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Frankenstein as a Cautionary Tell About the Dangers of of Binaries

anonymous123's picture

While reading Frankenstein, I noticed that Victor struggled with some of the gender binaries we discussed in class. Victor is a male, yet there is a moment in the text that insinuates an attraction to other men. Although Victor is a man, he has not been told that he should be attracted to only women (by society's conventional standards). This ambiguity in Victor's sexual orientation may be a comment by Mary Shelley as to how much science and society play a part in a how a person relates his gender. Mary Shelley would probably agree with Roughgarden's view on gender and sexuality as a naturally diverse occurrence. Victor is an example of how sexuality is something that is born with a person, and shaped depending on how society interacts with that individual.



ekthorp's picture

 My entire semester has been

 My entire semester has been about binaries and how they do not exist. So it did not surprise me at all that reading Frankenstein reinforced my ideas that most binaries are constructed by society. I saw binaries deconstructed not just in Doctor Frankenstein sexuality, but also between Doctor Frankenstein and his monster. It truly asked the question of who is the real monster: the beast or the creator. Additionally, the line between life and death is increasingly invisible in the book, to the point where it becomes literally impossible to see. There was also the binary between good and evil, and  young and old, and creation and creator are just a few of the many binaries that are broken in this book. 

Less importantly,  while I was reading this book, I could not stop thinking of Young Frankenstein the Mel Brooks movie. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a quick clip. It is amazing how Brooks takes this amazingly scary book, one of the first every horror novels, and turns it into a hilarious comedy. In this version, the monster does not kill anyone, and seems much more intelligent than the monster in the book. I think this movie speaks a lot about film adaptations of classic novels and the way they change from the books, and whether this change is always necessarily bad.

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