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Reading Frankenstein Differently.

leamirella's picture

Coming out of class on Wednesday really made me think about how Frankenstein, (and really any other novel) could be presented in the future. I remembered this project that Professor Katherine Rowe showed me and it really got me thinking about the presentation of the novel. Frankenstein is presented in codex form where a reader simply picks up the book, reads and finishes it (hopefully) and close reads the text. While every reader can come up with their own interpretations, the gist of the book remains the same. The narrative is the same way, the characters are the same and the reader starts and finishes (given that the reader does finish) at the same points.

I just wonder, however, if Frankenstein were to have been published at a later date and in a digital format, would it still be the same?

First of all, I mentioned in class about how Frankenstein is rich in imagery. I 'close read' a passage from the beginning of chapter 10 that was thick with imagery. "...The abrupt sides of mountains were before me; the icy wall of the glacier overhung me; a few shattered pines were scattered around...." The reader can come up with an image in their mind using their own imagination. However, what if the reader was to be presented with an actual image rather than the text? (Like in a movie) The image is already given to them, no creativity is really used in trying to see the image and the prose is lost because there is no actual text. While the image may be similar on screen than in a person's imagination, the image is already given and there is not a lot of room for creativity.

Also, I really agreed with Franklin20's point about how the sublimity is lost. The text reads "These sublime and magnificent scenes afforded me the greatest consolation that I was capable of receiving." How does this emotion get conveyed through images? I feel that while movies and images are very capable of making audiences feel strong emotions (How many times have you seen someone cry in a movie theatre?), I'm just not sure that they would be able to feel the same emotions as they could if the were reading the actual text. Though I have not watched a Frankenstein movie, I have experienced this with other texts. (One that comes to mind is the movie and book versions of The Virgin Suicides - the movie, I felt, was a little more upbeat and reminded my of a morbid chick flick while feelings I got from the book were very different and more thought-provoking.)

In relation to the link that I posted above, I wondered if novels, instead of being published in the codex form, were published like "Learning From Youtube". While the text could still exist, there would be images and notes to supplement it. In addition, the idea of reading a novel from cover to cover would change. A novel could easily be explored by chapter (think instead of the youtours, chaptertours instead with headings the describe the contents of each one). Because of all the different links and mouseclicking involved, would someone really be able to read the book from virtual cover to virtual cover?

I feel that the type of reading and processing of the audience of a virtual Frankenstein text would differ greatly from the reading of a traditional one. Each type of text presentation has its drawbacks as well as benefits. I'm just curious to see how this will change the way we perceive and interact with novels as well as the study of the text. Will we start having more 'books' like "Learning From Youtube" or will this be something that will never quite catch on?



MSA322's picture

Beauty and Relativity

** Sorry to post this as a comment, but it wont let me post it as a new post.

What really stuck with in my mind from our discussion on Wednesday is the part where we talked about beauty. Beauty is such an abstract term. What is beauty and who is to decide that?

One of the classes I took last year was Contemporary Physics. A class I will never forget, and will always remind me that my decision of going to a liberal arts college was the right one. The class talked about relativity and it also connects with the entanglement reading of Barad and Bohr's theory of uncertainty. In the physics class we had the example of being on a train and watching the cart in front move. To you, the cart in front is the one that's moving not yours, and to the people in the cart in front, your cart is the one that's moving and theirs is rather stationary. Another example was being in the car on a road with trees on the side; it looks to the person in the car that he trees are moving past them, and to a person on the street, the car is the one that's moving. It's all relative. It all depends on who's point of view we're taking into account.

Beauty is relative. We, human beings, are often superficial when it comes to our judgments on different people we encounter. We more often than not make a quick judgement depending on the appearance of the person, their facial expression, the way they dress and the sometimes even the way they walk. We forget to count what's inside the person, their thoughts, their history and their personalities. This topic was discussed in terms of the ugliness of the creature that Vector managed to create. This hideous creature that was rejected by the people of the village because they were afraid of him, of his appearance. The creature longs to be accepted and to be "beautiful" as they people he encounters. He comes to the acknowledgment of his lack of beauty after he had seen people's reaction and his reflection in the water. Beauty could be either a bliss or a curse, I think. Moreover, it is pretty unfair to declare that one person is beautiful depending only on their appearance, and the creature felt out of place as a result of peoples' reactions when encountering him, leading to his wishes of a changed appearance, or for vector to create a mate for him, so he can be accepted.. for his mate, he would look beautiful, he would be seen for who he is from the inside.


It just got me wondering how our world is filled with injustice, it's almost part of our instincts o be unjust to one thing/person.. It's a dream in fact to have a fair world, with no prejudices. But we try and always hope to get better and more fair with one another.. This reminds me of the cosmic surgery and how one of the reasons it was invented is to help those with "not so beautiful" appearances to feel more accepted, more "beautiful" in the eyes of the unjust world. Human nature is quite interesting, how we work so hard on something trying to fix it, where all we need to do is simply be accepting.

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