I hope you are all doing well. I really miss my classes and I have heard from a few of you that the same is true. I will be updating the lessons and posting them on here, two per week. They will require some reading and writing on your part. I will add videos and readings to the class lessons, so check back on Mondays and Wednesdays for all the info you need, including readings, and assignments.
Nevertheless, we will continue on with our course and with our purpose of learning to write and think critically.
We are learning to do these things through the lens of Monsters and Monster Theory. It has been two weeks since we learned about Monster Theory and I want to take this first lesson to review and refresh our understanding of Monster Theory.
Our goal for today is to review Monster Theory and connect it with a Monster, Frankenstein/His Monster.
We will be submitting the class work on the comment section below. Post one comment per class lesson!
The easiest way to do this is to write your quick write and responses on a text document as you follow along. Then copy and paste all the response and quick writes into one comment. I will be reviewing these and approving them as the day goes by. No need to email me to see if I got it.
Lets catch up on what we have all been doing. Answer these questions so we can see what we have been up to.
- What have the last two weeks been like for you?
- What have you been doing to stay productive if at all?
Keep it short! Here is my response as an example.
I have been staying home as much as possible. I go out only to get groceries and essentials. I am lucky in that I love to be home. I have a home gym that I built over the last two years and I have continued to work out and work on my garden. A mole started eating my vegetables so I had to put metal mesh below the raised beds to keep it out.
I have been spending a lot of time with my wife and daughter as we have all been home on spring break. I do miss my students! As you guys know I love teaching and seeing your happy smiling faces. If you need anything email me or send me a text. The info is on the syllabus.
Also, I have been working on grading and changing the class over to online instruction. Hopefully the lessons are informative and helpful for the work we need to continue doing.
Review the last class lesson to refresh what we learned.
Here is a lost of monster notes from previous classes to help.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus
Watch this crash course video that gives you a good introduction to the work. If you have not read the book, I highly recommend it. It is one of the best works of literature ever, and it is free because it is old.
What does the title of the book mean? Frankenstein is the name of the Doctor that is telling us the story. What about the second part? What or who is Prometheus? What do you know about him?
Victor Frankenstein: The Narrator, Doctor, Creator. Frankenstein has from the very beginning been confused with his creation, the Monster. Why do you think that is?
Who is Prometheus? In Greek mythology, Prometheus is a Titan who is best known for giving fire to mankind and is punished by Zeus. Prometheus is chained to a rock and an eagle comes everyday to peck out his liver which grows back every night and continues indefinitely.
What does modern Prometheus mean then? Prometheus gave mankind a knowledge that we did not have and is punished for it. Now Dr. Frankenstein gives us a knowledge that we do not have and is punished for it.
I have some selections from Frankenstein for today. They are from Chapter 4 and 5 of the book. Read Frankenstein Selection.
When you are done with the readings return to the lesson. If you already read them, continue on!
The question I want to consider now is: What does it mean to be human? Arguably, literary texts in charting human actions and emotions and so on, reflect back at us what makes us who we are? What makes us tick?
By looking at the monsters we create, we can learn what it means to be human and/or humane.
I want to focus on a passage from Chapter 5.
How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.
The Creation Scene
Here is a scene from the 1994 film, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Dr. Frankenstein is trying to do a great thing: he wants to save humans from dying. Why then is his greatest achievement, life, an abomination, a creature, a monster?
Why does he call it a monster? It was just created and born by his hands. It has not done anything yet to be considered monstrous. So what makes it a monster? Is it actions that make someone a monster? Or can it be just the way you look?
Why does he turn his back on the monster? What theory from Cohen would help us understand why the creation is a monster?
Who then is the monster? If you had a baby that was born with a physical or mental handicap, would you turn your back? Would you be horrified? Or would you love it just the same or even more because you know that life is hard and people are mean.
What would make you a monster? We just saw that it is not necessarily actions. That is how we usually think of monsters in our modern context. When someone does something that we consider wrong we will call them a monster.
What would it take for you to be born a monster? Could it be your look? Handicap? Disfigurement? Color of your skin? Religion? These are all things we have done to make monsters. What one have you seen?
Monster Theory and Frankenstein
Take a look at the seven monster theories to see which apply to Frankenstein and/or his Monster. Hopefully the lesson today has made you think about what it means to be a monster, and in turn what it means to be a human. Some ideas should be emerging from the monster theories we read last time.
Connect at least two monster theories for today. Find a quote from each of the monster theories that you think apply and connect it to the selections from Frankenstein and the video we watched.
Use the quote sandwich to show the connection.
- Introduce the quote
- Quote, relevant
- Explain Quotation
The concept of dragons evolved with people’s needs and desires. It follows the first of Cohen’s Monster Theses: The Monster’s Body is a Cultural Body. “The monster is born only at this metaphoric crossroads, as an embodiment of a certain cultural moment…” (Cohen 4). Each individual culture molded the dragon to its own desires and fears, be it Christian fear or Chinese mysticism (Quintero).
Comment below with your two monster theories in quotation sandwich format. Also include the initial quick write from the top.
Check Back on Wednesday for the next lesson. We will be going over the next essay, Monster Evaluation.
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I am still working on transitioning our class to canvas for submissions, but you can still do everything else on here. Grades will be updated soon.