This is a course blog for the members of EH236 at the University of South Alabama, Spring 2006.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Mary Shelley (for or against?)

Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein was written during the 18th century. During this time England was going through an infrastructure change, which is now known as the Industrial Revolution. We now know of what great positive impact that the revolution had in England, America, and the rest of the world, but at the time it had its critics and skeptics. Many people feared the industrialization of the world would create severe consequences. This idea is still alive today in movies like Terminator, The Matrix and books like 1985. Frankenstein reveals many of these early anxieties through the use of symbolism.
The Monster in Frankenstein would represent the machines. They are created by man, but man cannot control them. It’s one of the most popular fears of machines, that man creates them, but cannot control them. In the book Victor is obsessed with his creation. His life goes down the tubes, he losses contact with family, and struggles with depression. From creation the monster is shown as a drain on human life and as a negative force. This can also depict how the machines, upon entry of the work force, affected jobs and pay. Once the monster was created, it haunted its creator, Victor. This could also be symbolized as the machines haunting mankind. This haunting of Victor continues throughout the story, the murdering William, Henry, Elizabeth, and Justine (in an indirect way). The characters themselves are symbolic in a way, but mostly the way they died is symbolic of popular belief at the time of the revolution. They were all strangled, even Justine was hanged. This symbolism would show how machines entering the work place would slowly suck the life of the country and its people. As the story continues, the Monster asks his creator for a mate. When his plea is rejected he strikes with a vengeance. He keeps his vow to strike on the honeymoon of Victor and Elizabeth, killing Elizabeth. This shows how man would indeed become servants to there creation. The puzzling part would be at the end of the story. After victor dies and leaves Robert the task of capturing and destroying the Monster. The Monster busts in the ship and tells his side of the story. Robert has no sympathy for the Monster so he pledges a truce to Robert and then lives the rest of his days in his frozen world. This would represent the other side of the story. That machines are created for mans benefits, and do jobs that must humans wouldn’t want to do or could not do. There lives are “painful” and they are they servant, and man the master. If man keeps machines in there proper place, they will do no harm.
This Literary work was ground breaking for its time as was the era which it was written. This gothic style is very symbolic and can be very representative of the time. As we all well know the family was very political. This could be very positive argument for the revolution clothed in a gothic scheme and at first seemingly negative of the advancement of technology.


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