Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Frankenstein, the modern Prometheus!

Dear Readers,

I recently read Frankenstein in my AP ENGLISH class, and I thoroughly enjoyed the imagery found within the novel. I have included an essay below that I wrote for my AP English class discussing Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it. 

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, through the characterization and treatment of the creature, expresses the idea that society possesses a superficial and judgmental view on individuals. Often, society hates and fears what it is not comfortable with and it creates an expectation that everyone should look pleasing and act a certain way.  This unrealistic expectation molds people regarding how they look and act, therefore posing the question, how does the creation and maturation of the creature reflect on society’s characteristics, regarding lack of acceptance, as a whole?
Although the creature possesses moral strength and incredible knowledge, he only is noticed as a monstrous creature, unworthy of kind treatment.  The novel shows him ardently seeking knowledge, through reading works such as Paradise Lost and studying mathematics and the sciences. However, credit never becomes awarded to him for this desire for progression, and he slowly becomes involved in murderous acts, seeking revenge on humanity for his unjust and judgmental treatment.  This lack of recognition for the power of mind that he possesses becomes a reflection for society’s disregard for the significance of knowledge.  Because of this, the creature begins to doubt his kind and progressive nature, and turns instead to acts of violence, implying that society’s sawed views can carry a negative influence.

The creature, largely at the beginning his creation, is abhorred for his frightening appearance.  From the moment that Frankenstein gives him life, Frankenstein only sees him for his exterior qualities, and abandons him to fend for himself.  This causes the creature to hate his creator and hate himself, because he only sees himself as a monster.  His self-worth becomes diminished, as he believes from the beginning that he possesses no importance.  Frankenstein, instead of seeing the potential and great knowledge in his creation, only focuses on his deformed body, and immediately is disgusted with the creature.  This lack of love, acceptance, and inability to see past exterior flaws exhibits those exact qualities regarding society’s view and focus  on those different that the ideal person.
Near the end of the novel, the creature shows himself to the family he has observed and learned from.  He first appears to the blind father, who accepts him and takes him in, giving him shelter.  Later, the children arrive home and chase the creature from town, disgusted by his horrifying and disgusting appearance.  The old man, blind to the creature’s appearance, values him for his intellect and in general as a human being.  The children only see his physical form and do not take time to learn of his character, immediately hating and deciding to fear him.  These varying treatments reflect two aspects of society; those individuals who possess love and acceptance for everyone despite flaws, and those individuals who place judgment and hatred for anyone different from what they are comfortable with.  The way these characters in the novel treat the creature upon first meeting him possess a direct correlation to society’s judgmental and ignorant focus.

            Throughout the novel as a whole, the creature’s only judged quality becomes his outward appearance, never his desire for progression or how he ardently seeks for greater knowledge. The creature’s lack of recognition for his knowledge, why his creator abandons him, and how the family treats him, causes him to eventually seek revenge and turn to violence.  Hatred, judgment, and fear follow anyone who sees him, reflecting how society only values outward appearances and looks.  This fact assists the reader in feeling sympathy for the creature, because of the lack of love and acceptance he is shown, exhibiting the ignorant and superficial way individuals view others.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The "lost" daughter that was "found" by Brianna Crampton

Dear Reader,

It seems I have been lost....not literally, but metaphorically! Lost like Persephone from her mother, Demeter. How many of you are familiar with that myth? I love this story for many reasons. I find it so enduring, especially since it represents an allegory for the different seasons of life. Back to being lost....I have been creating a mosaic for my mythology class, and guess what I selected as my subject? You are correct, Demeter! I have been "lost" in creating my mosaic. This myth focuses on the love between a mother and a daughter, and the fact that  once Persephone is taken from her mother, by Hades, Demeter is no longer able to function. She refuses to allow anything to grow, and consequently the Greeks begin to perish.

 As soon as Persephone is returned to her mother, life returns to the earth; unfortunately, while Persephone was in Hades, she was offered three pomegranate seeds, which she ate. If one eats the food of the dead then they are required to stay in the underworld. We are now faced with a serious dilemma. Persephone has eaten the food of the dead, which means she is confined to Hades; yet, what about mortals? If Demeter is without her daughter then she will refuse to let anything grow; consequently, life will cease to exist. Zeus finally settles the problem. He states that Persephone will remain in Hades for three months out of the year since she ate three pomegranate seeds, the other months she will remain with her mother. This, of course, is how the Greeks explained the seasons. When Persephone is in the underworld, nothing grows, as Demeter mourns for her daughter......WINTER!  When plants begins to rise to the surface, Demeter is anticipating the return of her daughter, and life begins to return to the earth,,,,, SPRING! When plants are in full bloom and the earth laughs in flowers it is SUMMER! Finally, when the leaves begins to fall to the earth, and the flowers wilt, Demeter grows sad, as she knows that her daughter will soon leave her for the underworld.....FALL!

The Greeks were unable to explain the world around them, so they created gods that controlled every aspect of the known world; this helped them live a less frightening existence.  It also proves how incredibly creative the ancient Greeks actually were.