Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Surely, to be up late is to be up early!

Because it's early in the morning and I'm still wired enough to be up for hours, here's a post from a neglectful blogger: One recently written, and one written weeks ago. I'm hoping, like Mary Shelley, to receive a literary muse in the middle of the night...or at least mimic her thoughtful expression while sitting at my computer. To begin, excerpts from a recent essay (and if that doesn't bore you to sleep, I can't help you): 

Since its publication in 1818, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” has both entertained and challenged readers. While at first glance, one may consider this to be a clich├ęd tale of a hero’s quest to overcome a monster, there is more to this classic novel than meets the eye. Shelley so masterfully crafted the story that it leaves the reader questioning whether there really is a hero at all. This dialogic nature of “Frankenstein” lends the story its beauty and is perhaps its most enduring feature....
                    The likely candidate for a hero would, of course, be Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant and ambitious young doctor, attempting to discover the mysteries of life. Broken and madly driven by the death of his mother to his unorthodox experiments, Victor forsook domesticity and relationships with the living in the attempt to find a way to cheat death. In an attempt to atone for creating the monster, Victor vainly tries to terminate its existence and save the lives of his loved ones. But one cannot help but wonder how the monster would have acted had Victor fulfilled his duties as father and creator. As the monster says, “...where were my friends and relations? No father had watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses...”(141). Rather than nurturing his creation and training it how to live, Victor failed in his role as a creator by being selfish and worldly in his judgement of his innocent monster...
        The logical choice would then seem to be Victor’s tormented creature; oppressed and cast out by mankind, the monster seems to only return evil for evil, and certainly has the capacity for goodness. Despised by mankind, the monster could at least have lived out his days in nature rather than becoming the merciless creature he accused his creator of being. Indulging his vengeful nature caused him to be all the more despicable, precisely as he planned, “I will revenge my injuries: If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear” (173). After Frankenstein’s death, the monster repents of his vendetta and grieves his choice, “Now vice has degraded me beneath the meanest animal...whilst I destroyed his hopes, I did not satisfy my own desires” (273). Seeking satisfaction in the destruction of his creator, all the monster found was more emptiness, and he delights in the thought of ending his long and miserable existence away from the society that made him an outcast. 
Who then, is our hero? To whom can we turn for a noble example to follow? I believe this seeming lack of a hero is Mary Shelley’s intention. Drawing from the very real issues of injustice and death in her life, Shelley creates a situation where bad things happen to both to the innocent and the guilty. No level of knowledge or strength can save her characters, only the love and sympathy of their fellow creatures. Devoid of this, Victor and the monster both die miserable and alone. Therefore, the absence of a truly loving figure in “Frankenstein” results in the lack of a traditional hero. 

I'm not overly thrilled with it, but I've turned in worse work. I feel I did I weak job of answering the question posed for the essay, "Who is the hero in Frankenstein"...there's so much more to be explored, but I was already over twice the minimum word limit for the essay, so I figured that was enough. And now for something completely different: people watching and musings on gender differences and plants!

Men with flowers are fascinating things to behold. There’s a sort of awkwardness about them. You give a girl a flower, and she looks as natural with it as if she grew up out of the ground herself. The way she holds it, the way she admires its intricacy and scent, as if she could somehow absorb its beauty through examination...even the most nature-despising of women has some appreciation for flowers. And, of course, it must be granted that there are plenty of men that value flowers. But here... are two young men who look like they’d far rather bequeath the gorgeous roses they bear on some lovely lass. It fascinates me how much affinity guys seem to have to appreciate the beauty of a woman, and yet they seem to miss seeing it in everything else. 

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