Presentation on theme: "IDEAS Abhorrence of those different from ourselves Vulnerability of women, children, the innocent By Jenna Maffucci, Justin Konopacki, and Camille Berry."— Presentation transcript:
IDEAS Abhorrence of those different from ourselves Vulnerability of women, children, the innocent By Jenna Maffucci, Justin Konopacki, and Camille Berry
With a sense of confidence bestowed upon him from the countless facts and alchemical compounds memorized, Victor ventures into his natural science class to talk with his new professor. “I replied carefully, and partly in contempt, mentioned the names of my alchemists as the principal authors I had studied. The professor stared. “Have you,” he said, “really spent your time in studying such nonsense?” (pg. 35). Mr. Krempe goes on to further destroy the very foundation on which Frankenstein’s love of science is founded. He can’t tolerate the fact the Frankenstein studies a dead science and can only mock and scorn him for what Krempe believes to be wasted time.
Even the Frankenstein the sole creator and parent of the creature is disgusted by his appearance. “Oh! No mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch” (pg. 49). Dr. Frankenstein is unable to look at the fruit of his tedious labor not only because he has created a hideous monster, but also because its embodies all the sins which he has committed. It symbolizes a mortal wielding the powers reserved to God. Not only is the monster estranged due to his appearance, but also due to his creation. He wasn’t born, he was created.
In an argument between Frankenstein and his creation, the monster himself is perfectly aware of the way he is judged solely on his appearance. The simple fact that he is aware of how other perceive him is evidence alone that he is not a monster, but the way he has been treated since his metaphorical birth has labeled him such. The monster replies after a verbal assault by Frankenstein, “’I expected this reception“, said the demon. “All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things!” (pg. 95). The creature is embroiled in a constant internal struggle between his self image and how people treat him. It is this strife that makes him the most miserable of all.
The monster frequently listens in on conversations between cottagers and uses it as a window to observe a world alien to him though he was created there. The monster gains further insight to his image from these observations of human nature. “Of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant, but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides, endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; I was not even the same nature as man” (pg. 119). The was villages have and will treat the monster are evident through his personal reflections where he bases his self image off the reactions of those who see him. The villagers label him as a monster because of his appearance this leads to the creature believing in fact that he is such.
The creature finally believed that he had found a friend in an elderly man, however this mans family had not yet seen the creature. Upon the sight of a large monster holding onto their father, the son Felix, “darted forward, and with supernatural force tore me from his father, to whose knees I clung; in a transport of fury, he dashed me to the ground and struck me violently with a stick” (pg. 136). Here is a picture of childlike happiness that is quickly and violently trampled by manlike fear and hatred for the different. The creature had done no harm to the old man yet was treated like he had murdered him. Felix actions were not driven by revenge, but rather fear, fear of the unknown or different.
Chapter 1: "Her brow was clear and ample, her blue eyes cloudless, and her lips and the moulding of her face so expressive of sensibility and sweetness that none could behold her without looking on her as of a distinct species, a being heaven-sent, and bearing a celestial stamp in all her features." When we are first introduced to Elizabeth, we see the connection of innocence not only to women but also to children. The way she is described epitomizes innocence, with words like "heaven-sent," and it is no coincidence that this perfect example of innocence is a female child. Elizabeth was found as an orphan, a mark of passiveness, and it sets up a view of women as helpless, pure, or naive from the first chapter of the novel.
Chapter 7: When William, Victor's younger brother, gets murdered, we see the helplessness of children illuminated. The picture he carries of his mother is also a direct symbol of innocence, showing his attachment to another figure. Within the same situation, the epitome of "the innocent woman" plays out as Justine is committed of this murder, which she did not commit. Justine is literally innocent yet immersed in misery, so when she tries to reverse this misery by confessing to mediate her situation, she still remains helpless and passive on the way to being executed. Either way, insisting she is innocent or confessing to the murder, she remains powerless of the outcome of her situation.
Chapter 13: "And I beheld a countenance of angelic beauty and expression. Her hair of a shining raven black, and curiously braided; her eyes were dark, but gentle, although animated..." The words used to describe Safie, the woman who arrives at the cottagers' dwelling, portray her as angelic and innocent as well. This image is further developed when we learn she does not speak their language; it makes her seem a bit less self sufficient and lacking information. With her positive presence in the cottage, we see her as pure and good, two main characteristics of the "innocent" woman. Additionally, Safie and her mother's situation escaping slavery by marrying men leaves us to believe they are passive, only rescued by their misfortune (slavery in this case) by men.
Chapter 16: "She continued her course along the precipitous sides of the river, when suddenly her foot slipped, and she fell into the rapid stream. I rushed from my hiding place and with extreme labour, from the force of the current, saved her and dragged her to shore. She was senseless." Above, the female child is literally passive and helpless by falling into the strong river, needing to be rescued. Again, the theme of "saved her" shows up, literally in words in this passage. Other literal descriptions add to this sense of naivety: "She was senseless." But overall, the greatest image of innocence in this female child is the fact that she cannot save The Creature from being blamed for harming her; The Creature can save her from the river's harm, but she cannot save him from the gunshot. This reinforces the idea that women are passive; the child was there, she knows the truth, including that The Creature did not intend harm but rather to "save her," yet she does not voice this as the village man runs away with her in his arms, his gun pointed at The Creature.
Chapter 20: "She also might turn with disgust from him to the superior beauty of man; she might quit him, and he be again alone, exasperated by the fresh provocation of being deserted by one of his own species." In this passage, Victor is running through his concerns he has regarding the creation of a female monster for The Creature. Interestingly enough, he fears the female creature will reject The Creature, deeming her dominant and in control. However, this dominant role still runs parallel to the theme of passive women because the only dominant woman figure is a figment of the imagination and ultimately unborn. Also, Victor's destruction of the female monster, even if it is a non physical destruction happening in the mind, puts the female monster in a position where her fate is decided for her and once again "she" is at a loss of control.
Chapter 23: "Elizabeth observed my agitation for some time in timid and fearful silence, but there was something in my glance which communicated terror to her, and trembling, she asked, "What is it that agitates you, my dear Victor? What is it you fear?" Here, Elizabeth is naive to the turmoil in Victor's world. Elizabeth, one of the main female characters in the story, is boxed out from the truth and magnitude of what is happening between Victor and The Creature, furthering the readers' view of women as innocent and naive; she is free of the twisted story Victor is living in.
Chapter 23: "It came from the room into which Elizabeth had retired. As I heard it, the whole truth rushed into my mind, my arms dropped, the motion of every muscle and fibre was suspended...and now, as she lay, her head upon her arm and a handkerchief thrown across her face and neck, I might have supposed her asleep." When The Creature strangles Elizabeth to death, she is seen as victimized and helpless, growing the representation of woman as innocent. Even the image last given of Elizabeth screams passiveness; she is limp and weak looking in her position. The diction describing her dead body adds to this reputation with words like "supposed her asleep" and "as she lay, her head upon her arm."