Monday, November 23, 2009

Final Paper Idea Continued

Woops! I posted my final paper idea last week, so I need to adjust it to meet the requirements. Here is a quote from Frankenstein to contextualize what I want my final critical analysis to be about. "I (the creature) perceived the words they (the family) spoke sometimes produced pleasure or pain, smiles or sadness, in the minds and countenances of the hearers. This was indeed a godlike science, and I ardently desired to become acquainted with it" (74-5).

I want to tie the idea of the creature discovering humans in nature to relate to how the narrator in Walden Pond reacts to nature. The narrators/character in both stories provide observations of their interactions between themselves and nature. I want to compare and contrast these two to tease out the controversy is if the creature's being. Can he become natural if brought into this world in an unnatural way? What holds higher, nature or nurture?


  1. It sounds like you are trying to tackle a large question of nature vs. nurture. I think that have the large quesstion may make it a little easier to write the paper, especially since you have already thought about this and wrote about it. I like the idea of bringing in a second text that we have not read in class. I think it will provide a different perspective then what we have discussed in class through those novels. It seems you are leaning towards nature, not so much nurture. I will go ahead and play the devil's advocate to hopefully try and help... The creature did learn some things from nature, but he did learn the majority through observation and that could be seen as nurture or lack of nurture in his case could be what formed his personality and way of life. He wanted to be good, but because of nurture he was not. You could defintely argue that nature made him kill and go out for revenge though too. I think this paper sounds very interesting. I have never read the other book so it's a little harder for me to give suggestions but it sounded very nature based. the fact that the two books had different outcomes could be analyzed if they both used nature. Maybe in one case nature was more beneficial and the other nature was not. Nature also played a part in other books that we have read, such as Interview with the Vampire. You could use the nature vs. nurture argument in how the vampires learned who they really were and how they chose to live as well. Just an extra thought in the same theme if you get stuck.

  2. Walden Pond is the paradigm of nature-literature, therefore an excellent pair to any discussion of nature. However, I think the commenter above makes an excellent point. The monster is delighted when he is observing humans. The nature (cold, rain, heat) does not seem to affect him in the conventional way, where as Thoreau spends a great deal of time commenting on how the sun and the wind and the rain make him feel. While the Monster is in Nature, he lives without any limits. It is a plain, monotonous existence. Thoreau on the other hand, feels connected to his beloved Walden Pond stead.
    I think that these two pieces certainly have a workable relationship. Maybe an easier focus for a paper would be in the symbiotic relationship of humans with nature. It seems that is what gives Thoreau the most satisfaction, watching the life cycle continue around him (the dead cow on the path) without his interference. This symbiotic co-existence is also what the creature loves most about the Family. He even resents when people from the village come to town. Just a thought.
    Good Luck!

  3. Another possibility would be to bring in the poem "Tintern Abbey" and consider how these other two texts, Walden and Frankenstein, develop an idea of modern consciousness through nature.