Thursday, April 21, 2011


"She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down, and her pale and distorted features half covered by her hair. Everywhere I turn I see the same figure - her bloodless arms and relaxed form flung by the murderer on its bridal bier. Could I behold this, and live?" (page 144)

Personally, I found this moment to be one of the most climactic of the entire novel. Victor's character has finally reached his breaking point, his epitome of sadness. He doesn't understand why he can't continue to go on with his life in peace and instead is having it ruined by a creation he made years ago. What I find most ironic is that Victor gave the monster life, but now the monster is choosing to live his life in a devotion towards ruining Victor's. How can he be okay with that after all that he learned about interpersonal relationships from the De Lacey's? Granted, yes, I understand that he has a tragic lifestyle and must deal with rejection, yet even still I feel like destroying Victor's life is the incorrect course of action. If anything, Victor was the one person in the world who had the potential of being the monster's friend. He created him, so he had no reason to run away in terror. And now that the monster lost his temper with him I don't really see that as being a possibility anymore. While Victor's flaw could be considered being too curious, I would say that the monster's flaw could be considered his uncontrollable rage/temper.


"At one time the moon, which had before been clear, was suddenly overspread by a thick cloud, and I took advantage of the moment of darkness and cast my basket into the sea." (page 125)

Of all the things I could have chosen to talk about, I am still surprised that this sentence struck me the most and really stood out from the others. Earlier in the novel, the monster compares himself to the Fallen Angel and to Adam, saying that his creator is like God who rejects him for what he is. Here, I could not help thinking about how casting a basket into the sea was just like the story of Moses. When his mother couldn't take care of him anymore because of current society, she floated him down the Nile in the hope that one day he would find someone who would treat him with love and affection. I am sure that he never finished this female monster later on, so it made me start to wonder if he'll ever start to understand love or be treated with it before he dies. Because a life without love seems like no life at all. Through this indirect allusion, I saw parallelism with the Bible and with Frankenstein. I wonder if that works for the book's favor in terms of popularity or not. I feel like that could be detrimental to a book's success if a person doesn't identify whatsoever with the religious affiliation there.

Internal Conflict

"It was, indeed, a filthy process in which I was engaged. During my first experiment, a kind of enthusiastic frenzy had blinded me to the horror of my employment, my mind was intently faced on the consummation of my labor; and my eyes shut to the horror of my proceedings. But now I went to it in cold blood, and my heart often sickened at the work of my hands." (page 120)

I thought that this little snippet did a fantastic job of conveying the internal conflict that Victor is currently feeling involving the monster. He literally feels so physically guilty for doing this that he lets it begin to take over his life and becomes a complete hermit. Aware of his unhealthy reaction the first time, he works harder to protect himself from insanity the second time around. I can truly empathize with him for not wanting to act on this mission due to how long his recovery took, but at the same time I sympathize with the monster. As much as I disagree with the creation and what he is doing, I must admit that I do think he has a point. If he has to be denied any form of companion or friend or acceptance due to his gruesome appearance, then I think that having a friend would really help him out. People by nature are social beings, so I can only imagine how difficult it would be to cease communication with everyone I know. I would probably go nuts too if I was left alone, and if everyone treated me like I had the plague I would probably turn cruel as well.


"From that moment I declared everlasting war against the species, and, more than all, against him who had formed me, and sent me forth to this insupportable misery." (page 97)

At this time, the novel begins to take on a much more sadistic and malicious tone than it did before. Neglecting his melancholy tale, the monster begins to explain to Victor why he changed from a good-natured monster to a bad one. Stemming from nature v. nurture, it could easily be argued that the creation became the way he was due to other events around him. Because he was neglected and left with no companion, he was driven to look for some sort of friend elsewhere. Not stopping to think through the consequences, he decided to wage war against mankind for his frustrations and absolute misery. Although he was a kind being by nature, no one ever got to know him long enough to realize that because they were so hideously disgusted by his face and his terrifying nature. It just goes to show you how influential one's appearance can be.
Oddly enough, the creation didn't seem to think that Frankenstein's companionship would be enough. Instead, he used Frankenstein's brilliance as a weapon of manipulation : he asked for a lady creation in return for his disappearance.


"He loathed the idea that his daughter should be united to a Christian; but he feared the resentment of Felix if he should appear lukewarm; for he knew that he was still in the power of his deliverer if he should choose to betray him to the Italian state which they inhabited." (page 88)

To me, this little excerpt displays a sense of duty between two different characters. Felix felt a sense of honor and integrity in helping Safie's father escape from prison because he knew that he had been unjustly imprisoned. Convinced of his innocence, Felix could not stand by and allow him to be punished for no reason. Also, this shows that Safie's father wanted to at least pretend to be honorable and fair; as he was worried about appearing grateful. Originally he agreed that Felix could marry Safie, but later he changed his mind and tried to hide this fact from him. In fact, Safie finds out that her father has different plans for her when he tries to get her to move away after school. As anything else, the moment that the hapless teenagers are forbidden to love one another, they grow to understand each other and wish to be more than friends. Safie eventually escapes from her father's controlling grasp and marries Felix.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


As alluded to in John Milton's Paradise Lost, the monster entreats Victor to “remember, that I am thy creature: I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel.”

This chapter is absolutely crucial to the reader's viewpoint of the monster. Formerly a grotesque, uneducated, and frightening being, he now becomes a sensitive being with intellect whom one can relate to. He shares his story with his creator and evokes a sense of guilt for how he abandoned him when he gave him life. This insight allows the reader to identify with him and sympathize for Victor's cruel and undeserved behavior he exerts towards him. One way that the monster demonstrates his recently acquired intelligence is through his allusion towards the book Paradise Lost. By making connections, it shows that he has reached a level of higher order thinking and is now truly a human being almost. He compares Victor to God for granting him life, but also places responsibility for his evil actions in Victor's hands. His argument is that because he failed to nurture and nourish him, Victor's neglect transformed him into a monster who did not know the difference between the two. This creates another elemental aspect of guilt, because the monster basically tells Victor that he is accountable for all of the bad things he has done. If he had been cared for, he argues that he would not have reacted that way.


"Thus spoke my prophetic soul, as torn by remorse, horror, and despair, I beheld those I loved spend vain sorrow upon the graves of William and Justine, the first hapless victims to my unhallowed arts." (page 60)

After Justine takes the blame for little William's death, she pledges her innocence to Elizabeth and Victor. This realization that Justice is going to be killed for a crime she didn't commit sends Victor over the edge. His feelings of guilt grow to almost an intolerable level, and he becomes even more resentful towards the monster he created. Seeing it as responsible for the death of two people he loved, these circumstances further Victor's hatred for the creature and make him realize he has to find a way to ensure its good riddance. This also gives Victor another element of power in the story since only he holds the knowledge that can save Justice. He is the only one who knows of the existence of the monster and is convinced of its guilt, but he is hesitant because he doesn't think that anyone will believe his story. Ironically, the character who is condemned to death for an act she didn't make is named "Justice". I don't think that's true justice at all, and I think that most people would agree with me.


"It was on a dreary night of November, that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that i might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet." (page 35)

This was where Victor's tale actually began and the novel became a framestory. Something I found intriguing was that Mary Shelley originally started writing at this point and then added on the whole beginning of the novel at a later date. After reading the letters and first four chapters of the novel, I can't really imagine starting the book at this point instead and losing all of the knowledge I had gained previous to this point. I think that the beginning of this book is rather crucial to grasping the identity of the characters and the mystery of the plot. I was also sort of surprised at how quickly Shelley got to the description of the monster Victor created. She didn't really allow for time to build up suspense she just jumped right into the description of it. And, oddly enough, Frankenstein's monster didn't look anything like I imagined him too. The movies are a crock! Instead of being neon green with gruesome stitches, his "yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same color as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips." His description was something I found particularly interesting.

Random sidenote: the last time I read the phrase "dun-white" was in a Shakespearean sonnet written about his wife. I was impressed that I recalled that detail all this time later.


Walton: "...and devoted my nights to the study of mathematics, the theory of medicine, and those branches of physical science from which a naval adventure might derive the greatest practical advantage." (page 3)

Victor: "My application was at first fluctuating and uncertain; it gained strength as I proceeded, and soon became so ardent and eager, that the stars often disappeared in the light of morning whilst I was yet engaged in my laboratory. As I applied so closely, it may be easily conceived that my progress was rapid. My ardor was indeed the astonishment of the students, and my proficiency that of the masters." (page 29)

While there are many examples of how Walton and Frankenstein serve as paralleled characters in this novel, this was just one example backed with textual support. Both characters became extremely dedicated to their schooling in order to work towards their ultimate goal; to achieve the impossible. They realize the importance of deepening their education before this could become a possibility and therefore immersed themselves in their studies. Another similarity is how they both isolated themselves from their friends and families in order to work towards what they wanted most in life. They each gave up what was most important to them, meaning family, to focus on themselves and their own individual goals. In each circumstance, Victor and Walton also started to become obsessed with their goals. They neglected the other parts of their lives to focus solely on their aspirations. Walton wanted to sail to the North Pole and discover why compasses pointed North, and Victor wanted to discover how to create life from lifeless matter. Within their families, Walton and Victor have very close relationships with their sisters. In fact, Victor's mother mentions in the story that when they adopted Elizabeth her and Victor's father originally planned for them to become wedding partners. Weird.


"I see by your eagerness and the wonder and hope which your eyes express, my friend, that you expect to be informed of the secret with which I am acquainted; that cannot be: listen patiently until the end of my story, and you will easily perceive why I am reserved upon that subject." (page 31)

In class, my group was given guilt as one of its themes to pay particular attention to throughout the novel. Keeping that in mind, this excerpt stood out to me because it expressed guilt that Victor Frankenstein felt for infusing life into a lifeless being; hence, his nameless creation. What I found most interesting about the way he introduced this story to Walton was the way he kept the actual method of how he achieved it a secret. His reasoning was actually logical, saying that he refused to reveal how he did it in order to prevent anyone else from making the same mistake. Victor, guilt-ridden and distraught, felt a duty to warn Walton of his faults.
In my personal opinion, if I were Victor, I wouldn't feel as much guilt for creating the being as I would feel guilty for neglecting it immediately afterward. Realizing that he had underestimated his actions, he flees from what made and tried to run away from it instead of dealing with the problem at hand. If he had truly regretted his actions, I think that he should have found a way to terminate its life in the beginning of its existence before letting it even expose itself to society.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Resolution & My Thoughts Duo

"His eyes met mine so keen and fierce, I started; and then he seemed to smile. I could not think of him dead; but his face and throat were washed with rain; the bed-clothes dripped, and he was perfectly still... when I put my fingers to it [his skin] I could doubt no more: he was dead and stark!" (page 412)

To be honest, I thought that after reading so in depth about these characters' lives, the novel itself ended somewhat abruptly and left the ending so that the reader could interpret it how he or she wished. The entire novel is focused around love: unrequited love, forbidden love, love that cannot be acted upon, anguished love... the list is long. What most astounds me is Heathcliff - as hateful as he is, he never stopped loving Catherine throughout his entire life and feelings never once changed for her. He spends half of the novel talking about how we wishes for nothing more than to join her in death in order for them to be together again, and at the end Nelly narrates his eventual demise. Essentially he caused it himself because he decided not to eat for four days, but who's counting anyway? As the novel progressed, Heathcliff kept getting crazier and crazier; the ending was not surprising to me how he finally decided to give up on life. The way he died seem sort of uncomfortable, but it wasn't my death so I guess my opinion on the matter isn't the most imporant factor as it is. To me, I didn't really feel as though many of the conflicts had been resolved in this novel before its endings. Heathcliff was still crazy, and two characters died while still pining for Cathy. The only dynamic change that I can sense is Mrs. Heathcliff and it involved her total transformation in her treatments towards Hareton. If they were to end up together it would make this whole novel seem worthwhile because a love story have actually worked out.

Dynamic Character

"Earnshaw was not to be civilized with a wish, and my young lady was no philosopher, and no paragon of patience; but both their minds tending to the same point - one loving and desiring to esteem, and the other loving and desiring to be esteemed - they contrived in the end to reach it." (page 389)

With so many flawed characters to keep track of - Cathy, Heathcliff, Edgar, Isabella... - I started to wonder if there were going to be any significant dynamic changes in anyone. When Cathy and Edgar's daughter, Catherine, was manipulated into moving to Wuthering Heights, she originally changed for the worse. I was disappointed because I thought that the one happy character that I had been able to count on throughout the novel had finally come to her end and would eventually allow Heathcliff to break down her spirit. Fortunately, she continued to defy him and never departed from her fiery and indignant countenance. However, the most surprising aspect to Catherine's character was her behavior towards Hareton. At one time she sobbed at the idea that she was even related to such an "ignorant ruffian", but by the end she is educating him and it is clear that she adores him. Ellen tells Lockwood how they came to fall in love and how she decided to educate him so that he could not longer be stuck in ignorance. Somehow, against all odds, Catherine underwent a complete transformation and developed an unexpected friendship with Hareton. I was happy for him because I thought he was one of the misunderstood characters earlier in the novel. Personally, I liked this unexpected twist.


"Heathcliff, if I were you, I'd go stretch myself over her grave and die like a faithful dog. The world is surely not worth living in now, is it? You had distinctly impressed on me the idea that Catherine was the whole joy of your life: I can't imagine how you think of surviving her loss." (page 219)

This is one of my favorite moments in Isabella's dialogue with Heathcliff because I feel as if it's the ultimate burn for the year 1801. After Heathcliff tricks her into marrying him, he immediately starts treating her like garbage and she gets stuck in a relationship that she doesn't deserve. Although her tone is clearly bitter, angry, and resentful here, I have to admit that I think she is somewhat justified in her cruelty. Whereas she doesn't deserve the animosity that Heathcliff shows her because she had no control of Catherine's death, he completely does deserve the cruelty she shows him because he is so mean to everyone around him. Throughout this novel, I think that the overall tone tends to be one of a more "dismal spiritual atmosphere" and is somewhat gloomy. It's centered around love and anguish, and tends to be more negative rather than a novel of romantic happiness. The writing style is not what was typical of the time period, but that's why I like it. I think that Emily Bronte effectively wrote a novel that differed from all others in her time; essentially making this piece timeless today.

Situational Irony

"Linton denied that people ever hated their wives; but Cathy affirmed they did, and, in her wisdom, instanced his own father's aversion to her aunt...'Well I'll tell you something,' said Linton. 'Your mother hated your father: now then. And she loved mine,' added he." (page 295)

There was something about this passage that struck me. It was comical to me that both characters (meaning Catherine and Linton) were utterly convinced of their own side of the story but knew nothing of the other's. It was a perfect demonstration of how contrasting Edgar and Heathcliff were of each other and how they passed on their biased views to their children. It's also really interesting how interconnected all of the characters are in this novel. And I'm sorry, but am I the only one who finds it slightly disturbing that Catherine married her cousin? And then when he died she fell in love with her other cousin. Either way, the characters in this literary work are a little too close for comfort. In fact, the entire plot is a situationally ironic circumstance in my opinion because it is so far-fetched.


"The nuisance of her presence (Isabella's) outweighs the gratification to be derived from tormenting her!" -- Heathcliff (pg.188)

After marrying Isabella, Heathcliff wastes no time in telling her that he doesn't actually care for her, he just found their marriage to be convenient. His motivation for doing it was the knowledge that it would upset Edgar above all else, and he knew it would allow him to start conniving his way into attaining Thrushcross Grange for himself. If Isabella outlived Edgar, which was likely at the time, the Grange would become her property and therefore in his control. Throughout Wuthering Heights, I find most of Heathcliff's motivations for his actions to be rather interesting. It's almost as if he wants everyone around him to be more miserable than he is because of the overwhelming grief he feels for Cathy's demise. Though I sympathize with him to an extent, for the most part I find his actions to be unpredictable and overly cruel. I keep thinking that at some point in this novel he is going to change dynamically and become a benefactor, but so far I have been entirely incorrect in that conjecture. He truly is one of the coldest characters I've come to know.