App vs. Book

I was biased. I bought this app with the mentality that I would hate it. In the past, I have enjoyed owning, holding, and writing in a tangible book. It was mine. This other “book” that I simply had to download on the ipad was not actually real. It didn’t truly belong to me. If the Ipad crashed it could simply disappear. A real book is not going anywhere. It can’t just vanish. It is concrete object.  So I began this assignment thinking, “Ugh. Is this really necessary?”

However, I immediately realized I was mistaken. Just opening the Frankenstein app and seeing the ominous image on the cover of the “book” made Frankenstein ten times more appealing to read. When I “opened” to the first page of the “book” I noticed that there were buttons on the bottom that allowed me to tweet about it, like the page on facebook, or control the volume. The notion of being able to connect this old book to recent technology made the app exciting to me.

The large font and the images made the book easier for me to read. I loved that instead of turning the page, all I simply had to do was press the bottom and the next page would rise up for me to read. The fact that the background to the text looked like old paper with staples in it made it more attractive to read.

Unlike in a physical book, you cannot skip pages. You can’t press chapter two until you are finished with chapter one, and you can’t press part two until you are finished with part one. The app is smart. In a way, unlike a tangible book, it thinks. The text isn’t printed, it is designed. I ultimately conclude that I like reading more from the app than I do from the book.

False Hopes

The creature’s, (or Bill, as Emily calls him), life is filled with false hope…(I will also call him Bill throughout this blog post because I believe he is treated inhumanely and deserves a name.) Bill believes that humanity can be kind to him despite his physical appearance. This is false. He believes that the people he admires for so long will understand and accept him. Once again, this is false.

Bill is miserable after enduring countless disappointments. His last hope for contentment is Frankenstein’s promise to create a mate for him. He watches as Frankenstein “[destroys] the creature on whose future existence he depended for happiness” (175). He consciously knew he was going to destroy any hope Bill had to be happy, yet he did it anyway. This was the last false hope Bill would endure. He was set on revenge.

As human beings, we do not attain everything we hope for. We do, however, at least obtain some of our desires. Bill is unable to achieve anything. When he tries to help people it only backfires on him. He saves a girl from the lake and, as a result, almost gets shot. While he was doing this out of the goodness of his heart, he was also doin this to be appreciated. Bill is a benevolent creature, the “trait of kindness moved [him] sensibly” (128). He wants what any human wants: compassion and respect. While the malice of mankind is a part of what makes him the monster he is, I argue that disappointment is truly the cause. Bill tries so hard to obtain the compassion and respect that is universally desired, however, his efforts are futile. In the end, his fruitless attempts to be treated humanely are what discourage him from trying to gain respect through benevolence.

Nature Vs. Nurture

Are individuals born malicious or do they become that way? In answering this question, you must consider the “nature vs. nurture” argument. Does one enter the world evil or does he become malicious gradually because of his life experiences?

My answer to this controversial question is that nurture is mainly the cause for either one’s goodwill or one’s malice. This notion is proven throughout “Frankenstein.” The wretch was originally “benevolent and good; misery made [him] a fiend” (119). The creature is born kind. It is nurture, or lack thereof, that made him malicious.

The creature did good deeds. He collected wood for the needy family he admired and he saved a child that fell into a river. However, he is not praised for his kind actions. He is, instead, rebuked and harmed. After revealing himself to the family that he aided, the creature was “struck…violently with a stick” (148). Since this is the way humans treat him, it makes sense that the creature is not fond of mankind. Upon saving the little girl, the creature is not shown any gratitude; he is instead greeted by horror and is shot. How could he be benevolent when he is treated so poorly?

The wretch is an “unfortunate and deserted creature”(147). He longs for friends and family, just as any other being does. Nobody gives the poor creature the benefit of the doubt. When he approached a cottage in a village, upon seeing him, “the whole village was roused; some fled, some attacked [him], until, grievously bruised by stones and many other kinds of missile weapons, [he] escaped to the open country” (124). The creature is viewed as the bad guy, however, he is not. He has nobody and is treated badly. He is not raised by his creator. Victor deserts him. Why should he want be kind to mankind, when he is treated so maliciously?

Think about it. If you were in his place, would you be benevolent? Most likely not. He is initially compassionate, but mankind made him the way he is. Despite his good nature, lack of nurture and the cruelty of human beings have made him the way he is.

Is Science Positive or Negative to Society?

The acquisition of knowledge is hazardous. Victor Frankenstein spent years focused on giving life to lifeless matter, such as a dead body, only to regret his discovery in the end.

When in the process of this discovery, Victor worked so hard that his health and his communication with his family suffered. He spent so much time “engaged in [his laboratory]” (77) that “the stars often disappeared in the light of morning” (77). Years went by and Victor “paid no visit to Geneva” (77).  Every night, Victor “was oppressed by a slow fever. And [he] became nervous to a most painful degree” (83).   Victor’s studies were taking over his life. They were destroying his health, and distancing himself from his family.

Once Victor finally accomplished his goal, and created life, he regretted it. Once Victor had finished, “the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled [his] heart”(84). His creation was hideous. He describes his creation as a “catastrophe” (83). Victor wanted nothing to do with the revolting creature. He fled his apartment and hoped the creature would be gone when he returned.

Furthering Victor’s remorse of his discovery, he believes his creation killed his brother, William. After realizing his creation could be the murderer, Victor “became convinced of its truth” (99). When Justine, a benevolent girl taken in by the Frankenstein family, is accused of the murder this furthers Victor’s guilt. William and Justine are casualties of Victor’s discovery. Victor can only blame himself for creating the vicious monster that killed his brother.

Victor’s discovery led to many innocent victims. He wishes he could turn back time and take back everything he has done to further science. Instead of feeling pride, “M. Waldman inflicted torture when he praised, with kindness and warmth, the astonishing progress [victor] had made in the sciences” (92). Victor’s years of discovery resulted in nothing but pain.

This bring us to the question, is furthering our knowledge worth it if it can lead to such agony? My answer is yes. While in some cases, science results in disaster, it also, in many situations, benefits us. Doctors save lives, People can communicate with family members across the country, etc. Ultimately, science is advantageous to the human kind.

Taking A Look At The Positives

Although Ophelia is living in a brothel house, Trethewey uses refined language throughout the poems when describing Ophelia’s environment. Threthewey does not in any way glorify prostitution. However, though she does explain certain off-putting characteristics, she portrays some of the posh positives that come along with the job as well.  She describes the house as “high-classed” with “polished mahogany, potted ferns, [and] rugs two inches thick” (11).

The lady who runs the brothel is called “Countess.” Countess tends to refer to a noblewoman. I find it ironic that “Countess” runs a brothel, considering how sleazy the idea of a prostitution house is.  Although apparently contradictory, the boss’s title, “Countess,” makes the brothel seem more elegant.

While prostitution is an undesirable job for numerous reasons, the work is extremely advantageous for Ophelia. She “[saves] what [she pays] for board, [and] what [she earns] is [hers]” (15). Not only is Ophelia earning a living, she does not have to spend her income on housing. She can instead invest that money towards “[buying her] mother some teeth, [and paying] to have her new well dug” (15). Ophelia can now afford to pay for the necessary things she could not have afforded in the past.

The job is crude and degrading, but it does not involve tedious labor. Ophelia did not have to work in a factory or do field labor. She did not suffer the tragedies that sometimes occurred in factories, like the “clothing factory [where] so many women [died] in a fire” (22).

Through this job, Ophelia found her vocation, photography and modeling. She “spent a little of [her] savings on a Kodak”(27). After meeting a photographer, Bellocq, at the brothel. She became a model and apprentice. It was Ophelia’s calling. She observes the way “the camera can dissect the body, render it reflecting light or gathering darkness” (27). Ophelia has an eye for this hobby. Through this unpleasant means of earning a living, she has found her passion.


The Social and Economic Hardships of The Industrial Revolution

Modern Times, a silent film directed by Charlie Chaplain, shines a negative light on the industrial age, in both social and financial terms. While yes, there are certain perks for the minority bourgeoisie class, the majority of society suffers to make ends meat by working in harsh and inhumane conditions.

In this satirical comedy, an average factory worker is brought to the edge through brutal working circumstances; resulting in his mental breakdown. Though his breakdown is humorously portrayed, it gets the message across that inhumane working conditions are destroying the working class.  Because these terrible conditions are a result of the industrial revolution, it can then be inferred that there is a parallel between technology and human misery. The workers were treated inhumanely. They worked around 12 hours a day with very small breaks and minimal pay.

During this time, as a result of the terrible working conditions and the huge economic gap between the bourgeoisie and the working class, there were concerns about socialism. Once the factory worker is finally out of the hospital and back on his feet, he is once again knocked down by being incorrectly deemed as a communist during a strike. Chaplain uses this scene to highlight yet another social concern during this time period that is resultant of the economy.

There is a huge unemployment rate during the depression. Chaplain illustrates this when a young woman’s family is ecstatic because she was simply able to steal bananas for them. He also portrays this through the factory worker who has a difficult time getting work after he is let out of prison. Because it is enormously hard to live decently during the great depression, he wants to go back to jail. Times were tough.

Through this silent film, Chaplain pointed out all that was wrong in this period as well as show the hardships that occurred during the great depression. Economically, I believe that Chaplain was suggesting the need for a visible hand. Socially, he advocated better working conditions and more humane treatment. Although he did well for himself as an actor and director, he sympathized with the less fortunate.

Class Mobility: Our Motivation To Work Hard

It is strange reading about a life in which class mobility does not exist. While there are undeniable advantages to being born into a wealthy family, anyone can be anything if he puts the necessary effort into his aspirations. Yes, obviously, it is much easier being born into a family with money and connections.  If you do have these recourses, you grow up with certain advantages, such as the ability to afford SAT prep, private school, college and possibly even connections to help you get into a certain college or a particular job. However, if you do not have these benefits, you are not fixed in your social position. My father, for instance, grew up poor but he worked extremely hard and got a scholarship to college, med school etc. and is successful today due to his hard work.

However, for the working class in Life In The Iron Mills, one is born into his social position. No amount of dedication or hard work could change that. This notion is exemplified when the Davis says, “there is no hope that it will ever end…There are moments when a passing cloud, the sun glinting on the purple thistles, a kindly smile, a child’s face, will rouse him to a passion of pain, when his nature starts up with a mad cry of rage against god, man, whoever it is that has forced this vile, slimy, life upon him” (2770). Obviously, it is unfair that there is no class mobility. There is such a large economic and social gap between the rich and poor that they lived completely separate lives. Wolfe was mesmerized by even the smallest glimpse at the lives of the more fortunate. He “seized eagerly every chance that brought him into contact with this mysterious class that shone down on him perpetually with glamour of another order of being. What made the difference between them? That was the mystery of his life,” (2770). The workers cannot understand what makes them so inferior to the elite class. The life one lead is completely dependent on the family he is born into.

Although there are still people living in unfortunate circumstances today, conditions are significantly better. Other than the fact that class mobility exists today, we also have a minimum wage and welfare so that at the very least, most people who work low-paying jobs at least have enough to eat.

Molly: Emotionally Hardened Over Time

When a person feels no remorse for his actions, there tends to be reasoning behind this emotional detachment. Molly is tough. Her domineering personality has been exposed through her dealings with other characters throughout the book. I believe that Gibson is using Molly’s anecdote in Chapter 15 in order to show that no matter how hard someone’s exterior may seem to be, everyone is subject to the hardships that life brings.

When you meet a person who is rude, spiteful, or, as in Molly’s case, coarse, you do not really consider why that person is the way he is. You just judge him. Gibson sheds some light on why Molly behaves the way she does by briefly recapitulating her past experiences.

Perhaps the reason Molly has such little respect for human life, is because of the disrespect for it that she has witnessed throughout her lifetime. Molly explains that her lover’s death was similar to the death of a rat that she witnessed. The old man who killed the rat pointed the gun “at the floor, grins, and pulls the trigger. Rolled it back up and left…(Molly) crawled under there later. Rat had a hole between its eyes…the second one, the one who came for Johnny, he was like that old man…he killed that way” (177).

This traumatizing experience made Molly aloof. She “never much found anybody (she) gave a damn about after that” (178). Had Molly never endured this pain, she would probably be more naively content and innocent than she is now. Yes, she was still a criminal back in the day, but she had never felt the wrath of human depravity first-hand.

My First Neuromancer Blog

In this high-tech science fiction novel, there seems to be an emphasis on punishment. It seems rather severe of a consequence for death to be “the accepted punishment for laziness, carelessness, lack of grace, the failure to heed the demands of an intricate protocol.”

When Linda Lee originally tells Case that Wage wants him dead, his reaction is much more composed than a typical person’s reaction would be in this day and age. Linda tells Case that “too many people owe him,” and he “seriously better watch it.” Case responds by saying “Sure. How about you Linda? You got anywhere to sleep.” He completely ignores the warning and brings up a subject that is inconsequential in comparison. In fact, everybody in this society seems to accept death as a typical occurrence.

Death is hinted everywhere in many mundane things in this civilization, such as sleeping arrangements. It is ironic that Case rents a coffin to sleep in because it goes along with the themes of death and punishment. It could even be implying that he may as well be dead. Especially since death is even more commonplace among those who are involved in the black market.

Out of confusion and concern that he is going to be killed, Case goes to Julius Dean for information. Dean treats the conversation as if it is as trivial as if they were “discussing the price of ginger.” Potential death as punishment is nothing new.

Punishment and poverty seem to run hand in hand. Case turned on the people he was hired to work for. As a punishment they crippled his nervous system. Case lies to Linda when he gives her money and says he has more coming. In the state he was in at that point he was incapable of earning an income. Case could not work because of his injuries and he was, therefore, unable to make a living for himself.