Saturday, February 20, 2010

Frankenstein Response


Hi, class,

Please write a brief response(200-400 words) to this passage, narrated by Victor. It appears in Chapter 24. What advice might Victor be giving to Walton? Please post your response on the blog. 

"When younger," said he, "I believed myself destined for some great enterprise. My feelings are profound; but I possessed a coolness of judgment that fitted me for illustrious achievements. This sentiment of the worth of my nature supported me when others would have been oppressed; for I deemed it criminal to throw away in useless grief those talents that might be useful to my fellow-creatures. When I reflected on the work I had completed, no less a one than the creation of a sensitive and rational animal, I could not rank myself with the herd of common projectors. But this thought, which supported me in the commencement of my career, now serves only to plunge me lower in the dust. All my speculations and hopes are as nothing; and, like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence, I am chained in an eternal hell. My imagination was vivid, yet my powers of analysis and application were intense; by the union of these qualities I conceived the idea and executed the creation of a man. Even now I cannot recollect without passion my reveries while the work was incomplete. I trod heaven in my thoughts, now exulting in my powers, now burning with the idea of their effects. From my infancy I was imbued with high hopes and a lofty ambition; but how am I sunk! Oh! my friend, if you had known me as I once was you would not recognise me in this state of degradation. Despondency rarely visited my heart; a high destiny seemed to bear me on until I fell, never, never again to rise.

13 comments:

Malgorzata said...

In the passage, chapter 24, Victor finds himself at the end of his life, it seems. He mentions his younger years when he had hopes for a great future. He was sure of his greatness above all, when he refers to his peers as “fellow creatures” rather than naming them or simply calling them people. He continues with his arrogance “… I could not rank myself with the herd of common projectors.” He was so sure of the superiority of his intelligence. Now, at the end of his career he realizes that his actions brought him to the lowest point in life comparing it to being “…lower in the dust.” He says: “All my speculations and hopes are as nothing...” He began with the attempts of transforming the dead back to life, putting himself on the same level as God, the Creator. His former attempts ended up as failure. He has become like “… like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence...” He realizes that his striving towards controlling life and death was the same as the rebellion of Lucipher (archangel). Lucipher rebelled against God, became Satan, and was banned to hell forever. Victor is hopeless knowing he will never succeed. Depression seldom entered his heart in the past; now it overtook him. I would like to say that he learned what humility means but I think he suffers because of knowing that he failed. He does not feel remorse, does not consider his acts as wrong. He is simply a failure.

Paolla said...

Response to Frankstein
The opening line of this passage instantly connects the characters of Walton and Victor. Victor says, “I believed myself destined for some great enterprise. My feelings are profound; but I possessed a coolness of judgment that fitted me for illustrious achievements.” This reminds of the beginning of the novel where Walton narrates and describes his love for adventure and desire to be great. Victor sees this common ground and thus gives him some advice for his life.
In the beginning of the passage Victor talks about his potential. He felt it was worthy, and he would consider it a crime to deprive other people of his potential. He then says that this thought of his only worsened his situation, and caused him to sink. Here he is telling Walton how he mistakenly over estimated himself. The notion of over estimating one self and having too much confidence , Victor says is deadly, and has chained him to eternal hell. Thus he is more so warning Walton than giving him an advice. He then says his talents in creating the monster were immense and his powers to do so were as well. But now he is suffering because of them.
At the end of the passage Victor recollects that his “lofty ambition” has been present in him since his childhood. Victor tells Walton if he had known him before, he would not have recognized him. He says he “degraded” to such a state. The last sentence, he says a high destiny was set to him until he fell. Even though Victor says he over estimated he, and let himself fall into despair and failure, he still does not discard the fact that he had promising future. Despite all his troubles he believed he was meant to be great. This then gives the impression that he is not at all advising, but cautioning him.

Paolla said...

Response to Frankstein
The opening line of this passage instantly connects the characters of Walton and Victor. Victor says, “I believed myself destined for some great enterprise. My feelings are profound; but I possessed a coolness of judgment that fitted me for illustrious achievements.” This reminds of the beginning of the novel where Walton narrates and describes his love for adventure and desire to be great. Victor sees this common ground and thus gives him some advice for his life.
In the beginning of the passage Victor talks about his potential. He felt it was worthy, and he would consider it a crime to deprive other people of his potential. He then says that this thought of his only worsened his situation, and caused him to sink. Here he is telling Walton how he mistakenly over estimated himself. The notion of over estimating one self and having too much confidence , Victor says is deadly, and has chained him to eternal hell. Thus he is more so warning Walton than giving him an advice. He then says his talents in creating the monster were immense and his powers to do so were as well. But now he is suffering because of them.
At the end of the passage Victor recollects that his “lofty ambition” has been present in him since his childhood. Victor tells Walton if he had known him before, he would not have recognized him. He says he “degraded” to such a state. The last sentence, he says a high destiny was set to him until he fell. Even though Victor says he over estimated he, and let himself fall into despair and failure, he still does not discard the fact that he had promising future. Despite all his troubles he believed he was meant to be great. This then gives the impression that he is not at all advising, but cautioning him.

Lorraine said...

Victor Frankenstein, a man intent on ending death, self destructed through selfishness and great ambition. While giving advice, it is through the passage in chapter 24, that contradiction is apparent. With great despair and heavy heart, Victor relates his tragic story of woe to Walton who, resembling his friend, has immense passion for accomplishment. Through sentiment and reflection, Victor shares advice, warning that obsession, although necessary to achieve ones goal, can also ruin ones life.
When Walton first comes upon this hopeless wretch of a man, he cannot believe his reluctance to board a ship, providing shelter and warmth. Walton, consumed with interest over this odd mannered man with wild eyes and benevolent spirit, began to nurse him back to health. It is through communication with Victor that Walton, lonely at sea, begins to look upon him as a brother. Walton, while listening to Victor’s tale, realizes that both he and Victor share ambition for great purpose and are desirous of something extraordinary. Speaking of his destiny and quest of knowledge, Victor compels Walton to continue on his journey to the North Pole with courage and aspiration for the sake of contribution to society. However, Victor also warns of danger, if a balance of tranquility and morality does not exist. He relates to his friend, “…if you had known me as I once was, you would not recognize me in this state of degradation,” and with this in mind, he begs Walton not to follow in his example.
Sharing the same views, Walton appreciates Victor’s candidacy, but is now apprehensive of his own travels. Due to his obsession of finding the North Pole, and the conflicting advice imposed upon him, self-examination and self-exploration are the tools needed to decide his future. I believe Victor impels Walton to continue on his expedition, but worries that he may too, lose his way.

Mauricio said...

In this excerpt from Chapter 24, Victor speaks about his feelings as a creator of life. Having given the monster life, feelings of glory and superiority engulfed Victor. It was those same god-like feelings that, “now [serve] only to plunge [him] lower in the dust. Not only is he driven by hatred, but he realizes that his creature and he are very alike. Both are consumed by evil. The monster kills Victor’s loved ones while Victor ‘kills’ the monster’s future soul mate. A lot of emotion permeates through Victor’s last words, which suggest that his life will not be fulfilled until he destroys that which he created. Blaming himself, Victor cannot think of anything other than putting an end to the monster. Such language and emotion suggest that Victor wishes for Walton to continue his expedition, but to remain wary of his pride and ambition. Walton perceives that the true danger lies in Victor’s feelings of pride, glory and obsession because such feelings have led him further and further away from sanity. Victor understands he is at the brink of death and that he will not finish his hunt, but he can rely on his emotional appeal to persuade Walton into continuing his travels. Victor is Walton’s only friend since they share many interests. Victor’s story has immensely impacted Walton, who experiences great sympathy for the dying man and has developed a brotherly relationship with him.
-Mauricio Delgado

x3jaye said...

At the very beginning of this passage, Victor begins expressing his beliefs when he was younger. During that time period, he was optimistic and “possessed coolness of judgment”. He had high hopes of achieving great works and creations. He even thought of himself being better than his “fellow creatures” which referred to the other people who were also creators instead of referring to them as colleagues or people. Then after completing this project, his confidence raised even higher than before. His creation could not “rank himself with the herd of common projectors”. In fact, he thought he was in the same category as God, being a Creator who revived the dead. As a result, all the ambition Victor had resulted in self-destruction. At the end of his career, his perception in himself changed. After his great creation of man, Victor realized that his actions categorized him being “lower than dust”. He then referred to being “chained in an eternal hell”. This feeling occurred from being too confident in himself and his ideas. Like Victor, Walton had ambition and desire for greatness. Victor was obsessed with the desire to create a human while Walton is obsessed with finding the North Pole. Victor wanted to advise Walton that he should be careful of his desire and ambition as his resulted in a failure. He did not want Walton to be too confident and be aware of his decisions.

George said...

Victor’s advice to Walton is focused on how one should avoid being self-centered. Victor only cared and thought for himself and his family by striving to attain glory and recognition without considering how it might affect others whether positively or negatively. Victor did not consider if there would be any consequences of his act, or any sort of complications due to his selfish desire. However, his interest was to create a beautiful being which was supposed to bring fame to both him and his family, but he ended up creating a monster. This creation has caused anger and confusion to both him and his creature, and has led to the death of people victor cared for. Victor tells Walton that he is not worthy of his friendship because he is a wretch due to the destruction he brought. I believe victor has come to realize that one’s action might affect people in different ways. Victor believed so much in his intelligence and power which made him to never question his ability, or to seek advice from anyone. This characterized him as an egoistic person because he felt that he knew it all. His advice to Walton is important to consider when constructing reality. His action has brought sorrow and sadness to his household. Victor’s advice is as a result of his misfortune which he caused by himself because he attempted to act as God.

Stephanie said...

Chapter 24, Victor gives advice to Walton. Firstly, I must admit that it is comical in a way that after Victor’s narration that he would give Walton advice. It is as if the one good thing that Victor can do was to give Walton advice or it may even be proceeded to be a warning. The warning is that although one may start out with great ambitions and imaginations there is a danger that the end result may not be what one may expect. It makes sense that Victor would give such advice to Walton, seeing how Walton is on an adventure to the North. However, there are contradictions as to what Victor has disclosed to Walton and his actions. When one of the crewman came in to beg Walton for their return once they break out of the ice, Victor spoke out and told the man to continue with the motivation in receiving honor and glory. Personally, after he gave Walton his advice, I concluded that Victor has finally realized that because of his thoughts of wanting power and glory has brought him to his downfall. Yet, Victor is telling Walton’s crewman to be motivated by the glory and honor. It seems as though Victor has not learned that glory and honor is not everything. It was disappointing to see Victor be motivated by the idea of him receiving glory and seeking revenge and yet never was motivated by love. If he had been motivated by love Victor would have made the monster a companion in order to save those he loved such as Elizabeth. If Victor was motivated by love in the beginning when the monster woke up then would the monster be at the end a tool of evilness? Even at the end of Victor’s life he was in self pity and cared only for himself. By telling his story he wanted to die knowing that someone would sympathize with him and that person was Walton.

Nuria Torres said...

A recurring theme in Frankenstein is the downfall of dreamers. Both Victor and his monster are victims of this downfall, as they both share are slaves to their ambitions. Victor was inspired by the ambition of his potential, something that took over his total attention for several years. Victor’s creature, also inspired by ambition, met with constant disappointment and felt the ultimate downfall and rejection. Walton, also tempted by ambition, receives warning by Victor
Like Victor, Walton was also ambitious when traveling the North Pole, and Victor attempts to assuage his passions. Victor attempts to warn Walton by comparing his own ambition to that of Satan, and describing his own downfall at ambition. In his tale, both Victor and his creature take on a similar role to the fallen angel after they hit rock bottom. Victor attempted to chase greatness just as Satan had chased “omnipotence.” Also, although Satan did not create man, he did create the man we know now—greedy, evil, and full of revenge. In the same respect, Victor was the source of the monster’s feeling of hatred. Victor’s creature also resembled Satan after the downfall. Sent to isolation, Satan plots his revenge to all those who rejected him. This undoubtedly describes the creature as well.
Because of Victor’s downfall, Victor chooses to warn Walton about the repercussions of chasing ambition in life. Victor warns that, “From my infancy I was imbued with high hopes and a lofty ambition; but how am I sunk!” According to Victor, what begins as a positive goal turns into a potential downfall for man, just as Satan strived for power and only received rejection.

framer said...

Throughout the novel, Victor can be perceived as an arrogant, self-centered character. This passage narrated by Victor himself towards the end of the book reveals once again his egocentric personality. Realizing that he is at the brick of death, Victor decides to speak to Walton to give him some advice. However, his tone and language clearly represent that his attitude is still the same, egotistical and self-absorbed. He narrates his story to Walton, whom considers Victor his only true friend, with the mere purpose of seeking to gain sympathy and recognition from someone. He starts by saying, “When younger… I believed myself destined for some great enterprise. My feelings are profound; but I possessed a coolness of judgment that fitted me for illustrious achievements.” He shows no modesty at all throughout the narrative and his last moments of agony are no exception. By bragging about his superiority, Victor tries to leave a mark on Walton that will hopefully lead to his glorification. Although he is tormented by his horrendous creation, he is still proud to have achieved something his “fellow-creatures” were not capable of. He proclaims how his “imagination was vivid, yet [his] powers of analysis and application were intense;” and how “by the union of these qualities [he] conceived the idea and executed the creation of a man.” It is evident that Victor still desires glory and recognition for his creation of life. However, he takes some time to advice Walton, making sure that he does not follow his same path. Victor is aware of Walton’s ambition to find the North Pole and relates to him; therefore, he presents his story as an example of what not to follow. He says, “From my infancy I was imbued with high hopes and a lofty ambition; but how am I sunk!” He advices Walton to continue on his expedition and his quest to glory, but worries that his ambitions will ruin his life just as they ruined Victor’s.

Frank Merino

Nuria Torres said...

A recurring theme in Frankenstein is the downfall of dreamers. Both Victor and his monster are victims of this downfall, as they both become slaves of their ambitions. Victor is inspired by the ambition of stimulating his potential whereas his creature had ambitions to be accepted in society. Both characters face disappointment and the latter a cruel deal of rejection. Because Walton is also tempted by ambition, Victor’s tale serves him as a caveat.
Like Victor, Walton falls into his ambitions at the beginning of the novel, demonstrated in Walton’s several letters explaining his inability to return home without achieving his goals. When Victor arrives, he serves Walton well by telling him about the downfall of ambition. In Victor’s tale, he and his creature both fall victim to this. Both Victor’s and his creature’s downfall could be paralleled to Satan’s ambition. The characters take on a similar role to the fallen angel. Victor attempted to chase greatness just as Satan chased “omnipotence.” Also, although Satan did not create man, he did create the man we know now—greedy, evil, and full of revenge. In the same respect, Victor was the source of the monster’s increased violence and hatred. Victor’s creature also resembled Satan after the downfall. Sent to isolation, Satan plots his revenge to all those who rejected him. This undoubtedly describes the creature as well.
Because of Victor’s downfall, Victor chooses to warn Walton about the repercussions of chasing ambition in life. Victor warns that, “From my infancy I was imbued with high hopes and a lofty ambition; but how am I sunk!” According to Victor, a goal can turn into a potential downfall for man, just as Satan strived for power but received isolation.

Professor R. Williams said...

Hey, class,

This is great commentary! I will add the comments of those students who didn't post their comments on the blog.

Best,

Prof. Williams

Vic said...

The advice that Victor might be giving Walton is “how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge”. It all comes down to the education that Victor received in his childhood. As his past is studied, he claims, “In my education my father had taken the greatest precautions that my mind should be impressed with no supernatural horrors”. Since he was forbidden and limited to associate with these insanities, his impertinent eagerness and curiosity to know about the anatomical structure and revival of the human dead grew hungrier. He explored beyond the boundaries and would not settle down with “common projectors”. This goes to show how his high expectations tampered the main purpose of the creature’s coming to life. Not only was he reluctant to culture any values to the “creature”, but also he betrayed him in many ways possible. Those boundaries that he overachieved are described as rewarding at first. As he expresses those emotions of getting ahead and realizing the impossible, re-thinks and analyses the pitfalls and how it was not all worth it because he lost everyone he loved. With Walton on his side as his last friend he lets lose and decides to give it a last attempt to show his benevolence which has been turned away by his fierce ambitions. Whether he was overly bookish and careless of the exterior world or not, one thing seems true from his tone of voice. There was guilt and regret pressured upon Victor. In the end, as he talks with and not to Walton he is left regretting and wishing to turn back the time and changing where he went wrong. The end of the passage may also portray Victor pleading for mercy in front of Walton.