Mars Shelley's 'Frankenstein'. A Representation of the Dichotomy of Nature versus Civilization
Seminar paper from the year 2014 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, University of Koblenz-Landau (Anglistik), course: Interpreting Literature, language: English, abstract: Civilization is hideously fragile [...] there's not much between us and the Horrors underneath, just about a coat of varnish. (C.P Snow qtd. in Bhimeswara 178). What does it mean to be human and what does it mean to become civilized? Questions of origin and purpose constitute strong themes in Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein. In the following chapters the seeming interdependence between civilization, its scientific pursuits and nature will be examined and illustrated by appropriate examples. Before exploring how the dichotomy of nature versus civilization is represented in the story and which motifs and themes are incorporated in order to create such contrast, two philosophical approaches thought to have inspired the author will be introduced and put into context. After a theoretical frame is established, 'nature' and 'civilization' as major themes of the novel will be analyzed and compared. It is hoped to illustrate how each theme is represented and what effect it has on the overall reception and interpretation. 2. Nature versus Civilization - Philosophical Approaches and Theories Mary Shelley's scientific gothic novel can be interpreted as a representation of a Victorian woman's reaction to experiments in natural science and galvanic electricity. To what extend her sophisticated and critical reflection on contemporary societal issues draws from theories of much cited social analysts like Jean Jacques Rousseau and John Locke will be explored in the following chapters.
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