Sample Module A Essay | Mary Shelley and Ridley Scott

Sample Module A Essay

How do Mary Shelley and Ridley Scott represent humanity through their respective worlds?

Mary Shelley and Ridley Scott present contextually relevant representations of their respective worlds. The role of nature and the natural in these worlds is depicted in many similar ways with the fundamental values of the composers overlapping. Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” (1818) develops concepts sparked by Romanticists and as a reaction to the figures in the Age of Enlightenment.

Romanticists such as Shelley valued the place of nature in the world and the imperative need to preserve it. Not only did Shelley value the physicality of nature, but she also valued the personal qualities of compassion, emotion and acceptance in pertaining human nature. Shelley explores the circumstances that reject humanity and challenges the question of what defines us as human or what takes us away from humanity. With the unstable discovery of galvanism on the front of science at the time, there is an emphasis on the dangers of continued scientific development and its dehumanising effects. Shelley tells a gothic and horror cautionary didactic tale, warning enlighteners in particular.
(All of this is a fantastic point and can be one of your main arguments. It should not go here.)

Similarly, in Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” (1992)(This is when the Director’s Cut was released. You need to specify that the film was actually shot in 1982) explores contextually relevant issues such as the arise of the theory of Global Warming and an oil spill at the time played major roles in influencing the values that Scott represents. Scott encapsulates a new response to the values of Romanticism, more relevant to his contemporary context of the 1980s era. The industrialised society of the 80s saw an urgency to preserve nature. Scott’s dark cinematography in the film reflects the status of nature and Scott challenges us to think of how ‘humanised’ we actually are. Scott depicts the effects of unchecked scientific development and the detrimental effects of technology on nature and humanity. Both composers explore the effects of pushing past the natural limitations and the moral values that surround the notion that “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.” The promethean protagonists in both texts portray biblical-like characters experimenting with nature. (This is another separate and good argument, this also needs to be a new paragraph) Shelley and Scott dwell on the concept that by devaluing nature, we devalue humanity. When our scientific creations are “more human than human”, humanity itself is diminished.

(This is much too long for an introduction. All you need to do here is introduce what your argument is about. Save the depth and detail for your analysis and elaboration in the body.)

Mary Shelley’s context heavily influenced the representation of the world in her novel ‘Frankenstein’. Her husband Percy Shelley states, “Everything we become is simply a question of nature versus nurture.” (This is a good quote but not necessarily a representation of context. You need to say how the values of both the Shelley writers are indicative of the early 19th Century in which they lived.) This concept is carried out through the novel in the scene (You would use this for a film – if you have a page number or even chapter – use it.) where the monster turns violent. Shelley challenges the audience to question who here is at fault; the monster or the society that rejects him. Mary Shelley depicts the promethean protagonist Victor Frankenstein as the creator of the monster, someone who is horrified by his creation. She uses irony to make the reader question about who the true monster really is. It is suggestive of Frankenstein being of no more human significance than the monster himself. In chapter 4, (four) Victor says, “I beheld the wretch- the miserable monster whom I created.” Contrastingly in Blade Runner, promethean protagonist Tyrell praises his “Perfect” creations (don’t use this is an essay) replicants. However this praise does not translate to his replicants being treated as human. Tyrell uses harsh diction and tone as he emphasises that they are “…nothing more than experiments, merely machines…” He (As he) refuses to give human values for them. Tyrell and Victor are very similar in their treatment of their creations. Their values and actions are the same- (does Tyrell fear his creation?) “Blade Runner” is merely Scott’s depiction of them in modern context. Both have created a life, yet their reactions to this life creation juxtapose (are in opposition to?) common human reaction to natural life. Instead of rejoicing for the creation of life, they reject the human values and further themselves from humanity in doing so.

(The point you make towards the end of the paragraph is strong, but it takes time to get to. It would be better to start with this point and then go through how it is represented through each world and context.)

As Shelley’s context portrays a society that is being industrially revolutionised, Victor is consumed in science, technology and the desire to obtain insurmountable knowledge. (You’ve combined the context of the text and the text itself as being the same thing – they never are. State that the text and actions of the protagonist are reflective of values and context of the 1820s) This enlightenment thinking hinders his ability to make moral decisions when creating life. He is obsessive with his experiment and Galvanism and in turn creates life “Just because [he] can…” He doesn’t assess the implications and by rejecting the monster he can be held responsible for creating a violent creature. Scott depicts the values of enlightenment thinking and similarly, Tyrell’s replicants become violent upon rejection. In his portrayal of the cautionary didactic tale, he (who does? Tyrell? Is he responsible for all of the world’s problems?) creates an ‘unliveable’ world. The mis-en-scene of the constant raining and darkness has the audience unsatisfied and frightened with the world of 2019. He warns the audience of the world that will result from a disregard for the natural. The irony present in the ‘enjoy’ coke sign that is made of artificial light does not seem to make inhabitants enjoy anything. There are many instances of light symbolism as the majority (Good point – This needs to go earlier) of light in the film is artificially created. This is then supported by Tyrell’s quote, “The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long. And you Roy have burned so very, very brightly.” Even when referencing the replicants he is not concerned about his artificial light ‘burning out’.

Mary Shelley displays her Romanticist values of humanity and life. The monster says, “How dare you sport thus with life.” (This point doesn’t quite fit here, it would be great to use this as a supporting detail) She suggests that Victor is losing humanity in his attempt to create it. He does not nurture life with care, and the monster is questioning what gives Victor the right to do so. Victor’s obsession with enlightenment blinds his humanity- he forgets what truly makes him human through moral values and ethical code. In Maslow’s (why is this important? You need to introduce why Maslow’s hierarchy of needs helps us to understand the monsters feelings) hierarchy of needs, the need to belong and feel loved exists. The monster does not receive this and Victor alienates himself from these values. The results are chaotic. Scott’s response to this is shown through Deckard’s behaviour. Although he is surrounded by people and the busy street life, Scott portrays him as being alienated. His alienation leads him to be a violent replicant killer, which is ironic as he is on the hunt to destroy the ‘unreal humans’ that is the replicants in order to save humanity, but in doing so he is losing humanistic values himself. As Victor was blinded, so is Tyrell. The eye symbolism throughout the film and Tyrell’s thick glasses are indicative of his inability to see past his obsession with Prometheism. He loses sight of what makes him human. He values commerce, money and selfishness over nature, preservation and compassion, which is also reflected through the lack of children in the film indicating the future’s disregard of emotional significance through family. He creates an adverse effect as he becomes dehumanised as his experiment becomes ‘more human than human.’

(Some good points here. Do really concentrate on developing and introducing an argument first – then use specifics to prove it.)

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein depicts many values that juxtapose between Romanticism and the Age of Enlightenment. These values transcend into modern context where Ridley Scott portrays the same intellectual ideas in the revolutionised world of today. He responds to the values presented in Frankenstein through mis-en-scene, irony, juxtaposition and symbolism and creates a world where humanity is mirrored into inhumane experiments and in doing so, humans themselves become dehumanised. Today, to people who have not read Frankenstein, the name ‘Frankenstein’ is ironically commonly thought as to be the name of the monster as opposed to the human creator. This shows the true effects of dehumanisation.

(And Blade Runner?)


Some outstanding points and some excellent evidence from the text. You have the makings and ideas of a very strong essay here.

Your structure needs a lot of work. Your introduction is way too long, which is a shame because it has some strong points. Similarly, you can divide main ideas into two paragraphs. You don’t have to jam them all into one. You can discuss aspects of the same idea. e.g. in your second paragraph you can discuss Frankenstein and Blade Runner separately and link them to each other.

Concentrate on introducing and explaining each point before you go into specifics. Not only is this more applicable to an essay structure, it makes it much clearer what each specific is referring to. The first thing a marker asks when they see a quote straight after a topic sentence is “Why is that relevant?”

A potentially very strong response.

This does, however, need a significant change in its structure to be effective as your strong points are somewhat clouded by its lack of immediate focus. Concentrate on establishing main ideas THEN use evidence to support them.


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