Comparative Studies Frankenstein Blade Runner
Tegan explains about Comparative Studies Frankenstein Blade Runner.
Making a Comparison
- Always list and consider the older text first as it may have influenced the younger text.
- You should explore your text’s context and values and the overall message of the text.
- Mary Shelley – Frankenstein
- Born in 1797.
- Mother was Mary Wollstonecraft: feminist, educator and philosopher who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792).
- Father was William Godwin: philosopher and writer.
- Wollstonecraft died ten days after Mary was born.
- Mary received little formal education but had home tutors.
- Many intellectuals visited Godwin, including Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
- Mary met the radical poet Percy Bysshe Shelley through her father.
- Shelley visited Godwin, whose radical politics upset Shelley’s conservative family.
- Shelley agreed to bail Godwin out of debt, but his family would not give him the money, for fear he would spend it on charity.
- Godwin felt betrayed.
- 17 year-old Mary and Percy began meeting secretly.
- Percy embodied her father’s ideals e.g. that marriage was a repressive tradition, which Godwin argued in Political Justice (1793) but later retracted.
- In 1814, the couple secretly left for France, leaving Percy’s pregnant wife behind.
- As they travelled, Mary and Percy read works by Wollstonecraft and other writers and kept a joint journal of their own writing.
- When Mary returned, she was pregnant. She and Percy were penniless and Mary’s father refused to acknowledge her.
- Mary lost her premature baby. At the same time, an ecstatic Percy had a baby with his wife.
- Mary had another child with Shelley called William.
- In 1816, Mary, Percy and their son travelled to Geneva.
- Mary began referring to herself as Mrs Shelley.
- They spent the summer with the poet Lord Byron.
- They discussed galvanism, and the experiments of Erasmus Darwin, who was said to have animated dead matter.
- They also amused themselves by reading German ghost stories, prompting Byron to suggest they each write their own supernatural tale.
- Mary conceived the idea for Frankenstein: “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion.“
- Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.”
- She began writing her first novel, Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus.
- Percy and Mary, who was pregnant again, married in 1816, after his first wife’s suicide, in an attempt to get custody of Percy’s other son.
- In 1817, Mary finished Frankenstein, which was published anonymously in January 1818.
- The public assumed that Percy was the author, since the book was dedicated to his political hero, William Godwin – Mary’s father.
- The rest of her life was miserable: she lost more children, had to deal with Shelley’s various love affairs and debt collectors.
- She was devastated when Shelley drowned in a boating accident and never took another husband.
- She devoted her life to writing, getting Shelley’s poems published and providing for her one remaining son.
The Age of Enlightenment: 1700s
- Applied reason and science to divinity and nature and is linked with the Scientific Revolution figures such as Isaac Newton.
- It was a time of essayists and philosophers.
- The movement created the framework for the American and French Revolutions.
- Descartes was a major influence on Enlightenment philosophers, and influenced the monster’s struggle to come to terms with his existence as a being.
- Ideas such as Cognito Ergo Sum, I think therefore I am, are part of the monster’s quest to define himself.
- Descartes was also responsible for mind/body dualism that allowed humans to see themselves as different from other creatures who only had a body, because they had a mind or soul.
- Locke was an English philosopher and liberalist who influenced Rousseau.
- He contributed the notion of Tabula Rasa, or blank slate of the mind, which has no innate knowledge, but must learn through experience.
- The monster is born tabula rasa and is influenced by the texts he reads.
Rousseau (1712 –1778)
- Rousseau was a philosopher, writer, and composer of the Enlightenment, whose philosophy influenced the French Revolution.
- His treatise On the Social Contract (1762) which suggests that rulers had responsibilities to their subjects, influenced Victor’s responsibility to his creation.
- His philosophy of education, Emile (1762) also dictates how a tutor should gently lead his pupil to develop morality through reason and experience, without letting harm come to him.
- Victor also fails the monster in this duty.
Galvani’s Animal Electricity (1791)
- Galvani was an Italian physician and physicist.
- In 1771, he discovered that the muscles of dead frogs’ legs twitched when struck by a spark.
- His theory of animal electricity are described in: On the Effect of Electricity on Muscular Motion (1791)
- Galvani was the first investigator to appreciate the relationship between electricity and animation – or life. The phenomenon was dubbed galvanism.