The app was extremely interactive and made reading Frankenstein much more enjoyable and interesting. Having the ability to pick and choose the tabs after reading to discover more was great for engaging the reader more. The reader, for the most part, was able to choose which topics or areas of the story that they’d like to know more about. The reader had the power to acquire more knowledge about certain topics by simply the click of a button. For instance, I wanted to know more about Victor Frankenstein’s work and so I chose that tab entitled “What is your work?” From there the the app gave a tour of the laboratory and then as the reader I was able to go with Frankenstein to find more parts for his creature, specifically a voice box.
However being able to make certain choses at times, I was able to compare certain parts of the book and app and see some differences. For example, in class we discussed how vague Victor was in giving a description of how the creature ultimately gained life: “I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless think that lay at my feet.” (83) Then in the app Victor says, “Watch as I attach the electrode. And with a throw of a switch…” This is a bit different, but still very vague.
Another difference that I noticed between the app and the book was Victor’s attention to the physical features of the creature. In the book Victor had picked beautiful features for the monster: “his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness” (83) However through the tour of the app that I took, Victor talks of the body parts that the creature will need, but not necessarily of the physical features. This may have just been because of the tour that I specially took, but I found it interesting when Victor, in the app, says, “I created life, but never once gave thought to the life I would create”. Somewhat insinuating that the did not think of its physical appearance, although even in the book thinking of the physical features did not prevent the monster from being hideous.
I just thought those differences and several others were interesting and made the app engaging and interesting to work through.
It’s obvious that Henry Clerval serves as a foil character for Victor Frankenstein. Clerval is almost the complete opposite of Victor and this is made evident throughout the entire story. Especially in Volume 3 we see more of Clerval and the contrasting emotions of the two. Victor is sad and depressed for almost, if not all, of the last volume, while Clerval is able to marvel and experience happiness by all the sights and places the two visit on their journey. As Victor says, “The delight of Clerval was proportionally greater than mine.” (170). Throughout this entire last volume we constantly see Clerval experiencing happiness, while Victor feels guilt for the loss of his family and pressure to fulfill his goal of finding the monster he created.
Clerval is extremely significant in the life of Victor, as the two have known each other since childhood. In the story Victor completely deviates from telling his story to Walden in order to talk of how great Henry Clerval is as a friend and person. Victor states that, “the voice of Henry soothed me.” He calls him his, “beloved friend” (166) When Henry realizes that he has gone on a tangent he states, “Pardon this gush of sorrow; these ineffectual words are but a slight tribute to the unexampled worth of Henry…I will proceed with my tale.” (167) It’s clear that Henry was important to Victor and the main reason Victor was able to experience moments of happiness through his depression and illness.
Clerval was also there as the Foil character, as mentioned earlier, to contrast and emphasize even more that emotion of Victor. The fact that Henry was mentioned by Victor so many time in the last volume, made Clerval’s death that much more significant and difficult not just for Victor, but for the reader as well. It’s interesting that Shelly had Clerval die, Victor’s last true companion that he could depend on because Elizabeth was just as emotional as Henry. I think that Shelly did this just to show how horrible Victor’s life became and just how much the creation of this monster truly ruined his life.
Since his childhood, Frankenstein has had a fascination for science and once he attends the university he becomes fascinated specifically with the decay of the human body. However, he does not show very much emotion nor does he recognize the emotion that comes with decay and death. His lack of emotion is first evident when his mother dies and he states: “My mother was dead, but we had still duties which we ought to perform; we must continue our course with the rest, and learn to think ourselves fortunate, whilst one remains whom the spoiler has not seized.” (72) Surprisingly he has such a calm reaction and now Frankenstein obsesses over the idea of creating a human being and ultimately stopping human decay and death. Because of his lack of emotion and his inability to look at death from more than jsut a scientific point of view, he does not recognize the dangerous implications of his experiment. As he states: “I was engrossed in my occupation” (82) In which Frankenstein was so focused on his work that he was unaware of the outside world, including his family. Even once the monster was created he was not satisfied: “…the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust felled my heart.” (84)
There are several ironies in the fact that Frankenstein created one single life that resulted in the death of several people and almost his own. Frankenstein lived in fear when the monster was first created and he recognizes this when saying, “I was lifeless” as he suffered from an illness that almost took his life. Also he realized that his longing for knowledge and discovery led to the death of his brothers and now Justine. As they awaited Justine’s trial, Frankenstein states, “It was to be decided, whether the result of my curiosity and lawless devices would cause the death” of several people. (103)
It’s ironic that when life was given, life was also taken away. The author purposely created such irony to illustrate several things. One that we must not try to force what is not natural because it can cause disaster. Frankenstein tried to defy nature and create his own human being give life to an inanimate object, which instead resulted in a destructive monster. He created life in a very unconventional and unnatural way. The author is also illustrating the power and danger of science. That yes, with science we have the ability to do powerful things such as create life, make chemicals and a host of several other amazing things, yet there are negatives. Science can be used for the greater good, but when people like Frankenstein become greedy in their need for prestige and knowledge, the use of science may ultimately harm society.
The idea of “looking” as being a key theme throughout Bellocq’s Ophelia was something I did not pick on, but could easily see after reading Annette Debo’s article. Ophelia is constantly being looked at by everyone in her surroundings; the community, Bellocq, the men who bid on her, the police, the bawd and many others. She is constantly under a microscope and most of the time when people are looking at her, they are staring in a harsh manner. For instance when taken in by the police, Ophelia states, “I posed for another lense, suffered/ indecencies I cannot bear to describe. (29). Insinuating that the lens in which the police are looking at her through is harsh and judegmental, but through the word “another”, Ophelia makes it clear she has already experienced this before.
From the community at large Ophelia is also starred at as people try to figure out who she really is from the ambiguity of her appearance. In the poem August 1911, Ophelia expresses, “We are no surprise to the locals, though / visitors from the North make a great fuss, / and many debates occur between them / as to whether one can tell, just by looking, / our secret” (26). She recognizes the confusion people feel when looking at her for sheis a, “black women/ with white skin” and “exotic curiosities,” do arise, especially from costumers. (26) Debo argues, “In Ophelia’s profession, looking is perhaps even more significant than the physicality of sex,” (207). In some cases I would have to agree that being stared at is more humiliating and degrading than the actually work she performs.
However, there was one part of Debo’s argument that I did not quite understand and I hope we can talk about it in class. The first is when the author states, “She knows that we are looking, and we are forced to recognize that knowledge, giving her the upper hand in the situation.” (210) When she says “we” is she referring to the reader, because if so that makes a little more since. Ophelia wants the reader to know that she is intelligent and aware of all those who stare. But if Debo is referring to the customers or all the others that look at Ophelia, I don’t understand exactly where this is apparent in the poems.
The common phrase that everyone knows is, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and throughout Tretheway’s poems it is evident that photography does play a vital role. However, in my opinion Tretheway challenges this common idea that a photograph can reveal a lot of information. Instead I think that she insinuates that a single photo can be very limited and not necessarily tell the whole truth. For example when Bellocq photographs the dying sister the narrator describes the photo as, “To the left, dressing gowns hanging empty/ on the door. And beyond that door, what you cannot see.” (28) Illustrating that the photo may be capturing this dying women and comparing her to her healthy sister, but that something is missing behind the door, which could reveal more truth.
Only a few poems later the narrator explicitly acknowledges the disadvantages of photography when saying, “I’ve learned the camera well – the danger/ of it, the half-truths it can tell” (30) She knows that the camera cannot capture everything, for instance movement, which is important. In the poem “Photography of a Bawd Drinking Raleigh Rye” the first two lines say, “The glass in her hand is the only thing moving- / too fast for the camera – caught in the blur of motion.” (34) Photography has its limits in that it can not capture motion, which can sometimes reveal more than a still photo.
Also, Tretheway brings up the idea of a single photo being interpreted in different ways and how what one person sees another may not. For instance in the poem “Photography” the narrator states, “I look at what he can see through his lens / and what he cannot…./ the yellow tint of a faded bruise -/ other things here, what the camera misses.” (43) For her it is clear that this photograph captures her physical pain because its her, however to anyone else looking from their own perspective they would probably miss the agony that is portrayed by the bruises on her body.
The entire book of poems ends with two great lines that also point to this idea that photography is limited: “Imagine her a moment later -after/ the flash, blinded -stepping out of the frame, wide-eyed, into her life.” (48) The camera catches a single moment, but not one’s life, meaning that a photo portrays only a small fragment of what is reality. For instance a single photo of Ophelia may make her appear ok, but once she steps away from the camera and into her reality, life may be very different.
Both the young girls in Melville’s “The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids” and Chaplin in the silent film “Modern Times” are similarly effected by their work in factories. In the short story the girls work long hours in the paper mill, producing countless amounts of blank paper. These girls are consumed by their factory work. The narrator describes them as, “blank-looking girls, with blank, white folders in their blank hands, all blankly folding blank paper.” (1270) The constant use of the word “blank” emphasizes the fact that the women working at the mill do not just have jobs, but a way of life, in which they are totally consumed by their duties. The narrator then describes the physical appearance of one girl as a, ” face pale with work and blue cold” (1270) and later reports that these young women are, “young and fair” as well as, “ruled and wrinkled” (1271). The use of the words “wrinkled” and “ruled” are especially harsh since, these are usually not adjectives we think of using when mentioning young, unwed girls. Such detail given by the narrator illustrates how these workers are completly absorbed in the technology, loosing their individuality and substance. As they are now just empty human beings.
Similarly, Chaplin in the silent film is consumed by his factory job. He works on an assembly line, moving at a very fast pace, screwing bolts into small pieces of machinery probably used to create one large machine later in the process. Comparably, Chaplin, liked the young girls at the mill, works very long hours doing one type of duty. Continuously doing the same work consumes his life and he begins to do the same arm motions done in his work everywhere he goes, leading to his nervous breakdown and causing the factory to be in complete disarray and chaos. Chaplin physically cannot stop himself.
Although Chaplin’s situation changes later in the film, at the time he and the young girls in the paper mill, are trapped in technology. Both have been broken down from human beings with thoughts and personality to now empty objects, as Chaplin and the factory workers act like the machines they operate. Interestingly, both the young girls and Chaplain fall victim to a factory system that is meant to make life easier.
It is clear that Davis’ life, specifically graduating from Seminary, played a vital role in “Life in the Iron Mill”. I could not help but notice the influence faith and Christianity had in Davis’ writing. Throughout the entire short story there were constant references to God, angels, Judgment Day, Hell, Heaven , Esau and his birthright, a story directly from the Christian Bible as well as the mentioning of the soul and body being separate.
To me, Wolfe’s dilemma with stealing and then being sent to prison for nineteen years is a direct parallel to the Christian belief that God judges and punishes people for their sin. I thought it was ironic that when Wolfe was struggling with his decision to stea,l that “Thou shall not steal” is one of the Ten Commandments. The story mentions that Wolfe’s, “faith was sublime”, but in that moment he made the decision to not follow his faith. Then once Wolfe is punished and imprisoned, it seems as if he is now living in Hell, as if God has judged him. This parallel between what happens in the afterlife, according to the Christian faith and what is happening to Wolfe is evident to me when the story says, “His dumb soul was alone with God in judgment” (2786) Wolfe is miserable and his life behind bars seems even more like Hell when Wolfe cries out, “ How long, O Lord? How Long?” (2786). Since he was sentenced to nineteen years, it seems like he will be in prison for an eternity, which is how long a person’s soul will be in Hell (or Heaven).
I also thought there was reference to Christianity, specifically Hell, with all the dark imagery used throughout “Life in the Iron Mill”. With words life “alley”, “muddy”, “city of fires” and also the metaphor used to describe the men as “revengeful ghosts” illustrated the dark imagery to not only to describe Wolfe’s predicament, but life as a factory worker.
At the end of the novel the idea of cyberspace vs. reality was very important for both Case and Linda Lee. In chapters 20 and 21 Case enters cyberspace and gets to be with Linda Lee again. Although Linda is dead, it seems as if Linda believes that she is still a living human being. Is this because when Linda Lee was alive she too blurred the lines between cyberspace and reality and now sees no difference? However, when Linda Lee and Case are talking, she says, “ ‘where we live. It gets smaller, Case, smaller, closer you get to it.” (pp. 242) Linda Lee is explaining the world that they are in as being small and closing in and it appears that Linda realizes that the world she is in, is not the “real” world. Then we soon find out that Linda is artificial. However, once we do learn that Linda is not real, that made me wonder where she is in cyberspace? Is this some ambiguous/ alternate place she goes to because she is dead? I wonder why Gibson decided to keep Linda Lee in the novel even after her death?
Linda’s small predicament in these last few chapters, in my opinion, illustrates that the lines between reality and cyberspace can be blurred and the characters may not know exactly where they are. This also seems to happen to Case throughout the novel. He is constantly in cyberspace, but flipping to see reality through the eyes of Molly. Both reality and cyberspace are important, but it seems that even Case can forget where he is. The fact that the novel ends with Case being in cyberspace may indicate that Case finds cyberspace to be more of a reality for him than the real world. Usually when Case was in reality he was looking through the eyes of Molly. However Molly is gone now and the last line of the book says, “He never saw Molly again.” (pp. 271). Molly was the one person that kept Case in touch with reality. Does this mean that Case will be in cyberspace from now on?
Thus far in reading Neuromancer, it is very clear that this world is extremely reliant on technology. Since Case has had his abilities taken away for undermining his employer, he seems extremely lost in a world that solely operates through technology. Case is nothing now that he is not the well-known hacker he was in the past. When reading I was constantly amazed the by the use of technology. For example when Case is with Armitage and Molly, they were able to look at his “profile” and through the use of technology predict that within a year Case would need a new pancreas. Also, that fact that Armitage was able to completely repair Case’s Nervous system, illustrates just how progressive this society is in its medical abilities, which is directly related to technology.
I also found it interesting that because technology is such a vital component of this society, that Case is willing to do whatever re-enter this technological world. All of his abilities were taken away after undermining his employer and he becomes miserable, but is still willing to do work with Molly and undermine Armitage, with the possibility of similar consequences in the end. Yet, Case barely hesitates enters this world all over again. I think that with technology Case feels safe, even if he could potentially be caught. Because when Case was without his hacking abilities he was extremely paranoid that Wage would kill him. He is asking around seeing if the rumor is true and he even buys a weapon. In my opinion, this signifies somewhat of how we are in society when it comes to technology. Case was lost without his abilities through technology. Similarly, when our technology is not working properly we tend to get anxious, wanting everything to work. We feel as if we are missing out on social media sites when our phones or our computers are not on. We may not be as paranoid as Case was, but I do believe there is a sense of a paranoia when our technology is not readily available that way we would prefer it to be at all times.