Tag Archive: victor frankenstein


Sexual Identity

 

Image result for frankenstein and monster

In Jessica Fisher’s blog, “I am Frankenstein’s Monster: An echo of Susan Stryker’s call to action” she evaluates Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” through a lens of the gender identity of Victor Frankenstein and the creature. Fisher asserts in the novel Victor is a representation queer, transgender and asexual, pan romanticism in the form intimidation and discreteness they go through. The creature itself is a representation of the emotional and isolation they are faced with in the real world. Victor Frankenstein is unconscious, but through his actions, the reader is able to become unaware of manifestation between Victor and his suppressed sexual life.

At first glance in the novel, the relationship between Victor Frankenstein and Henry Clerval is that of childhood friends which are built with trust and happiness. It is a common belief in society that friends are people who individuals who build bonds and are everlasting. However, through Fisher’s lens of “Frankenstein” an alternate perspective is shown. In “Frankenstein” when Victor departures to the University of Ingolstadt Henry begs his father to allow him to leave with Victor, but is not allowed, “He said little; when he spoke, I read in his kindling eye and in animated glance a restrained but firm resolve, chained with miserable details” (Shelley 51) Victor describes Henry using the words, “kindling eyes”, “animated glance” and “miserable”. Traditional gender roles in the seventeenth century are between a man and a woman, yet Victor begins to show attraction and affection towards his childhood friend. Victor describes Henry through his physical feature at that moment asserting that he had “Kindling eyes” and “animated glance” meaning that he finds Henry charming. These words are usually said to a woman, not a man. Victor exposes his subconscious thought in this particular moment, talking in the second person.  He is hiding sexual identity from everyone, he is attracted to his same gender rather than the opposite, but is afraid of exposing it. Furthermore, he begins to show emotion through the use of a long sentence and sentence structure, semicolons, and commas. As the sentence proceeds the reader is met with first, a semicolon which he states that Henry did not say much and brings the sentence to an untimely stop. Victor than continues after this pause and states three more words than the sentence comes to another stop, having sorrow for his friend. The sentence after begins to flow but continues, but then again comes to another stop. The comas emphasis Victor emotion running high as he struggles to finish a sentence and must come to stop to allow him not to break down. Sadness running through his mind, he can not bear the feeling of departing from his friend, but he is able to leave Elizabeth without having so much emotion. Further, in the novel, Henry visits Victor and finds him very ill and he proceeds to, help him heal the whole winter, “how good you are to me. This whole winter, instead of being spent in the study”(Shelley 64) he was “consumed in a sick room” (Shelley 64) asserting that they both care immensely for each other. Victor is brought back to life by his friend and the happiness that he feels just by seeing him, never does Elizabeth come to his mind. Victor only shining a light on his feelings when he is seen with Henry. Here is were Susan Stryker’s asserts that a person who is transgender life becomes difficult as they are not welcomed and are unsociable in society. Here is were Fisher asserts that “Filisa shouldn’t have faced the loneliness that rejection no doubt brought.” In society many view sexual identity as a mental illness, to which Victor is not willing to sacrifice his straight image in society as he will be met with backlash. Victor keeps his sexual life private and is not willing to expose his affection towards Henry as what awaits is loneliness and rejection. Though his affection towards Henry is seen through the whole novel and the connection to the creature and the purpose of its creation.

Upon the creature being created, we see a sense of confusion with the world and the search for acceptance from any human. He begins to head to Geneva hoping that his creation will understand hand hears what he has to say and ultimately accept him. When the monster begins to tell his story he mentions an encounter he had with humans, a small little girl slips into a stream and is about to drown and he comes to save her, yet the man that she is with sees a “monster” in his eyes and continues to shoot him, instead of acknowledging what he did. The creature then continues to state, “This is the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and, as a recompense, I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound,” (Shelley 125) Full with frustration and confusion as he uses an exclamation mark to emphasis on why did this occur to him, the creature had nothing but good intention. Hoping to be “normal” through his actions, yet finds that it is not possible for him to ever be normal. The creature was hoping to gain acceptance but was left even more emotionally and physically hurt, paralleling with Fisher’s critique of the situation Filisa’s suicide. She asserts that “What drove her to such despair was the exclusion she experienced in Seattle’s queer community, some members of which opposed Filisa’s participation because of her transsexuality — even though she identified as and lived as a bisexual woman.” Fisher addressing that trans and queer can never be viewed as normal, which creates rage or  “Transgender Rage”. Filisa was doing what she believed to be an environment where she was going to accepted, she was faced with a barrier. Filisa was opposed by others whom she thought would be accepting. As the creature could not understand why he could not be human, he continues to take this experience and leave to Geneva with anger in his mind. A parallel exists as Victor who is the creator of the creature does not accept the creature. Which creates this rage in Filisa and the creature.

Levit Martinez

 

Advertisements

Esther Quintanilla

Gender identity and gender ambiguity seem to be a major complication in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Victor Frankenstein seems to be in conflict with his identity and has thrown his issues onto the creature that he animates at the beginning of the novel. While we identified in class that Victor may or may not have the desire to transition into a woman (i.e. his “womb envy”, his desire to create life, his lack of love toward his wife), the question of the creature’s gender has not been thoroughly discussed. We briefly talked about how the creature assumes that he is male due to his observation of the power that men hold in the world around him but, there is ambiguity in the biological gender of the creature. He is made in the image of a beautiful being, modeled after presumably Victor’s mother, but is quickly tossed to the side when he does not fulfill the desire that Victor is trying to achieve, that is to give life to something beautiful. The gender of the creature is not disclosed, and it is up to him alone to decide what he chooses to identify with.

Jessica Rae Fisher does an excellent job in her essay I Am Frankenstein’s Monster: An Echo of Susan Stryker’s Call to Action in explaining the misconceptions and the struggles that transgender individuals face on a daily basis. As a trans woman, she discusses the many troubles that she, along with her community, has suffered. From slurs to complete ignorance being spread about her identity, she still maintains a hopeful outlook and pushes her community to take authority over those who are transphobic and ignorant. Fisher calls out for her community to reclaim the words of hatred, such as “monster”, “tranny”, “Frankenstein”, etc. that are spewed upon them and to take power over the society of hatred.

Fisher’s article was and is inspiring to the trans community. Her words of encouragement will allow for the cycle of ignorance to stop and for more knowledge about transgender issues to be brought to light.

Motherly Obsessions

Esther Quintanilla

In Frankenstein: A Feminist Critique of Science, written by Anne Mellor, a depiction of nature as female is established. With the idea of “Mother Nature” and the stereotype of women being the ones who bring life into this world, this is a known idea. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein completely destroys this stereotype. Victor Frankenstein creates life, that is, artificial life, and expects to control the entity that he created. Mellor states, “the scientist who analyses, manipulates, and attempts to control nature unconsciously engages in a form of oppressive sexual politics” (12). Victor Frankenstein is contributing to the oppressive society that depicts women as sweet, naïve creatures and is expecting to dominate over them. Victor, therefore, is erasing the need for women in the novel, as life can be artificially made. This leaves the notion that Victor had a desire to give birth.

In order to achieve this goal, Victor turns to science. Instantly, Victor revels in the ideas of science and becomes obsessed with giving birth to artificial life. This becomes the focal point of Victor’s existence. The relationships that Victor had with various female figures in his life also may have had an impact on how he was picturing himself creating life.

Victor’s relationships with the women in his life may have had an impact on his desire to give birth. His mother, although Victor may or may not have had a desire to sleep with her, was caring and nurturing toward him. Elizabeth, who replaced Victor’s mother after she passed, was a loved figure who cared deeply for Victor. He may have seen the way that the women around him were nurturing and loving and developed a need to be in a similar situation. However, it turns in the completely opposite direction. Victor abandons his child at birth and forsakes any implication of motherhood in his own being. Without even realizing, Victor slowly begins to turn on motherhood and becomes a figure that destroys life. An example of this is the mere abandonment of his creature. Victor, by abandoning his creation, sets up a destructive fate for it.

By: Jocelyn Lemus

Image result for frankenstein scientist

Sometimes, we tend to imagine the world without the naked eye. Wanting to see the world more in depth is what one really needs. More specifically, I want to the address the topic of feminism. The reason this came in between my mind was because in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, she is able to develop the ideas of science and connect it with it. The idea of feminism was something impacting in her life. Her ideas of this aligns with Anne Mellor. They both discuss the concept of how science manipulates the state of nature. The way the topics of science and nature are brought in, is because the novel depicts how Victor Frankenstein manages to manipulate nature by allowing himself to create it on his own, and not nature his own. The creation of the creation symbolizes how a woman’s womb carries a baby and then gives birth, however, in the novel Frankenstein is indirectly giving birth by just creating it with his bare hands and his knowledge.

For instance, in the novel, Mary Shelley includes Frankenstein’s idea of how he feels once he has created the creature. He emphasizes, “A new species will bless me…”(57). This is depicting how Frankenstein sees his creation as the ability to feel satisfied. This brings in the idea of feminism because a man is doing what a woman by nature does. This also correlates with Mellor’s idea because in her essay, “Frankenstein: A Feminist Critique Of Science” she is able to elaborate more and put in more knowledge and ideas into the concept.  For instance, she includes that Frankenstein “enslaves a fertile but passive female nature”(1). This is important because just like in the novel, it is shown how he was able to grab nature and change its way of being formed. Therefore, both ideas of these to people correlate with the idea that the novel Frankenstein allows science to play a role of feminism.

Melanney Giron

In Anne Mellor’s feminist literary criticism, she explores the idea of the way, in her novel, Mary Shelley uses her female perspective to resist the patriarchal motives that Victor Frankenstein expressed during his problematic science experiment gone wrong. Mellor mentioned some of Humphry Davy’s lectures in regards to his interpretation of the novel and, although he committed intentional fallacy to the slightest degree, he interpreted what he believed Shelley’s purpose to be as, “Mary Shelley wishes to draw between the scholar-scientist who seeks only to understand the operations of nature and the master-scientist who actively interferes with nature,” (Mellor 3).

One of Mellor’s main ideas was the difference in settings for stereotypical scientists and the description given to us in Shelley’s novel. Looking at the first couple pages of Frankenstein, Shelley described the protagonist as a curious man, especially when he first was introduced to the science that ruined his life, Shelley wrote, “all that had so long engaged [Victor’s] attention suddenly grew despicable…[he] at once gave up [his] former occupations,” (Shelley 47). Victor soon became infatuated by the idea of the power he could possibly attain from creating a new species that “…would bless [Victor] as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to [him],” (Shelley 57). Mellor mentioned that Victor’s predominant male perspective encouraged him to work against the pure power of nature, she wrote, “Frankenstein has thus disrupted the natural life-cycle. His attempt to speed up the transformation of decomposing organic material into new life-forms by artificial means has violated the rhythms of nature,” (Mellor 7).

Mellor’s feminist conclusion about Frankenstein that “the scientist who analyzes, manipulates, and attempts to control nature unconsciously engages in a form of oppressive sexual politics,” (Mellor 12). In her interpretation, Mellor was able to find the hidden gendered imagery that replaced “nature” with the female gender. Victor attempted to create a new life where he would replace females and take all of the power away from them, he wanted to be both Adam and Eve of his new world, along with the powerful God.

Bianca Lopez Munoz

The Oedipus Complex, a theory created by Frued, basically revolves around the idea that a biologically female child will grow up with a sort of envy towards their father because he has a penis and that a biologically male child will subconciously love his mother and want to have sex with her and try to relate to the father in an attempt to make the mother like them, but in later life, will instead seek a woman to replace his mother.

In the beginning of Frankenstein, we are introduced to Victor’s parents. They are both described as very kind people who gave him a nice childhood. He describes his mother Caroline as very beautiful and as, “a guardian angel to the afflicted”(41). After his mother dies, Victor tells us that he, “… need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties are rent by that most irreplacacle evil; the void that presents itself to the soul; and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance it is so long before the mind can persuade itself that she…can have departed forever––that the brightness of a beloved eye can be extinguished…” (49). The sudden death of his mother was obviously a huge deal to Victor. Right after her death, Victor moved away to start his studies at the university where he would eventually become obsessed with putting together a corpse and giving it life. It can be argued that Victor’s attatchment to his mother, her sudden death, and his desire to animate a corpse are all connected through Freud’s oedipus complex. In Freud’s The Uncanny, he talks about how children at some point wish for their dolls to become alive. This sort of infantile desire can be seen in Victor’s scientifuc endevour. Victor’s wild dream about his mother demonstrates his obsession with his dead mother, whom he loves and possibly wanted to be intimate with. His creation of the creature was his attempt to create someone to love as a replacement for his mother which could only be a corpse. Therefore, Victor has necrophlilic desires. When the creature first awoke, Victor describes its eye as “dull” and “yellow” and also states that the creatures body convulsed and that it breathed hard. The eyes of the creature did not have the ‘brightness’ of his mother’s eyes before she died. Nor was the creature as beautiful as he had hoped. This dissapointment felt is a result of the creature not living up to Victor’s expectations which were expectations of the creature being as lovely as his mother.jesse-pinkham-holding-skull

Wildest Dreams

When looking into Victor’s dream, we can assume that the strange Oedipus desire for the mother/spouse is deeply related to Victor Frankenstein. We first have this dream where Victor sees himself with his deceased mother in a disturbing manner “as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death . . . I held the corpse of my dead mother” (p.60) in a which Sigmond Freud claimed most people repressed, such that he was sexually attracted to his mother. This is commonly known as the Oedipus Complex, named after the mythical Greek king who killed his father and married his mother. According to Freud, this was often repressed into the unconsciousness and out of awareness to the person due to extreme anxiety, which is something we get a glimpse of as he wakes, “I started from my sleep with horror..” (p.60). The issue with this is that it not only raises concerns of incestuous thoughts for Frankenstein and the Frankenstein household, but it also brings upon further issues pertaining to necrophilia, as his mother was deceased in his dreams. Victor’s own creation does not assist to this issue as it may even further highlight his issues pertaining to necrophilia in specific, or even further his Oedipus Complex. Then there’s the issue pertaining to Elizabeth. Though Elizabeth is not directly related to Victor, she was still raised beside him and raised in the manner that she was often called his sister, which also stirs up more incestuous issues concerning Victor and their household.

Victor’s desire illuminates how he wants something he cannot have. He wants his deceased mother and Elizabeth though both are gone to him as the novel progresses. He wants to recreate life in his own way though fails to do so with his creation. He wants things he cannot have, and for that, we see him ultimately deciding to reanimate life and therefore set himself on this path that he cannot go back on.

giphy

– Lou Flores

An Affection

 

 

Image result for Oedipus Complex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

Tania De Lira-Miranda

DenrJxq

While attending to Elizabeth, who had been infected by scarlet fever, Victor’s mother catches the diseases and dies in her bed, though not without Victor and Elizabeth by her side. “I regret that I am taken from you; and, happy and beloved as I have been, is it not hard to quit you all… I will endeavour to resign myself cheerfully to death and will indulge a hope of meeting you in another world.” (49) Caroline tells the two before passing away peacefully. While Victor claims that the reason he wants to create a new human race because it would benefit humankind, the actual reasons seems to be pride; he wants to be the one who finds a way to cheat death. “A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me… I thought that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.” (57) But looking at the dream Victor has in page 60, it seems that his mom, and possible his desires for her, is part of the reason why he actually wanted to reanimate a corpse.

In the beginning, Victor’s dream seems to start off with no weirdness in sight. Afterall all he sees is “Elizabeth, in the bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt” (60) and it is after this that his dream begins to do a 180. He hugs dream Elizabeth and as he gives her a kiss on the lips, “[her lips] became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms.” (60) It is when worms appear in his mother’s body that he suddenly awakens in a cold sweat. An obvious thing to point out about the dream is that while Victor is kissing Elizabeth, his mother suddenly appears in the latter’s place and seeing as Elizabeth is his love interest, it can be assumed that the reason for this switcheroo would be because subconsciously, Victor has romantic feelings for his mother and that this relates to Freud’s idea of return of the repressed, which Parker describes as “repressed drives [that] can pop back up in the form of neurotic symptoms, disguised representation of unconscious desire.” (120, second edition). His (repressed) desire for his mother came out while he was dreaming (unconscious). As it was partly due to his mother that Elizabeth became a part of the Frankenstein family, and later Victor’s fiancée,  there was no wonder why, in his dream, Elizabeth turned into his mother. Although, Victor continues to try to repress this desire as when he wakes up “with horror; a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and every limb became convulsed” (60). Instead of recognizing that he desires his mother, he tries to play it off as a bad dream instead of a sign that he has romantic feelings for her.

In the novel, it is in chapter 3 that Victor’s mother dies, chapter 4 is where he gets the idea to reanimate a corpse and it is in chapter 5 that he actually does so. It is said explicitly by Victor himself that the reason he wants to be able to bring the dead back to life is so that death can be cheated and it is implied that the reason he wants to cheat death is that he can bring his mother back to life and be with her once more.

By Steven Gonzalez

Sigmund Freud’s iceberg model of the human psyche attempts to categorize an individual’s thoughts, actions, and desires as being a product of one of three states in the mind: the ego, the superego, and the id. The id, residing deep within one’s unconscious mind, is a person’s instinctual/biological desires and feelings, the superego, residing both in the deep unconscious as well as the subconscious mind, is a person’s moral barometer, and the ego, lying right beyond the conscious in the subconscious mind, acts as a person’s mediator between one’s desires and one’s moral objectives. Freud uses this model of the psyche as well as what he refers to as the “Oedipal Complex” in order to describe the development of a child’s personality throughout childhood and adolescence. The oedipal complex refers to a group of a person’s feelings which result from their underlying desire to form a romantic relationship with their parent of the opposite sex and a desire to eliminate their parent of the same sex. Freud believed that we all had these primal oedipal desires within us and that most of us merely repressed these desires deep into our unconscious, the id.  In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein exhibits the Oedipal Complex in a dream-which Freud says is where the disguised id manifests itself- where Elizabeth appears and as he leans in to kiss her, his dead mother appears.

This wild dream that represents Victor’s oedipal complex occurs following Frankenstein’s creation of the monster, Victor is repulsed at the sight of his new creation and states “The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature.”(Shelley 60). This, while not directly referring to Victor’s Oedipal desires, hint at Freud’s description of the id being the biological and instinctive desires which lie deep underneath of a person’s psyche. Next, Victor describes going to sleep in an attempt to forget that which he has just created only to be “disturbed” by Elizabeth within his dream. Victor describes the following events saying, “Delighted and surprised, I embraced her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms.” (Shelley 60). This quote serves as an exemplar for Freud’s solution to the Oedipal complex where the boy- in this case, Victor- still holds affection for his mother but no longer holds a libidinal attraction for her and instead bestows his libidinal affection upon another woman who would act as a substitute to his mother. Victor then describes how he felt great despair and agitation following the animation of his monster, saying, “I remained during the rest of the night walking up and down in the greatest agitation, listening attentively catching and fearing each sound as if it were to announce  the approach of the demoniacal corpse to which I had so miserably given life.”(Shelley 61). This great agitation perhaps symbolizing the internal struggle of the ego within Victor’s psyche attempting to create order between his primal desires-the id-  and his moral objectives-the superego.

This analysis of Victor’s character through the Freud’s psychoanalytic lens and as an exemplar of the Oedipal Complex that resides within all of us, while being unorthodox and outlandish, does allow us to better understand Victor’s internal conflicts more clearly and in a more concrete manner. Moreover, using Freud’s model of the psyche to analyze allows the reader -through seeing Victor’s internal struggles- to empathize with Victor and in turn see the novel from a different perspective rather than see it from the typical point of view: “The creature is more human than Victor, Victor is the real monster of the story.” Ultimately, the novel is much more nuanced than that and reading the novel using different lenses allows us to capture more of that nuance which we so often simplify.