Mad Monster Party

I cannot believe that I didn’t assign you all to read my essay on the 1967 Rankin/Bass film Mad Monster Party! It was published last year in the The Journal of Dracula Studies.

Here’s the thesis paragraph or you can read the whole essay here:

Why does Mad Monster Party complicate its celebration of classic monsters by destroying them and replacing them with technology? Why are the human and nonhuman alike threatened by technology, even though the benevolent version of technology is the only promise the film offers to continue to propagate human cultural norms like heteronormative marriage? Mad Monster Party initially establishes monsters as an organized threat to humanity (led by the traitorous monster-creator Frankenstein, who now has apocalyptic powers as well), only to argue that monsters and humans alike face the greater threat of technology, which paradoxically can both destroy all matter and ensure survival of human culture. Thus, the film’s conclusion condenses the human and monster onto the axis of the organic and places the androids Francesca and Felix on the inorganic, privileging the replication of social structure over the organic body. Reading Mad Monster Party in this way reveals it to be a text that expresses basic mid-1960s cultural anxieties seen in other media productions of the time, but one that ultimately contradicts its progressive agenda by eliminating all threats to human heterosexual marriage: including the humans!

Voyant Assignment

 

 

Graph 1: capture

The first graph that I had created I decided to search words from Frankenstein’s 1818 version and looked up words like supernatural, fear, death and night. I was thinking about genre and how these words specifically tie into the genre of the horror/gothic novel in the 18th century. What I noticed was that supernatural was not present throughout the novel and was a word that was not often used. Words like death and night appeared more frequently throughout the novel. Fear was a word that was used throughout the novel but did not fluctuate like night and death did. What I can conclude from this research is that the words in the novel definitely contribute to the genre that they are associated with because of how often words appear. 

Graph 2:  capture-2

For graph two I used a link graph in order to view how words in the 1818 text of Frankenstein are associated to one another and how close or far apart they appear to be to one another. The terms man and science were linked to one another but man and science were not linked to one another but fairly close to one another. The word society and monster were linked to one another and far away from the terms man, science and family. I thought this was interesting because I would have thought that monster would have been linked to science but it was not. What I can conclude from this graph link is that words in the text seem to have been linked to different words but, not necessarily where they originated from. Ex: science linked to monster or man linked to family.

Graph 3: capture-6-2

For my third graph I decided to use the stream graph to show the relationship between the words that I had processed in the graph. I wanted to know what words appeared more often I typed in words such as life, power, science and, creation. The word creation was the most frequent word then science then power and lastly life. I found it interesting because the graph looks like the words have levels to them in relation to their importance.

Voyant and Frankenstein

upI decided to use the 1818 version of Frankenstein in Voyant. For the three different tools I used Trends, Cirrus, and Bubblelines.

TRENDS:

By trends allowing us to see the relative frequencies in a line graph form I wanted to see the comparison of certain words in Shelley’s text. (Easily read tool).  Two of the most frequently used words are man and father, but I was curious to see if creator and father would show any “trend” instead. I thought they would start to blend together the further into the novel we got. Wrong. Father is used in an extremely high amount and spikes high towards the end. Creator doesn’t really have much of a change from start to finish.

CIRRUS:

Cirrus is a great visual tool to use. Being provided with a view of the most frequently used words may seem helpful to determine the genre of a novel, but it seems the only “horror” description was the word death. The words such a father, time, life, day, etc. could be considered an entirely different genre. I wanted to remove some of those words and see if cirrus could give me anymore indicators to Frankenstein being considered a horror novel.

BUBBLELINES:

I wanted to establish that Victor’s name is not really used throughout this novel. As the reader we only see the actual name “Victor” few times. Is this because we should refer to him as creator or even a monster himself? But oddly enough, Elizabeth’s name is used at quite a high frequency. The purple bubbles, representing Elizabeth are huge in comparison the green bubbles representing Victor. Our main character is barely referred to with his given name.

Shannen Coleman

 

My Monster/My Self

Barbara Johnson utilizes a clearly feministic method of writing and thinking in her penning of the article “My Monster/My Self”. She links Victor’s creation of his monster to Mary’s creation of her novel and then proceeds to compare Victor’s abandonment of his monster to post partum depression. This article reminded me of a poem by Philip Larkin that I read in a creative writing class. It was called “This be the Verse” and iterates that all parents mess up their children whether they mean to or not. Johnson states, “there is inherently monstrous about the prevailing parental arrangements”. Johnson argues that Victor and his creation become parallel to one another because, even though, Victor was raised by two loving parents and the monster was abandoned at birth each “reach an equal degree of alienation and self-torture.” Although, I don’t necessarily agree with this statement, I do see the point Johnson intends to make and can understand how she came to that conclusion.

‘This be the verse’

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had

And add some extra, just for you.

 

But they were fucked up in their turn

By fools in old-style hats and coats,

Who half the time were soppy-stern

And half at one another’s throats.

 

Man hands on misery to man.

It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can,

And don’t have any kids yourself.

Frankenstein, Deconstruction and Religion

I think the trend away from religious traditional methods of writing mentioned in Bressler’s “Deconstruction” manifests itself within Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein in a myriad of way. First of all the motif of playing god when looking at Frankestein asynchronously such as Levi-Strauss mentions can be seen as a trend moving away from more traditional allegorical works. In more religious texts like the Quran and the Bible there is a sentiment that god is good and benevolent. Frankenstein has a running theme of absentee creators and the damage done by them. If we extend the logical connection to Victor Frankenstein being a stand in for god, the things that Frankenstein implies about god become downright blasphemous.

I think that it’s safe to say that Frankenstein is a poststructural work that easily lends itself to deconstructing. I feel that many of it’s elements are chosen as a subversion of narrative techniques and classical themes seen before in works such as the very title it’s gained as the “Modern Prometheus” which explicitly invites the comparison. The work itself deconstructs the idea of the pursuit of science and logic being a beneficial and harmful pursuit. On one hand Victor’s made a amazing discovery with raising the dead that could have unprecidented benefits to the world of his story which supports the theme of science being good. On the other hand this line of discovery leads to the death of many of his loved ones and himself eventually. If I understand the philosophy of Deconstructionism right, it’s method and goal is to identify binary suppositions within the work and to interpret and question the work as much as possible. I believe that Frankenstein does that to other texts in a meta sense and that it invites these methods within itself

to be or not to be an Author?

Reading Michel’s Foucault’s, what is an Author? gave me an insight into a  literary approach to a concept that we regard usually  as “common” sense. Author is a word that is usually used without giving it a second thought. What else is there to think?, I made something I’m the creator, in case of literary texts or works I’m the author nothing more nothing less. While this concept of author is not wrong, nor  right. Theory so far in my understanding is not about diminishing or disapproving other ideas or concepts, but rather expand, common sense ideas such as the concept of author, and I believe that is what Foucault goal was for his readers, to challenge and play, tinkering how we  conceive certain concepts especially regarding literary texts. I never had a moment where I felt i was reading an answer to what is to be an author or what it means rather an explanation of how we came to the point of where we are, why we consider author’s as such in our culture and what is their role. Two points I really liked about this reading is that it Challenges the idea of the death author calling it regressive “To imagine writing as absence seems to be simple repetition”, he doesn’t argue that this is wrong instead that we must find spaces inside texts where there are examples of the author’s disappearance. He also explains that there’s no such thing as a theory of “work” and those who have to take on the practice of editing works do it without theory. This instantly made me think of Percy Shelley as the editor of Mary Shelley, and how different The novel Frankenstein would have been if Foucault edited it, Its impossible to know if he would engage in such task, but I can imagine the novel more complex and weird.  Another point that made me think about Frankenstein is the example of Pierre Dupont and Shakespeare,  the importance of an author’s name or its distinction form other names. The author’s name the description of what we associate when we see or heard it, and designation or what it names.  Percy Shelley and Mercy Shelley both are linked by the novel of Frankenstein, and  the discourse of authorship between the two versions is an example of how the author’s name changed its function.

Frankenstien Manuscripts

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I was going to save this for later in the semester, but if you want to jump even more in the deep end with your first paper (or you’re just feeling like you need some inspiration), then here’s your link of the day: http://shelleygodwinarchive.org/contents/frankenstein/

The site has digitized the manuscripts of the Shelley family and presents the originals alongside the transcription. You can toggle back and forth between Mary and Percy’s contributions.

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At the least, we can take comfort in the fact that Shelley herself misspelled “Frankenstien”; even the best writers have to draft and revise!

update: “no” or “♄” and “☉”?

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