Tag: Frankenstein

Portfolio

Preface:

Literature today is shifting to a whole new world of technology. Literature pieces are being found in the electronic form more abundantly than ever before. This shift to electronic literature has a negative impact on the ways of the reader, even altering the way readers take in information. Conventional literature has the ability to immerse readers, and convey the emotions and beliefs of the author.

The reason I have chosen my third writing project to revise, was because I believed that it had the most potential as a persuasive essay. Before revisions, it was my best work so far this semester, but still not good enough. The goal for revising my third writing project was to revise in terms of expansion. Expanding my writing draft allows for me to really drive home the ideas in my persuasive essay. I expanded on the idea counterargument using Frankenstein, and also expanded on the idea of the electronic literature piece, Luminous Airplanes. In attempts to revise my draft even more, I contrasted the idea of expansion, and tried to condense some areas by combining sentences and taking some elements out. I also investigated run on sentences. Revising by condensing your argument allows you to keep your argument concise. A long argument will lose and bore readers, but a short essay will not get the argument across.

The revised draft of my third writing project is a shadow of my growing, writing, capabilities. Starting out the semester with strong writing, I have been using the writing role models to help model my writing. I believe that the revision techniques I have learned to use, have allowed me to better my writing in numerous ways. In high school, I never considered myself to be a strong writer because I was limited to writing systematized essays on books I didn’t enjoy. My writing this semester has opened a door full of new opportunities allowing me to go anywhere.

In future writing courses, I plan to use more of the techniques I learned this year. Using a role model to help style my writing, has also been very beneficial to me. In this particular revision I focused in on the work of Nicholas Carr; I used his extensive writing techniques to help strengthen my argument. Adapting to use these various techniques, I expanded on the use of counterargument. In the original draft, my use of counterargument was introduced, but did not drive home the idea. A strong counterargument introduces a new idea, and then reverts the reader back to the original argument. When revising and expanding on my counterargument I used this basic outline.

I pledge my word of honor that I have abided by the Washington College Honor Code while completing this assignment.

 Adam Andrew Mrowiec

 

The Electronic Way: Revised Draft

The world around us is relying on technology more every day. Even our common necessities like our wallets and maps are being integrated into our smart phones. With a smartphone we have access to a whole new world of information and knowledge. The shift to electronic literature is having a negative impact on people by shaping our society and the way we think. Written literature is an expression of an author’s beliefs and emotions. These emotions and beliefs are getting lost in this shift to an electronic era of reading because of the quick “skimming” adaptation readers have acquired, allowing for the idea of deeper reading to be forgotten.

Google works 20 times faster than most home internets, leaving the access to unlimited knowledge at your fingertips. Is this necessarily a good thing? In today’s world we are left with children who would google something 10 times before they open up a textbook to find an in text answer. In Nicholas Carr’s article, “Is Google making us stupid?”, Carr mentions the ungodly speed that we can get information. Our brains and bodies are adapting to this “swiftly moving stream of particles” (Carr 7). We are becoming more dependent on the internet for its tools and resources. We are entering an age where print is being forgotten. We are entering an age of electronic literature. Libraries are becoming less relevant, students are buying less textbooks, and people are forgetting conventional literature. Articles are no longer being read, but they are being dissected for the plunder of information. People find what they need from a piece of literature, and don’t look back. The age of immersion and reading is over. Is google making us stupid? Not necessarily, but it is changing our way of life and learning.

The idea that our society is shifting into one big “global village,” is not new to us. In 1967 McLuhan predicted this shift in a novel he wrote: The Medium is the Massage. He understood the technologies before his time. McLuhan pondered the question: is the medium that delivers the message more important than the message itself? He wrote, “All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered” (McLuhan, 19). In writing this, the author told readers that we are becoming absorbed in the way that we receive information. Our brain begins to adapt to the way we read. Since the new form of skimming and electronic literature have become prevalent, our mind has altered the way it tries to obtain information. Our society is becoming dependent on this idea of electronic literature. Written literature is being forgotten and replaced by search engines and “find” tools on our electronics. Electronic literature is not, however, exactly by definition “literature.”

When defining literature, there are a couple different approaches a reader can take. By definition, literature is “written works considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.” The problem with electronic literature, by definition, is that the artistic merit is overlooked by readers. While exploring electronic literature pieces such as Luminous Airplanes, I overlooked the message that the author was trying to get across because I got lost in the reading.  The piece was merely a perception of the writer, and more of the reader. Readers could navigate through the piece as they pleased, and could pick out parts they that wanted. The reader could in fact pick out the way the story played out. This is not a conventional reading experience. The artistic merit of Paul La Farge is lost because the reader does not receive the artist’s message from a deeper reading because there is no deep reading involved in the completion of electronic literature. I felt like I was clicking through a labyrinth of chapter that were somehow all connected. Birkets defines novels as “immersive” and he wrote about how reading in his younger days took him places with the characters. Electronic Literature lacks being immersive, because the reader is not going where the author wants them to. When an author writes a piece of literature, there is an introduction, body, and conclusion with an overall message. With electronic literature, all of this is avoided, because the reader can just pick out what he needs, and the author’s message is not passed.

The idea of deeper reading is being lost with this adaptation to a fast paced electronic world. McLuhan even said, “I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski” (Carr). By saying this, Carr shows readers how much the ways of the reader have changed. He finds himself guilty of only skimming through electronic literature, finding just what he needs; contrary to his old “scuba diving” ways of deeper reading. Birkets, in his Gutenburg Elegies, coins what it means to deep read. He tells us what it truly means to read. “Reading, because we control it, is adaptable to our needs and rhythms. We are free to indulge our subjective associative impulse; the term I coin for this is deep reading: the slow and meditative possession of a book. We don’t just read the words; we dream our lives in their vicinity. The printed page becomes a kind of wrought-iron fence we crawl through, returning, once we have wandered, to the very place we started” (Birkets). In this passage, Birkets gives an illustration of what an immersive text should feel like. He touches on the idea that reading changes from reader to reader to help us fully immerse into a text. Electronic literature adapts to the readers need in a different way. Electronic literature pieces do not immerse the reader because of the way it is read. Electronic literature promotes the idea of “skimming” and sells people short, instead of exploring new limits pushed by imagination. Part of the reading process is bringing a narrative to life and exploring the deeper natures.

Many people may disagree with my argument and say that the idea of a rapidly growing technologically based world is beneficial. Search engines leave people with the knowledge of a dozen libraries at their fingertips, instantaneously. Technology and electronic literature can indeed be used for efficient learning; however, the classic reading experience cannot be forgotten. The benefit of efficiency is conversely not applicable to electronic literature pieces similar to Luminous Airplanes because the reader is choosing the plot of the story taking away from the artistic merit and not picking out specific information. Classic literature pieces like Frankenstein show the author’s depiction of a cruel a dark world by using intertextuality. Readers must use Birkets’s idea of deep reading to analyze text and fully appreciate Mary Shelley’s artistic merit.

The deeper reading of Frankenstein can also be in some sense perceived as a hypertext. The reader must be interested and engaged to understand the intertextuality that allows fir the novel to further complicate the simple plot. Mary Shelley uses multiple literary techniques to immerse her readers that will further analyze text. Although I grant that electronic literature may be efficient at times, important artistic depictions are lost without the idea of deep reading. The idea of deeper reading is lost in the element of electronic literature pieces like Luminous Airplanes. It does not immerse readers for a deeper reading of a written piece.  Our minds are adapting to the vast availability of quick information, and people are forgetting the immersion of conventional literature.

Reading a book allows readers to push their imagination by immersing themselves in the authors words. In a conventional piece of literature, there is a beginning, end, and an overall message up to interpretation. With the shift to electronic literature, readers are allowing this access to alter their ways of reading. The altering of our reading habits changes the way our brain takes in new information. Readers are no longer absorbing the emotions and beliefs put forth by an author because they have the ability to skim through and pick out what information is needed.

The Electronic Way: Original Draft

The world around us is relying on technology more every day. Even our common necessities like our wallets and maps are being integrated into our smart phones. With a smartphone we have access to a whole new world of information and knowledge. The shift to electronic literature is having a negative impact on people by shaping our society and the way we think. Written literature is an expression of an author’s beliefs and emotions. These emotions and beliefs are getting lost in this shift to an electronic era of reading because of the quick “skimming” adaptation readers have acquired.

Google works 20 times faster than most home internets, leaving the access to unlimited knowledge at your fingertips. Is this necessarily a good thing? In today’s world we are left with children who would google something 10 times before they open up a textbook to find an in text answer. In Nicholas Carr’s article, “Is Google making us stupid?”, Carr mentions the ungodly speed that we can get information. Our brains and bodies are adapting to this “swiftly moving stream of particles” (Carr 7). We are becoming more dependent on the internet for its tools and resources. We are entering an age where print is being forgotten. We are entering an age of electronic literature. Libraries are becoming less relevant, students are buying less textbooks, and people are forgetting conventional literature. Articles are no longer being read, but they are being dissected for the plunder of information. People find what they need from a piece of literature, and don’t look back. The age of immersion and reading is over. Is google making us stupid? Not necessarily, but it is changing our way of life and learning.

The idea that our society is shifting into one big “global village,” is not new to us. In 1967 McLuhan predicted this shift in a novel he wrote: The Medium is the Massage. He understood the technologies before his time. McLuhan pondered the question: is the medium that delivers the message more important than the message itself? He wrote, “All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered” (McLuhan, 19). In writing this, the author told readers that we are becoming absorbed in the way that we receive information. Our society is becoming dependent on this idea of electronic literature. Written literature is being forgotten and replaced by search engines and “find” tools on our electronics. Electronic literature is not, however, exactly by definition “literature.”

When defining literature, there are a couple different approaches a reader can take. By definition, literature is “written works considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.” The problem with electronic literature, by definition, is that the artistic merit is overlooked by readers. While exploring electronic literature pieces such as Luminous Airplanes, I overlooked the message that the author was trying to get across because I got lost in the reading.  The piece was merely a perception of the writer, and more of the reader. Readers could navigate through the piece as they pleased, and could pick out parts they that wanted. The reader could in fact pick out the way the story played out. This is not a conventional reading experience. The artistic merit of Paul La Farge is lost because the reader does not receive the artist’s message from a deeper reading because there is no deep reading involved in the completion of electronic literature. Birkets defines novels as “immersive” and he wrote about how reading in his younger days took him places with the characters. Electronic Literature lacks being immersive, because the reader is not going where the author wants them to. When an author writes a piece of literature, there is an introduction, body, and conclusion with an overall message. With electronic literature, all of this is avoided, because the reader can just pick out what he needs, and the author’s message is not passed.

The idea of deeper reading is being lost with this adaptation to a fast paced electronic world. McLuhan even said, “I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski” (Carr). By saying this, Carr shows readers how much the ways of the reader have changed. He finds himself guilty of only skimming through electronic literature, finding just what he needs; contrary to his old “scuba diving” ways of deeper reading. Birkets, in his Gutenburg Elegies, coins what it means to deep read. He tells us what it truly means to read. “Reading, because we control it, is adaptable to our needs and rhythms. We are free to indulge our subjective associative impulse; the term I coin for this is deep reading: the slow and meditative possession of a book. We don’t just read the words; we dream our lives in their vicinity. The printed page becomes a kind of wrought-iron fence we crawl through, returning, once we have wandered, to the very place we started” (Birkets). In this passage, Birkets gives an illustration of what an immersive text should feel like. He touches on the idea that reading changes from reader to reader to help us fully immerse into a text. Electronic literature adapts to the readers need in a different way. Electronic literature sells people short, instead of exploring new limits pushed by imagination. Part of the reading process is bringing a narrative to life and exploring the deeper natures.

Many people may disagree with my argument and say that the idea of a rapidly growing technologically based world is beneficial. Search engines leave people with the knowledge of a dozen libraries at their fingertips, instantaneously. Technology and electronic literature can indeed be used for efficient learning; however, the classic reading experience cannot be forgotten. The benefit of efficiency is conversely not applicable to electronic literature pieces similar to Luminous Airplanes because the reader is choosing the plot of the story taking away from the artistic merit and not picking out specific information. Classic literature pieces like Frankenstein show the author’s depiction of a cruel a dark world by using intertextuality. Readers must use Birkets’s idea of deep reading to analyze text and fully appreciate Mary Shelley’s artistic merit. Although I grant that electronic literature may be efficient at times, important artistic depictions are lost without the idea of deep reading. Our minds are adapting to the vast availability of quick information, and people are forgetting the immersion of conventional literature.

Reading a book allows readers to push their imagination by immersing themselves in the authors words. In a conventional piece of literature, there is a beginning, end, and an overall message up to interpretation. With the shift to electronic literature, readers are allowing this access to alter their ways of reading. Readers are no longer absorbing the emotions and beliefs put forth by an author because they have the ability to skim through and pick out what information is needed.

Works Cited:

Birkerts, Sven. The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age. Boston: Faberand Faber, 1994. Print.

McLuhan, M. (1989). The medium is the massage. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Carr, N. (2008). Is Google Making Us Stupid? Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education.

 

Advertisements

A shift in monstrocity

Abstract: The use of intertextual elements in the Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein complicates the characters of Victor and the creation allowing for sympathy of the creation. The references to Paradise Lost and Mary Shelley’s version of Genesis put forth her view of a cruel dark world shifting the monster from Victor’s creation to society in our world.

 

  • What is working? I believe I have a strong counterargument that helps further and support my argument.
  • One thing I believe I could have done better is used more in text evidence and developed a deeper reading, however I feel as if my argument was not affected by the minimal use of textual evidence.

 

The Humanization of a Monster

The English idiom “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is very applicable to the world around us. Many people today hide their vast amazing knowledge behind a wall that someone passing by would never suspect. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor’s creation is judged by his cover and for that reason is an alleged monster. The intertextual evidence used by Mary Shelley in the writing of her “horror classic” complicates and destabilizes the mainstream idea of the creation being a monster. Her comparisons to the characters in Paradise Lost and her rewriting of the Genesis story allow for readers to humanize the creation understand the author’s view of a cruel dark world that shifts the monstrosity from the creation to the society around us.

The monster is humanized in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley through the use of intertextuality. Throughout the novel, there are many signs of intertextuality. Mary Shelley references the literary works of Paradise Lost and the Genesis story in the bible. These were seen as the monster began to educate himself and explore literature. Through this self-exploration of literature, the story of Frankenstein is further complicated by the intertextuality used by Mary Shelley.

The monster starts to read books he found in a satchel, and began to find similarities between himself and fictional characters. One of the books that he began to read was Paradise Lost by John Milton. Unaware the story was fictional, the monster read the story as factual history. Further reading the story, he sympathized with the character of Satan. The reading of Milton’s Paradise Lost allowed for Victor’s creature to realize that he was a monster. He found similarities between himself and Satan, and began to sympathize with Satan. The sympathy shown by the monster for Satan, humanizes him which furthermore complicates the simple storyline of Frankenstein.

Victor Frankenstein is also seen in the novel to have startling similarities to the characters in Milton’s writing. Victor Frankenstein begins the novel as an innocent happy character. He begins a quest for knowledge and complicated sciences that allow for him to play creator. This “forbidden” knowledge causes him to “fall from grace.” He creates something that he sees as evil and satanic and refuses to claim it. This shows similarities to God in the Paradise Lost story. Victor compassioned with his Satan when he was speaking but could not overcome the monster’s looks. “His words had a strange effect on me. I compassioned him, and sometimes felt a wish to console him; but then I looked upon him, when I saw the filthy mass that moved and talked, my heart sickened, and my feelings were altered to those of horror and hatred. I tried to stifle these sensations; I thought, that I could not sympathize with him, I had no right to withhold from him the small portion of happiness which was yet in my power to bestow” (Shelley 158). Mary Shelley in this excerpt uses the book of Genesis to additionally complicate the story. Victor is the creator with the power to give the monster (Adam) a loving partner (Eve). Victor’s original thought of creating a partner was innocent, just how God never thought that Adam and Eve would sin and betray him by eating the forbidden fruit. The intertextuality of Milton’s story and the book of Genesis complicates the characters of Frankenstein through hidden comparisons and references.

The intertextuality of Paradise Lost in Shelley’s Frankenstein destabilizes the main storyline of the novel. The main storyline of the novel that common Hollywood producers take from the original novel, is that Victor’s monster is a ruthless killer. The comparison of the monster to Satan and Victor to the creator, destabilizes the original storyline by humanizing the monster. This destabilization complicates the original understanding the reader of the book has by shifting the monstrosity from the creation, to the people of society. Mary Shelley’s reference to Paradise Lost changes the depiction of the “monster” to a “creation,” also allowing readers to see the world in Mary Shelley’s dark perspective. Through her writings in Frankenstein, she puts forth her view of a dark, mean world.

Mary Shelley uses the intertextuality of Paradise Lost to show readers that the world she sees is mean and dark. She rewrites the Genesis story to fit her perspective of the twisted world. Victor’s creation is constantly rejected by society and his creator because of the way he looks. Nobody in the novel sees through the appearance of the monster, and looks at the intellectual beauty of him. Victor can be referenced throughout the novel as the “creator,” just as God created Adam. However, in this world, unlike the biblical version, the monster gets no partner and is rejected by its creator. In Milton’s Genesis, Eve played a key role in humanity. According to him, Eve’s sin by taking the apple is what makes us human. After Victor refuses to make another creature, the creation becomes filled with rage that was not previously seen before. The creature was inherently good, but throughout the novel was shown nothing but evil from a “dark” world. Coincidently, all of the wrong doings of the monster, happen at night. The world that Mary Shelley creates in Frankenstein is a cruel and twisted representation of the Genesis story.

It is easy to overlook the intertextuality placed before the reader and say that I, as a writer, am looking too deeply into Frankenstein. People in our world are reluctant to look at monsters in film, as human or good. It is in human nature to use black and white words to describe the world around us. Words like: good, bad, evil, villain, and hero are commonly used in stories. If readers were to overlook Paradise Lost in the novel, then they would view the creature as “evil,” and believe that it deserved the treatment it received. Without the deeper reading of the novel, it is a classic horror script as seen in the Hollywood productions. Mary Shelley would be disappointed if she were to see the reproductions of her novel in film. The comparisons to Paradise Lost and her recreation of the Genesis story in her “horror classic” allow for readers to sympathize with the creation, destabilizing the thought that it is a monster.

When the word Frankenstein comes to mind, the Halloween green skinned, wide eyed, huge monster comes to most people’s mind. The deeper reading of Frankenstein allows for the finding of hidden messages in text. Intertextual elements are used by writers to complicate, compare, and destabilize the upfront plot of a story. Mary Shelley uses Paradise Lost and the Genesis story to humanize the creation allowing for readers to sympathize with him. The character comparison between stories allows for the complication of the plot destabilizing the Hollywood depiction of Victor’s creation and putting forth the author’s view of a dark and cruel world.  Based on my analyzation of Frankenstein, the genre of horror should be deeper understood for: who exactly is the “monster”?

 

Sources:

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or, The modern Prometheus. Ed. Kathleen Dorothy Scherf and David Lorne Macdonald. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Press, 2012. Print.

 

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?