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hannahpayne's picture

Ignorance is bliss...

            Like Antonia, I was struck by how the themes of the novel were similar to those we discussed earlier in the class. Shelley kept coming back to the idea that pushing science too far can have terrible consequences. She encourages stopping questioning and instead urges the reader to live an ignorant but happy life. A telling quote is, “How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.” This message is the complete opposite of the message that Galileo and Flatland upheld. From those two works we concluded that scientific exploration was necessary for any kind of improvement, even if it was a little scary or hard to convince people of its merits. In Frankenstein this kind of thinking is scorned. It’s a very difficult argument to pick sides on. I believe that exploration and experimentation is necessary for development but at the same time I can’t but help wondering what could happen with too many scientific advances. Look at the atomic bomb for example, science was used as a horribly destructive tool. But without science we would have no medicine, no technology, and life would be very difficult. I think maybe the solution is to have in place checks and balances that monitor scientific research. It seemed to be that Frankenstein’s downfall was that he did it all by himself, if he had talked to other people he would have realized that what he was doing was insane and very dangerous. Maybe through community and culture there can be never-ending questioning but with realistic limitations.


But the most amazing thing is that she was only nineteen when she wrote it… I have done nothing with my life. 


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