Although the app was interactive and gave a new twist into reading Frankenstein, a few aspects of the app really hindered my overall experience. First, the pictures in the background really changed my imaginative images of Shelley’s Frankenstein. I really enjoy picturing characters, scenes, and places in a novel my own way and I think that is what makes a book so interesting to read. Like movies based off books, the imagination is taken away, the director or in this case app creator immediately throws these images into the reader’s head and the reader’s imagination is cannot run freely.
Another aspect of the app that I disliked was the tab for a variety of reasons. First, these tabs made each story different and although this is creative, I felt that because I picked a certain tab parts were left out of the story. The tabs perhaps would serve a better purpose if the reader could go back and choose different tabs to get an overall more in-depth version of Frankenstein. Also, having to click the tab after each page distracted me from the story and I felt, even though I was making decisions and now technically a part of the story, that I was some what disconnected. I could not become fully immersed in the story, as after each minute I had to take a step back from the story and think about which tab to pick next.
Lastly, I disliked how I could not find out how many pages were left in each section. By limiting the reader, it makes the reader antsy and the reader therefore anticipates the ending of each chapter. When I know how many pages are left, I can allot a specific amount of time and not feel pressured while reading. Without letting me know that in the app, I found I was less interested in the story and just wanted to know when it would end. The app was done very well, and does give an alternate and interactive way for reading Frankenstein. However, personally, I felt these features made the app less enjoyable and a paperback version is the right type for me.
A major theme prevalent throughout the last section of Frankenstein is the idea of curiosity. The want and need to discover new ideas and objects is seen in the character Walton during his letters home to his sister. After hearing the story about the fiend, instead of wallowing in sorrow for Frankenstein or horrified by the atrocity of this monster, he is primarily concerned with how Frankenstein made this creature. Walton “endeavored to gain from Frankenstein the particulars of his creature’s formation, but on this point he was impenetrable” (Shelley 209). Frankenstein told Walton this story to share his past years’ misfortune, but Walton was still fixated on the one part of the story Frankenstein wanted to leave out. Walton, as a good friend, obviously cares about his friend’s tumults, but his curiosity gets the best of him.
Another part of the story where the readers see Walton’s curiosity is when the rest of the crew, if in danger, wants to turn their voyage southward. As Walton pauses to answer this demand, Frankenstein reminds Walton and the crew that they “were hereafter to be hailed as the benefactors of [their] species, [their] name adored, as belonging to brave men who encountered death for honor and the benefit of mankind” (Shelley 214). Although this voyage presents so much danger and has a likelihood of death, Walton still wants to continue just for the sake of curiosity. He does not think about the cost, but about the new discovery he could make if he reaches the north. The strive for finding something new is so powerful and triumphs over all other emotions.
This theme continues when Walton sees the monster for the first time. He knew that the request of his friend was to destroy the enemy but upon seeing the fiend, he was “now suspended by a mixture of curiosity and compassion” (Shelley 217). Again, Walton knew what was in front of him and what he obeyed his friend he would do, but his curiosity transcended. This force of curiosity seems to overpower all, and make less of the other events in Walton’s past. This sense of curiosity can be applied to today’s technology, as each person strives to find something new, as it seems discovery is one of the most important parts of our lives.
In Ophelia Speaks: Resurrecting Still Lives in Natasha Trethewey’s Bellocq’s Ophelia, Annette Debo states that Ophelia “emphasizes the performative nature of her sex work, how she takes on other identities in order to be looked at and to protect the self she considers her own” (208). Ophelia not only takes on other identities during her sex work, but also does so in her overall life.
Ophelia does take on another identities in the brothel. Countess P tells the girls in the brothel to “see yourself through his eyes…let his gaze animate you” (Trethewey 11). Here the Ophelia, along with the other prostitutes, has to take on a role of someone she is not. She has to act according to how her customer wants and follow his lead. The woman is a malleable object to the customer. He can choose how he wants the girl to be and she has to immediately follow.
Not only does Ophelia feel the pressure to take on other identities in the brothel, but also in her earlier life. She “took arsenic- tablets [she] swallowed/to keep [her] fair, bleached white as stone” (Trethewey 20). When Ophelia went out into society and consequently was looked at, she felt the need to change her outer appearance. Taking the arsenic, made Ophelia more pure, white, and acceptable throughout society. In another scene, Ophelia leaves the brothel and goes out into the town. She dresses in “proper street clothes/a new bow on [her] white straw hat,/[her] white linen jacket cleaned/and pressed” (Trethewey 28). However, as she dressed like a white women and her skin matched that of a white women, a man recognized she was merely performing. The man realized that this was a place she was not allowed to be. Although Ophelia tried to properly dress and put on an identity of the upper class, her efforts were thwarted. She felt the need to dress up and become someone different just to live her daily life. Ophelia not only feels the need to follow Countess P’s instructions to put on an identity for the men in the brothel, but also feels the need to put on an identity to just survive.
In Bellocq’s Ophelia the technology of photography can provide both benefits and limitations. Photography benefits Ophelia, as it is her hobby, passion and escape. She enjoys “the camera’s way of capturing/the sparkle of plain dust floating on air” (Trethewey 27). Ophelia finds that photography is able to capture something beautiful in the mundane. Even in a dull scene, the camera can produce a photograph that glistens. Ophelia comes to recognize that photography cannot only make the ordinary exciting, but can also capture someone to remember. Ophelia, in a letter to Constance, asks Constance if she can “take [her] photograph, fix/an image of [her] for my table/to accompany what is left in [her] head” (Trethewey 30). Here, photography has the ability to let the mind retain more information. Taking Constance’s photograph and placing it in her home, can remind Ophelia of her friend and all the memories that belong with her. Without the photograph, the memories of Constance my unfortunately fade. This technology also benefits Ophelia by giving her happiness and control. Ophelia states that she “thrills the magic of [photography]” (Trethewey 43). She finds such joy in transforming a living image into something that is tangible. She is able to manipulate what goes in the frame and can produce an image that she thinks is beautiful. Ophelia exclaims, “what power/i find in transforming what is real” (Trethewey 44). Ophelia, instead of being controlled by the prostitution house, has control and power over the photography. She can choose who and what to photograph and alter the photograph into any way she likes.
However, photography has its detriments as well. Ophelia claims that she has “learned the camera well-the danger/of it, the half-truths it can tell” (Trethewey 30). Photography can only capture a moment in time, and leave out most details of a situation. It can paint a picture of a scene, but not portray it accurately. It can show an emotion, but without words and actions, the emotion can easily be misconstrued and faked. Ophelia looks at “what [Bellocq] can see through his lens/and what he cannot…what the camera misses”(Trethewey 43). Here, the readers are able to see that photography is limited. It can pick out a specific object, person, or scene to focus on, but it will never be able to capture its entire essence. Some part will be left out of the lens, and the viewer of the photograph has a skewed view. The camera conveys falsified images and has to leave out important details. Although photography has its benefits, one has to be careful of its limitations.
Although Charlie Chaplin’s silent film, Modern Times, appears on the surface to be just a satirical comedy about a little man with a funny mustache, it efficiently demonstrates the detriments of industrialization and technology. The viewers are first introduced to this film by the vision of a large clock. This immediately sets the main idea for the film that time is essential. To the factory, time is of utmost importance and the sole purpose of technology is to reduce time and increase efficiency. The large display of the ticking clock in the opening of the film emphasizes this notion. Consequently, the only words spoken in this silent film are the factory owner’s voice telling the workers to speed up their production. Again, the factory is only concerned with the time it takes to get tasks done; it does not care about the individuals attending these machines. The factory worries about efficiency, and the workers, especially Chaplin, are subjected to a time full of monotony. Although the factory is saving time and increasing efficiency, the factory becomes torturous and the workers are driven into a blank state. Chaplin is so focused on his assembly line of tightening bolts that when the line stops, he keeps continuing on the women’s buttons behind him. Chaplin is no longer thinking; the repetitiveness of his job has made his mind vacant. He keeps continuing once the job is done, as that is all his brain processes.
The importance of time is shown shortly again in the film when businessmen come to sell the factory the Billows Feeding Machine. This machine reduces the time it takes for the workers to eat lunch and will allow for more efficient industrialization. However, this machine cuts out the time for the workers to be humane. Lunch hour gives the workers a time to converse, clear their brains of the factory, and actually think. Lunch hour provides the workers the opportunity to actually portray human qualities, and this machine, although making the factory better off, again reduces the workers’ brains to nothingness. Modern Times clearly demonstrates how the factory, obsessed with only time and efficiency, dehumanizes their workers and solely cares about the best production possible.
Herman Melville’s “The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids” clearly demonstrates how technology dehumanizes society. The first half of Melville’s story depicts the upper-class bachelors who eat gluttonous meals, relax, and separate themselves from humanity. However, when one bachelor goes out into the industrial world he sees that not only are the bachelors detached from reality but also the technology of the new factories subjects its workers to nothingness.
The paper mill factory is located in the “Devil’s Dungeon” (Melville 1266). When the readers first come across this name, many negative connotations arise. The evil, mysterious and gloomy images that accompany both devil and dungeon set the scene for what takes place inside of the factory. The devil can be seen as the factory, an all-encompassing negative force that controls all the workers that work for it. While the dungeon signifies how the workers are trapped inside of the paper-mill working “twelve hours to the day, day after day” (Melville 1278).
When the bachelor first goes to the “Devil’s Dungeon” to see the paper mill factory, he is in awe with the great machine that produces the paper. He spends multiple pages describing all the machine is capable to do as the “great machine is a miracle of inscrutable intricacy” (Melville 1278). The technology has been heightened to be an impeccable force that ultimately becomes the dictator. The technology controls the lives of the people and the girls become only “mere cogs to the wheels” (Melville 1271) of the machinery. The technology defines the society. All are impressed with all the technology’s capabilities, but no one pays attention to the girls running the factory. The bachelor constantly compares the girls to the blankness of the paper, blank counters and the “pallid incipience of the pulp” (Melville 1277). These comparisons delineate the fact that these girls are empty. The people working in the factory are barely thought about because they are barely living. They are merely robots aiding to their mother machine. The industrialization and use of technology takes away the qualities that make the girls human, as they are no longer alive.
Throughout “Life in the Iron Mills” Rebecca Davis draws attention to the struggles of women. Davis emphasizes women’s struggles when Wolfe builds the korl statue. The statue goes against the typicality of a female. The statue was of a woman but was “muscular, groan coarse with labor”(Davis 2773). The statue represents the struggle of the typical working class woman. She was not beautiful, graceful or happy, the typical qualities defining a female. She was instead compared to qualities of a man. This statue expected and longed for something out of her life. Wolfe claimed the statue was hungry, not only for food, but also for life. The woman was not content, and wanted to be more than a meager female in her lifetime. This emphasizes the women’s low role in society and how one day they hope to grow out of this stereotypical role and create a more meaningful fulfilled life.
Contrary to what the women of this society crave to become, the males keep the term ‘female’ under submission. While Hugh Wolfe grows weaker, more haggard and is not able to fight in the cockpit, he is referred to as “Molly Wolfe” (Davis 2769). When the males in this society call Wolfe a female name, they emphasize women as inferior. They underscore females to be not as strong and unable to do the work males are able to do. Davis even compares Wolfe’s face to a “meek woman’s face” (Davis 2769); again his weak demeanor is automatically equated to a female.
However at the end of the novella, when all the people gather around Wolfe’s jail cell, there is a Quaker woman there. She is the one to comprehend Wolfe, to give him a proper burial and to assure Deborah that life will move on. Davis perhaps adds in this strong female character to allude to a future of gender equality. The women in this novella are struggling throughout and want to gain more out of their life, and the Quaker women shows that this someday will be able to happen.
As technology increases and becomes more invasive throughout society, unique identities seem to be lost. In Neuromancer, the identities of the characters persistently change and even identities can be replicated. Perhaps Gibson is trying to make the claim that with such omnipresence of technology, one cannot truly be his or her self.
The Tessier-Ashpool family epitomizes the strength of technology and the lessening role of identity in this futuristic society. Tessier-Ashpool gained its fortune from technology and used it to clone Jane and Jean, members of the family. Each of them was cloned ten times, weakening the distinctness of their individuality. Also, Ashpool modified a person to look like 3Jane. At first glance, it appears to be her, but in reality it was just a prostitute. Ashpool is able to use technology to manipulate people’s identity and therefore decline the uniqueness of 3Jane.
Armitage’s identity is also questionable. Armitage is his new persona, completely different from his past, Colonel William Corto. Technology was used to manipulate Corto, completely physically and mentally, in order for him to believe he was his new identity. However, when Armitage starts to break down he reverts back to the past. He starts talking as if he was Corto, his old facade. The reader therefore questions if techonolgy was able to completely replace identity or was the real Corto always still there. With all of the technologic advances to make Corto a new person, he still reverted back. Gibson here demonstrates how the use of technology in this society questions the real role of identity in Armitage.
Gibson delineates through these characters that in such a high technologic world, the uniqueness and individuality of each person can be mutilated. The identity of one person can easily become the identity of someone else. Or even more so the identity of a person can completely change. Gibson perhaps wants the reader to grasp the concept that the most interesting part of human nature is that all of humanity is different, and with technology that facet can unfortunately change.
Case, the protagonist of Neuromancer, fully encapsulates society’s reliance on technology. Humanity completely relies on the use of technology to go through daily life. Previously, Case, a cyberspace cowboy, was able to enter cyberspace and manipulate the digital world. Once he stole from his previous employers, his ability to enter this alternative world was eliminated. Without cyberspace, Case, so reliable on the technology to allow him to escape from reality, feels like the physical world is inherently uninteresting and worthless.
Later in the novel, the audience discovers Armitage, a man who wants to hire Case for his computer hacking skills. Case is immediately uninterested in this criminal activity that abandoned him from entering the technologic world he so loved. Case claimed he is “never gonna punch any deck again, not for you or anybody else” (Gibson, 38). Yet, when Armitage informs Case that he is able to reverse the neural damage that prevents Case from entering cyberspace, Case immediately asks what it will cost him. Case so quickly jumps on to any endeavor that lets him use his beloved technology again.
In addition to entering cyberspace, Case uses the flipflop switch to experience what Molly is experiencing at that moment. This combines both Case and Molly’s sensory experiences through the use of technology. The normal world has become outdated and uninteresting to the characters of this novel. Like our world today, they rely heavily on technology, not only to make things easier but also to add life and excitement to the seemingly monotonous world. Case uses technology as an escape from his own reality, entering alternate worlds and even entering realities of others. Case thrives off of technology, as he was depressed and unimpressed with his world without it. Perhaps Gibson is ultimately trying to convey the fact that as technology has so severely evolved, society’s perception of reality without it becomes insipid.