Friday, January 13, 2012

Prompts for Blog #1

Option #1:  Frankenstein is, by the standards of its time, at least, very much a tale of horror.  But it is also a story deeply concerned with intellectual and theoretical matters.  It is concerned, at least in part, with theory, or with theories:  theories of gender, theories of politics, theories of human nature and history, to say nothing of theories of science or technology.

Focusing on one specific passage at least as a starting point, argue that Frankenstein (at least the part you've read so far) is presenting some kind of theory.  After presenting that theory, and showing why we should think it plays a role in the novel or at least in your chosen passage(s), evaluate it.  Should we read the novel differently?  Does it cause problems for us?  How might we respond to it in our own time?

Example:  you might claim, based on the material roughly on page 110 that Frankenstein presents a theory of childhood (including how senses and ideas work, or fail to work, in early childhood), and that the monster either demonstrates, or contradicts, or both, some part of that theory of childhood.  Or you might claim, based on the murder of Justine, that the novel presents a "liberal" theory of crime, one in which we can explain crime through the criminal's personal history, while also exposing the limits of that theory.

Option #2: In some ways, this prompt might be taken as a kind of variation on prompt #1.  Taking a specific claim about how E.O. Wilson understands human nature (citing the passage in which he makes the claim) through evolutionary history, apply it to Frankenstein as follows:  argue that we should understand Frankenstein in some particular way if we take Wilson's idea/quote as correct, or at least as a starting point.  You might, for instance, illustrate some aspect of sexuality or death in Frankenstein through Wilson's insights in these matters.

Note:  I may add an additional option later in the weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment