Friday, November 4, 2011

The Nature of the Monster and New York City

Does a city have the capability of taking over someone's mind and identity?

Some people would argue that this question has truth to it and others find this to be false. New York City has always been known as "a city that never sleeps" and a city with endless opportunity. Nature can be a large factor in determining your acceptance or unacceptance by society. We can compare the idea of acceptance when exploring  Paul Auster's City of Glass and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

New York City is known to be overcrowded with the different cultures and people which can make someone feel overwhelmed. I have visited New York City numerous of times throughout my life and have discovered it to be constantly moving creating caos because there is always something to do. The City is so large you can get lost so easily either directionally or emotionally. When I walk around New York City I never feel alone because of all the people surrounding you and all the activities that occur in the City daily.

Auster finds New York City differently from my perspective. He sees New York City as a place where he is always feeling lost and alone, not only in the city but with himself as well. The overpopulated city creates a sense of discomforting feelings for Paul Auster that messes with his mind where he reconsiders his purpose in life. Mary Shelley touches the ideas of loneliness and acceptance when depicting the creation and life of the monster. When the monster was created and set foot into the real world he experiences rejection and has to result to nature to relieve himself. Nature takes an important role in both narratives because they each rely on the natural environment surrounding them which in turn plays with their emotions.

City of Glass shows Quinn trying to discover himself and find out what kind of character he actually is. Quinn experiences life changes when living in New York City. He feels like he does not belong there and   the people surrounding him do not accept him for who he is. He becomes pressured to blend in with society but has difficulty because he does not have anyone to help him find the right path to move on to. Quinn experiences conflicting issues here force him to forget about what he actually wants to do in life. The nature of Quinn's surroundings in City of Glass looks to be bright and vibrant with so much diversity and opportunity but it becomes extremely overwhelming. Instead Quinn twists it into a rejection by society which turns him into a lonely person.

Frankenstein depicts the monster independently attempting to discover life and what it means to be a human. He runs into many problems when trying to solve human life mysteries. The monster enters a village where he begins to observe and learn the language and culture of the community surrounding him. When the villagers discover who the monster actually is, they become frightened and kick him out of their home. The people only looked at him from the exterior rather than the interior which is poor judgement. Similar to City of Glass, the monster results to nature to cope with his depression of being unaccepted by the world. Mary Shelley's shows the monster's love for nature because it is the only place in the world where he is accepted. It shows that the young and naive monster is living somewhere so much bigger than him creating a sense of loneliness. If humans do not accept the monster then nature has no choice to allow him in.

New York City can be an overcrowded and overwhelming city to be in. Some people can handle the fast pace and diverse cultures. Others have difficulty conforming to the norm and get lost. Both Quinn and the monster have difficulty fitting in with the crowd and use nature to help comfort their minds and emotions. Quinn has more a mind effect when it comes to nature; the monster has a physical attachment to nature because it’s the only place he is accepted. 


  1. I feel like the idea for the argument was a valid one and could be very interesting, but the argument itself could use some work. It was a stretch and no examples were provided to back up the claims you were making in comparison. In the third paragraph I was very confused, were you talking about the author, Paul Auster in the story, or about Quinn? I had the feeling that you were repeating yourself a lot when mentioning how overcrowded and overwhelming the city is, but it was an interesting idea for this paper.

  2. Like Ben said - there are no examples here, really. There's a lot of repetition, in place of progression. In spite of the fact that this is a reasonably normal length, there's no moment where you even face up to the fact that you're simply assuming that we see Auster's concept of nature through his portrayal of New York city - without bothering to deal at all with the fact that it's a *city* of glass and steel - not conventionally what we understand as nature at all. Does this mean that it's wrong to see New York City as nature, or as the replacement for nature? Absolutely not - but you need to *get there* somehow, to show (through, as Ben might suggest, through *examples*, why we should understand New York City as *being* nature in this book.

    Your discussion of Frankenstein is even more general and vague - huge parts of the novel are concerned witha detailed, complicated portrayal of nature, its dangers as well as its beauty. So don't be general - use the details!