, tranquility, and the tireless pursuit of truth. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein the character Justine personifies this idea of an “individual focus on reason, tranquility, and truth” as a manner to achieve equality and justice from the perspective of the reader. Consequently, upon Justine’s death, the ideal notions of equality and justice are eradicated within the society of Geneva along with her as a result of the lack of reason, tranquility, and truth expressed in her conviction and execution. Justine’s death, used to symbolize the death of justice in the novel, serves as a perfect exemplar for the consequences that arise from a person’s disregard for reason, tranquility, and the pursuit of truth.

 

Initially, Elizabeth introduces Justine into the novel in a letter to Victor by describing Justine’s past and her upbringing. Then, Elizabeth compares the republican institutions between France/England and Switzerland: she does this to convey the smaller distinction between people of different classes. She emphasizes this difference noting that “there is less distinction between the several classes of its inhabitants; and the lower orders, being neither so poor nor so despised, their manners are more refined and moral.”(Shelley 65). Additionally, Elizabeth further goes on to describe how Justine isn’t seen or treated as an inferior to the rest of Geneva because of her lower socio-economic status stating, “Justine… learned the duties of a servant, a condition which, in our fortunate country, does not include the idea of ignorance, and a sacrifice of the dignity of a human being.”(Shelley 65). Next, Elizabeth describes the righteousness of Justine’s character calling her the “most grateful little creature in the world”. Observing this through the lens of William Godwin’s Enquiry Concerning Political Justice allows us to see the direct correlation between the benevolence of Justine’s character and the equality she experiences within her society. Following William’s death, we see a shift in Justine’s character and consequently, a shift in how society views Justine just like Godwin would predict. Justine begins to abandon her dedication to reason in her studies, tranquility in her demeanor, and truth in her statements and so society begins to see her as a wretched below human individual accusing her of murdering William. This is most evidently depicted in the lines, ” I did confess, but I confessed a lie. I confessed, that I might obtain absolution; but now that falsehood lies heavier at my heart than all my other sins… In an evil hour I subscribed to a lie; and now only am I truly miserable.”(Shelley 82). It seems that even Victor Frankenstein at this point seems to see her as being inferior referring her to her constantly as “poor victim” with a pitiful almost patronizing tone. It seems incredibly ironic that Victor, with the power to stop Justine’s death through truth, decides to let her die a violent death while simultaneously grieving and lamenting, ” I, the true murderer, felt the never-dying worm alive in my bosom, which allowed of no hope or consolation … Anguish and despair penetrated into the core of my heart, I bore hell within me which nothing could extinguish.”(Shelley 83). Finally, Justine dies because of Victor’s deviation from reason, tranquility, and truth and Victor Frankenstein acknowledges this lamenting, ” I beheld those I loved spend vain sorrow upon the graves of William and Justine, the first hapless victims to my unhallowed arts.”(Shelley 84).

Ultimately, Godwin’s solution for achieving equality through the individual’s pursuit of reason, tranquility, and truth was evident as being correlative but not necessarily causative: There happened to be equality and justice when Justine expressed a pursuit of reason, tranquility, and truth but not necessarily because of her expression. One idea I found interesting  was Elizabeth’s introduction of Justine in her letter because even though she describes how Justine is not seen as inferior, she herself uses patronizing and condescending language to refer to her, often calling her “little creature”, and “poor girl” perhaps indicating the inevitable lack of equality in a seemingly perfectly equal society. On this point is where I ultimately disagree with Godwin, not on his methods of achieving an equal society but simply whether an “equal” society is eminently desirable in the first place. In a truly equal society, there is no variance in class, in politics, in character, and most importantly in ideas. Godwin even mentions this idea and even champions it stating, ” Each man will find his sentiment of justice and rectitude echoed by the sentiments of his neighbors.”(Godwin 794) This seemingly homogenous authoritarian society is not ideal in any definition of the word. Moreover, we should seek to achieve the highest order of equality of opportunity and to preserve the dignity of all human beings, but we as a society should not expect nor desire the homogenous equality of outcome which Godwin seems to idealize as his final goal. Ultimately, the idea that subscribing to an easy to follow, simple ideology in order to solve nuanced inequalities within a society is reckless, irrational, and untenable.