Monster?

Victor Frankenstein may be labeled as a mad scientist or a freak show, but not everyone can exactly pin point why. He was raised in a normal family with siblings, friends, and a cousin wife. After his mother died, he set out to study at Ingelstadt where his thirst for knowledge came about. Victor began his studies of natural sciences, anatomy, and natural philosophy. He discovered the “enticements of science (Shelley 77).” He also became obsessed with the thought of life and the human frame, so much that he even began to construct his own personal human being. He became so obsessed with his work he forgot his family and everyone. Victor was playing god.  He creates a human he believes is so ugly, that he cannot bear to look at, and becomes very ill. The “monster” is left alone until Victor gets word that his little brother, William has been murdered, and the little girl from his mom’s funeral was falsely accused for it but Victor knew it was his creation’s doing.

Knowledge is power. Before Victor left for his studies, he was an innocent family man. After he left for his studies, he created a monster that killed his own brother. This all arose from curiosity of human anatomy and natural sciences. Victor had found himself through literature of sciences so much that it consumed him. At one point he wrote, “natural philosophy, and particularly chemistry, in the most comprehensive sense of the term, became nearly my sole occupation (77).” He kept gaining and gaining more knowledge, that he became capable of “bestowing animation upon lifeless matter.” This shows how much power he gained through his studies. Victor became a creator through just self-explored knowledge of the natural sciences and philosophies. He wanted to be “blessed as a creator and source.” A key term in this section of the novel is curiosity. Victor displays curiosity in the natural sciences and believes that will make him happy, but in the end curiosity killed the cat.

One question that arose from the readings of Frankenstein was how did Mary Shelley relate to Victor? When Mary Shelley wrote the original novel she was 19 years old. This is around the age Victor is in the novel. The creation of the monster is often compared to child birth, so possibly Mary Shelley wrote the novel comparing the monster to a child being born and neglected. What is the deeper meaning to Mary Shelley’s writing? Another question that I asked myself while reading was, why did Victor dedicate all this time and health for something he never wanted to see again?

Literacy? What are you?

Abstract: Academic contrived literature suppresses creativity and the drive for literacy and self-expression in people. The common school curriculum takes the wrong approach with educating individuals on literacy causing them to keep their emotions and views to themselves. Literacy should be self-explored and should represent personal experiences.

  • The project is arguing against the common curriculum seen in schools today. It argues that literature is something that should be explored by one’s self and should reflect the inner conscious.
  • One element that I really focused on in the initial draft, was the use of literary examples to help support my argument. I believe that this use of Birkets and Graff really helps strengthen my argument.
  • Something else on my to-do list that was not quite achieved was the addition of a counter argument. I think that I should have spent a little more time working on the counter argument, which would ultimately show the other side to my argument. I did introduce a counter, but did not go in depth.

Literacy is defined as ability to read and write. To me, literacy is so much more than just the ability, because many people can read and write. A lot of those people choose not to express their inner views and feelings using their literary capabilities because of past encounters of forced literature. Contrived literature in school has left a sour taste in many people’s mouth because of the way it was forced upon them with the common “curriculum.” Literature should be something self-explored and should be an expression of one’s interests and views. Literacy to me is not exactly the ability to write, but the ability to explore one’s self through reading texts of interest, and writing of personal experiences.

I have had a relationship with reading ever since I was a young child. All relationships have phases. The first phase of every relationship is the cupcake phase. The cupcake phase is a newfound love, that everything you do makes you think about them. This began when I first started to read fiction novels by myself around the fifth and sixth grade. I became so infatuated with novels like Harry Potter, Eragon, and novels of Greek mythology that I would sometimes find myself constantly thinking about the characters; I would try and be the characters in real life. The next phase of the relationship is the disbelief phase. You find yourself in disbelief because your partner is forcing views and other things upon you and you question the relationship. This phase with reading occurring during the late states of middle school and all through high school. I was forced to read non-fiction novels that did not interest me, and write about things I had no interest in, contrary to the journals I would write about my fiction characters. I was angry and in disbelief that literature would do this to me. I was angry that literature would be forced upon me like this. I still am trying to reach the final phase of my relationship with reading and writing, the re-found love. Soon I will find pleasure in reading again, but until then I will myself being forced to read books that do not interest me because it is part of a “curriculum.” I might be getting close, but I am sure not there yet.

The biggest mistake in the common “curriculum” I have experienced through my schooling, was that writing had to be passive and with no opinion. Everyone’s writing was the same, with just different syntax and diction. This is where the curriculum went wrong in their schooling. Literature is supposed to be something of opinions and inner views. No two people’s essays should be the same in concept because no two people see exactly the same on any topic. For example, my senior year of high school I was asked to write a final paper comparing two books that my class read. The comparison was not what I took out of the book, or not how I felt about the book, but the plot and common writing techniques. This made me hate the books we read because I was just regurgitating the contents of the books onto a 5-page paper, double spaced, times new roman, 12-point font. The entire class spark-noted the books and compared them in an essay that they deleted upon submitting it, just like programmed robots. Gerald Graff wrote in an article called Hidden Intellectualism, “I can’t say schooling silenced me–it wasn’t powerful or well organized enough to do that. What schooling did was prevent me from recognizing my own intellectualism (Graff P40.)” In this excerpt, Graff was specifically saying how the schooling failed to allow children to express their views and personal opinions. The article hidden intellectualism brought up some key points. Throughout the article Graff commonly said how schooling brought down individuals who believed their whole lives that they were less than intellectual because they couldn’t keep up with contrived literature, and think the way they were told to. This is where the “curriculum” went wrong. This is where people strayed away from literacy because it was inflicted upon them and made them feel stupid.

Somewhere along the line, literature went from being personal and relatable to something abstract. Literature became something that we must think hard and long to try and understand. The earliest signs of literature in the world, was of stories. Literacy began as a thought, not as writing. People would tell great stories of war heroes by the camp fire, while little boys would listen and imagine themselves one day saving their village in a heroic manor, just as a young boy would imagine himself hitting a homerun with the bases loaded to win the world series. People in later generations began to writing these stories down and reading them by themselves. Reading was still a matter of self-interest, and genuine adoration. When did the “curriculum” become something that no one cared about or could relate to? It is easy to argue that we must read to become more articulate and more knowledgeable, but of what importance is knowledge if it is not useful to you? Sven Birkets in The Gutenberg Elegies writes about his personal experiences with literature and the importance of it to him. He writes how, “the desire and the ability to write are closely bound up with the love of word (Birkets 39).” By this, Birkets implies that in order to love and understating writing, you must be able to appreciate good literature. How is one supposed to appreciate good literature if they never feel inclined to read it? In this passage of the Gutenberg elegies, Birkets shares personal experiences which made him appreciate literature. Reading and writing should be explored by one’s self, not forced upon.

Through literacy, anything is possible. The possibilities of exploration are endless. The “curriculum” does not limit me. I can go to a library and in one day learn all there is to astronomy, and the next day everything there is to cooking. Self-explored literacy ignites an ever lit fire that only knowledge can douse. Somethings are read for pleasure, and other things are read for knowledge. A specific instance I genuinely enjoyed the “curriculum” was my sophomore year writing assignment. My teacher, Ms. Howe, gave little to no guide lines. She told my class we have to write about a controversial topic we feel strongly about. The only rule of the assignment, was that we had to persuade her. I forever to this day am proud of the work I did. I enjoyed this assignment more than anything because I could explore topics in the world around me and educate myself on both sides and construct an argument.

The more something is forced upon someone, the less likely someone would be to enjoy it. For example, the more someone is forced to read and write about stuff that doesn’t interest them, the less likely they will be to read or write about something that does interest them. This is bad because this leaves people bottled up with emotions, radical views, and heavy opinions. Graff wrote in his essay, Hidden Intellectualism, how since schooling inflicted literature on children, they stayed quiet on their opinions and resorted to violence on the playgrounds when presented with a disagreement. Self-explored literature taught me to explore both sides of an argument and educated myself before forming my own argument. Writing is a great way to let out your inner emotions. It is a good way to help express yourself in a way that you’re not normally comfortable with in public.

Literature can help individuals reach new potentials and share personal experiences that people could one day value. It should be valued as something personal and held close to you. Through literature someone can explore the world around them and find a thirst for knowledge without becoming too self-absorbed. Literacy in schools today is contrived and makes children lose their thirst for knowledge in entirety. Self-experiences and explorations should be a reflection of literature in today’s world.

 

Works Cited:

Graff, G. (2001). Hidden Intellectualism . Retrieved February 09, 2017, from http://www.fannelsbranch.com/comments/?p=42

 

Birkerts, Sven. The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age. Boston: Faber

and Faber, 1994. Print.

The Quite Interesting Elegies

Placeholder ImageThe world around us is constantly changing. Those resistant to the change are deemed ignorant and old school. Technology and moral values are changing at an alarming rate. For example, every year there is a new iPhone that comes out with drastic changes and something a previous iPhone didn’t have. In the same sense, each generation of young people is being exposed to drugs, sex, and other corrupting values at an earlier age. They are exposed through movies, music, and their peers. In a sense, technology is to blame. I vividly remember for my 12 birthday I received my first bow hunting set. I was ecstatic. My best friend Joe, who at the time was 13, received his first smart phone. I remember being so jealous of him that he had a smart phone, that sometimes I forgot about my bow set. Looking back on my 12-year-old self I am angry with myself for being jealous. For it is with that bow that I killed my first deer, and many outdoor REAL life experiences while my friend was inside trapped on his phone playing tetris.

In a sense this is what Birkets was arguing. He pointed out that more and more people are forgetting what literature is because of the fast growing technologies. At one point he wrote, “we have created technology that not only enables us to change our basic nature, but is making it inevitable.” It was inevitable that I received my first smart phone; it was just a matter of time. I agree with Birkets in his argument in chapter 1. He further more argued that “by in large, we ignore the massive transformations happening before us.” His argument was very urgent. He begins to close his argument in chapter 1 with the idea that a whole generation of children was engulfed in one motion picture, and the introduction to Disney. He specifically wrote, “will all these kids march forward into adulthood as Diseny automatons, with cookie cut responses to the world they encounter?” After reading the closing statements to that paragraph I had to stop and think; the thought of this was all too familiar. 1984 by George Orwell. Birkets introduced the thought that this motion picture is brain washing little children, just how most of the people in 1984 were brainwashed with their “cookie cut responses.”

In Chapter 2, Birkets begins to get a little more in depth on who he is as a writer and how he became the writer he is today. I find this section of the book to be very relatable, because he mentions how his family at home didn’t speak English. In my home, my parents raised me to speak Polish in the house. I too went into preschool not understanding the common everyday English language. I too felt that, “English wasn’t mine, it belonged to them.” This section of chapter 2, I found to be the most relatable to me. Chapter 2 was generally a better read. Birkets was took a less formal approach to this section, and made it so the reading could relate and also feel for him. When discussing his childhood, one quote that stood out to me was when Birkets said how he was scared to be left alone in a room full of books. Birkets wrote, “I thought the dogs would slip free of their confinement, and come baying after me.” This shows the passion that Birkets had for literature, and how real it was to him.

Literacy and Intellect to me

Literacy and Intellect to me

The article, “In Defense of Literacy,” that we were asked to read arose some questions. The entire thing didn’t quite make a lot of sense to me at first, however after re-reading it a couple times I figured out there must be a deeper meaning to what the author is trying to get across. Berry throughout the article kept using the word “practical,” and “practicality” as if it is some sort of doctrine. Merriam Websters Dictionary defines practical as: “of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas.” In a way this makes sense because he indirectly refers to the “practicals” as uneducated, and doesn’t seem to have a good view of these people. At one point of the article Berry actually wrote: “Short term practicality is long term idiocy.” Continuing, Berry also gave certain situations portraying practicals and how they live in the real world around us. He finishes the article by stressing the importance of literacy and literature. In the article I think that Berry was using the world literacy to symbolize out culture, and the practicals are corrupting our culture by not valuing the importance of literature and so forth. I do not agree with the view of literacy, because personally I believe that it is something that you must be interested in, and some people are just made for different things.

Graff had a different perspective and in my opinion it was more positive. Graff’s article about hidden intellectualism was very empowering because in a sense he gave hope to people who were brought down by school systems and told that they were not intellectual. He even brought up Holden Caulfield. An interesting quote that was said in the article was: “I can’t say schooling silenced me–it wasn’t powerful or well organized enough to do that. What schooling did was prevent me from recognizing my own intellectualism.” I had to read this more than once because it was kind of eye opening in a sense that I have been going to school since around the age of 4 and just now have I looked back on all those years of schooling and arose the question: is my intellectual potential being suppressed by the school system? The entire article was comparing street smart and book smart. Graff was in no way shaming schooling, but he was giving hope to people that thought that they were unintellectual. Personally I believe that I have hidden intellect. Throughout the years I have gotten my fair share of good grades, but I have also learned very valuable things from my work experience. I may not have gotten a 4.0 last semester, but I know how change my car’s oil or how to kill and clean a duck for dinner. People have valuable assets that help them get through their life, so I believe that everyone, in a sense, has their own hidden intellect.