Sunday, September 29, 2019

Frankenstein – how would a modern reader react to Frankenstein

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in the year 1818. Mary Shelley's writing was actually very relevant to the gothic literature written in those times. People back then had very strong religious beliefs and despised the idea of â€Å"playing God†. The new scary gothic-genre was exciting as well as inspiring for people. Mary Shelley uses negative adjectives and melancholy to create a gloomy and dark atmosphere. The first sentence is an example of this technique: â€Å"It was on a dreary night of November†¦Ã¢â‚¬  This sets the scene for the birth of the monster – the sinister mood already suggests that something bad will happen. In addition, â€Å"rain pattered dismally against the panes† and the candle â€Å"was nearly burnt out† with a â€Å"half extinguished light†. This is slowly building tension and the audience is on edge. The creature is always described in such a negative tone that the audience can share Frankenstein's distaste for the creature. There is a whole paragraph on just the ugly appearance, for example: The creatures eyes are described as â€Å"dull yellow† and â€Å"His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath†. The creature is also called a â€Å"wretch† and a â€Å"demoniacal corpse†. The audience first presumes the creature is evil as well as hideous. At the moment of his birth, however, the creature is in fact entirely benevolent: he affectionately reaches out to Frankenstein – who the creature calls â€Å"father† later – but is dejectedly abandoned by Frankenstein. The evil one is now seen as Frankenstein, besides he has given life to, what is really the equivalent of a newly-born child, and has now left it behind. This exposes the immoral side of his character – he takes place of God (which anyone would know is not going to be good) and then he just leaves it behind like a sort of experiment he has just finished with. This shows the moral issues about the story – mainly Frankenstein's approach of taking God's place, but also his inability to care (for creature and family), and this supports the saying â€Å"never judge a book by its cover† meaning outer appearance never exposes the true inside. For people in the 19th century, this broadened their views on religion as a whole and the story shows that no one should ever take God's place and if this is possible, there are grave consequences. However, for a modern audience to be reading this story, they will not receive half as much effect as people from the 19th Century. Mary Shelley wanted to intimidate the audience with frightening language, but for a modern reader this almost seems boring. You could say that her story set a platform for gothic writers to follow, however this language has been over-used and now seems very out-dated. Modern readers are not just less gullible than the 19th Century readers, but we're also much more educated and have a greater knowledge of science. We modern readers know that making life is scientifically impossible, even if a whole body is used (and definitely not with electric eels and whatever else Frankenstein did. And anyway what's wrong with natural reproduction? But obviously the 19th Century readers always open to new science and are excited by anything new really. But back then people were very unsure of how far man could play God. No person felt that there is no God, and everyone lived in fear for all misfortune was caused by God. On the other hand, many people from the 21st century are in fact atheist (meaning non-believer). We don't fear God as much as people from 19th Century, but we are still wise enough to understand that there are limits. If what Frankenstein did could be accomplished, should and would we do it? This is a very controversial issue that people back then would have a straight answer to. Scientists have only recently made bacteria just by DNA. This could have benefits of helping health care but could there be a danger of creating humans out of DNA? Also could cloning animals, ultimately end up in humans getting cloned and creating genetically superior humans and a genetic underclass? There is no doubt this story has sparked people's imaginations for generations but one question that still hasn't been answered is – Could man create new life?

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