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May 29, 2020, 05:24:22 am

Author Topic: Feedback on Frankenstein essay please  (Read 439 times)  Share 

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Feedback on Frankenstein essay please
« on: May 16, 2019, 12:00:13 pm »
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thank you

The topic is: ‘Both Victor and his creature experience profound loss over the course of the novel.’ Do you agree?

Written in the early 1800s during the prosperity of the study of the physical and natural world, and the development of technology, Mary Shelley’s gothic ‘Frankenstein’ demonstrates her criticism towards individuals going against the ‘natural order’. Shelley’s judgement is recognised through the major ramification of loss in various aspects due to this ambition throughout her novel. Both Victor Frankenstein and his creature do experience profound loss as a result of Victor’s actions, primarily in the form of physical familial loss. However, Shelley ultimately presents the most significant loss as the deprivation of justice from society faced by the female characters in ‘Frankenstein’.

Victor does encounter the loss of his kindred, but as a result of his obsession and ambition. Victor’s infatuation with acquiring ‘new and almost unlimited powers’ is what eventually leads to the loss of his kith and kin, and Shelley’s confrontation of these consequences that can arise from having unchecked ambition act as her warning towards readers to not pursue excessive knowledge. The tangible loss of Victor’s family and ‘solace’, Henry Clerval, during the rampage of Victor’s ‘deformed and abortive creation’ are seen throughout Shelley’s novel, and are strongly interconnected with Victor’s emotional trauma. Through the correlation between Victor’s loss of any kind of human connection and his ensuing hysteria, Shelley illuminates the importance of human ‘companionship’ and how the loss of this aspect for an individual can be highly detrimental. The impacts of this loss of human companionship are also exhibited by Shelley’s use of pathetic fallacy to describe Victor’s emotional state during his periods of isolation. From ‘the most violent storm’ when Victor flees his ‘abhorred monster’ to the ‘tremendous and ever-moving glacier’ when Victor’s conscience is troubled, Shelley’s language, loaded with negative connotations of nature, symbolise the turmoil that Victor faces as a result of his loss of human relationships. In the end, Victor not only faces the failure of his dream, to animate ‘a new species’, but also endures the torture and agony the consequences of this dream bestow upon him. In light of this, Shelley suggests that having some ambition and being interested in learning can be motivating and fulfilling. However, she elucidates that for an individual to become so ambitious to have fantasies of ‘boundless grandeur’ to become ‘the Creator’ themselves can be perilous. Additionally, Shelley emphasises how such ambition can lead to physical losses, such as the profound loss of human connection Victor experiences from his own actions.

Likewise, the creature also suffers from the lack and loss of a parental figure and ‘domestic affection’ as a consequence of Victor’s actions. Shelley emphasises the importance of having a parental, particularly paternal, figure for guidance in life through the role of the creature, who experiences ‘pain and anguish’ and later becomes deranged at the absence of its ‘creator’. This importance of a father figure is highly emphasised for the creature specifically, as he was born ‘unnaturally’ by Victor alone, and completely lacks a maternal figure. As well as the loss of a parental figure, the creature also loses his faith in humanity. Shelley expresses her criticism at society’s superficial values as the creature’s shunning from the ‘myriads of men’ is attributable to his ‘unearthly ugliness’ as Safie, who is also an outsider, is taken in and accepted by the De Lacey family because she is ‘beautiful’. Shelley further condemns the way society has developed when even William Frankenstein, just a young child who ‘had lived too short a time to have imbibed a horror of deformity’, draws ‘his hands before his eyes’ at the sight of the creature’s ‘miserable existence’. By comparing the fear instilled in a young child and older characters at the sight of the creature, with the compassion blinded old De Lacey shares with him, Shelley emphasises the value that her society placed on visual appearance, and argues that the only way to find the true nature of an individual is through communication instead of face value. The creature does indeed experience profound loss, and almost all of this can be blamed on Victor’s ambitious pursuit to overcome ‘the natural world’.

However, much like Shelley’s time period, it is ultimately the female characters who suffer the most loss in ‘Frankenstein’. Throughout the entirety of the epistolary novel where none of the female characters are given a narrative voice, Shelley conveys the loss of an opinion females faced in the early 19th century. Shelley further criticises the society of her era by demonstrating the possible consequences of the silencing of females during ‘frank-hearted’ Justine’s loss of justice at her court trial, as heartache is then bestowed upon the rest of the Frankenstein family. Furthermore, Shelley emphasises the vulnerability and lack of respect that females faced in her time period through Victor’s ongoing proclamation of his desire to ‘[penetrate] into the recesses of nature’. This recurring metaphor not only suggests that the yearning to go against the ‘natural world’ is corrupt and immoral as explained by the word ‘penetrate’, but also exemplifies Shelley’s disapproval at the power that men held over women in the 1800s to be able to invade ‘mother nature’. Shelley’s emphasis on the passiveness of women is accentuated as almost all of the female figures - such as Margaret Saville, Safie’s mother, and the De Lacey’s mother - in ‘Frankenstein’ are rarely seen. Shelley’s major omission of female characters mirrors the idea of egalitarianism that was introduced in the early 1800s, Shelley’s time period, which only included men instead of supporting both genders. In ‘Frankenstein’, it is argued that the female characters suffer the most loss, and virtually all of this loss stem from the patriarchal society of the time, and the actions of men such as Victor and his creature.

In Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, it is agreed that Victor and his creature do experience the profound loss of companionship as a repercussion of Victor’s actions. However, it is ultimately the female characters who suffer the most loss, as a representation of the lack of opportunities females in Shelley’s time period faced.
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Re: Feedback on Frankenstein essay please
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2019, 07:10:01 pm »
I think you have not fully explored the idea of "loss" in your essay topic - instead, you've discussed ambition and consequences.  Ask yourself - loss of what?  Remember that Victor's scientific studies are motivated by the loss/death of his mother, so "loss" stimulates Victor to achieve something worthwhile so that people (like his mother) don't die.  Unfortunately he suffers a "loss" of judgement when his ambition drives him to make the Creature and then disown it.  You could say that when Victor is away from his family he also loses the guidance of his father (his science teachers at the University are not a proper substitute).  As for the Creature, the way he tells it, he loses his curiosity about humans and this turns to hatred.  His early loss of a paternal figure like Victor leads him to observe and learn about humans (especially from the DeLacy family) but rejection overwhelms him. As for your point about the female characters, I think there should be brief comment about this in the earlier body paragraphs, perhaps in relation to Victor's "loss" being self inflicted to a degree, making the female characters vulnerable victims.  And ... where are the quotes?