Thursday, October 13, 2011

Revision #1 - Elan Sternberg

Felix, Safie and Agatha are terrified of this creature, this monster, and this menace to society. After their initial shock and unexpected terror, the infuriated monster runs away into the forest.
I could have torn him limb from limb, as the lion rends the antelope. But my heart sunk within me as with Bitter sickness, and I refrained. I saw him on the point of repeating his blow, when, overcome by pain and anguish, I quitted the cottage and in the general tumult escaped unperceived to my hovel. (Shelley 151)
 Here, the monster realizes that he does not belong in this world. With the strength of his limbs, the intelligence in his mind and the immense size of his body enormous stature, the monster now knows that he is not only an outsider now, but also he always and forever will be an outsider throughout his lifespan.
            The long tree branches in this illustration represent both nature and society’s desire to ostracize the monster. Differentiating the nature with the unknown, Ward is intentionally drawing the distinction between the monster and the wooded forest. The monster seems helpless in this illustration because the limbs seem to topple over him and give him little room to break out of this natural surrounding. Also, the monster's emotions are as erratic as the direction the wind blows. Here, in the forest, the monster feels at first enraged, but then enlightened. Here, the monster comes to the realization that he will never be a part of this world. Ward wanted to emphasize the importance of the limbs of both the monster and the tree branches. He uses this idea to show the similarities and differences between the appearance of the monster’s limbs to the tree’s limbs, or branches.  The proportions, lines and curves make it very difficult to distinguish between these two elements of the image. I believe the monster is pulling on the tree’s "limbs" which shows his overwhelming strength and superiority.
            In addition to the strength of his limbs, the monster’s intelligence develops and quickly surpasses that of any human being. After two years of independently learning how to live, this is the first time in the novel the monster struggles. The monster faces challenges throughout the entire novel.
            “These thoughts exhilarated me, and led me to apply with fresh ardour to the acquiring the art of language. My organs were indeed harsh, but supple; and although my voice was very unlike the soft music of their tones, yet I pronounced such words as I understood with tolerable ease.”(Shelley 125)
            The monster is able to notice the actions and mannerisms of the cottagers in order to learn their language. He instantly understands the cottager’s language and learns to speak and discover the details of the lifestyle of the villagers. His abilities at such a young age are far more intelligent than any normal two-year old human. The monster processed information so quickly that goes to prove his super-human capability to be true.
The monster faces struggle, confinement and wants to free himself from the wooded forest. In my opinion, the curvature of the trees looks more like a cave than a forest. The monster is trapped inside of this cage. Rejected from society, he runs away and feels completely and utterly rejected by mankind. The monster's immense body appears to be larger and stronger than the large branches, which makes it very difficult for him to escape. This small illustration holds great meaning – the reader can see the monster’s pain and suffering. The monster will not only face challenges getting out of the cave, but also find himself battling against all the earth’s natural elements.
His legs look to be in a awkward position where hes struggling and experiencing physical torment. The lines all over the monster's body indicate scars from either the creation or the beating by Felix. These prominent lines could show the development of his body emphasizing his tight skin and muscles referring to the strength of the monster. It almost looks like he is trapped in a cave and can never get out. This is the monster’s moment of realization that he sticks out in nature depicting that hes different from the norm. The monster looks like he is trying to approach the light giving his freedom in society but since he is not accepted he can never reach the light. The symbolism of a cave relates to containment, enclosure. In Juan Eduardo Cirlot’s, A Dictionary of Symbols, Cirlot writes that it is probably related to the general symbolism of containment, of the enclosed or concealed." (J.E. Cirlot) The monster’s body looks to be trapped and his body is confining him in the cave.
The illustration on page 151, shows a distinction between nature and the monster. The monster’s strength of his limbs and the depiction of him pulling down on the branches proves that he is stronger than nature. The monster immediately gains a greater intelligence than the peers surrounding him and his enormous stature being trapped in the cage both show the monster’s struggle towards living the life of a typical human being. The monster is different than any other human in society. He is sophisticated, nice, strong, and brilliant. The monster's beauty is in the inside but on the outside people see evil, vile, and disgust. This picture depicts society's acceptance of the monster. The monster is attempting to protect him in a society he is being crushed by and needs to escape. The monster needs to continue his journey independently and learn the true meaning behind nature so one day he can be accepted.


1 comment:

  1. Two initial problems: it's very short (something like three pages), and doesn't include any real research. Both of these things are problems, but are also related to a larger problem: this is not a coherent essay. After having been through it a couple times, I can say that you do have interesting and worthwhile things to say - the observation about the forest being really like a cave is 100% worth pursuing, for instance. The problem is that your thoughts are all isolated: in one paragraph, the forest is like a cave. In another, the monster is stronger than nature. In another, he doesn't belong to the world. All of these are legimate, worthwhile things to say in response to Ward's illustrations - but how do they make a coherent argument? You need *one* clear argument running through an essay, animating the whole thing. I suspect (as much as I dislike that your research began and ended with a bad website) that the idea of the cave, and what it represents, would have been the best way of bringing all of your ideas together - you simply stopped far short of actually doing so.