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Tutor profile: Megan B.

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Megan B.
English Language and Writing Tutor
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

How do I become a better writer?

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Megan B.
Answer:

1. READ! Here are some excellent books about writing: -On Writing Well by William Zinsser -The Writing Life by Annie Dillard -On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Steven King -Any book/article related to the type of writing you hope to do. If you want to write in a particular genre, immerse yourself in it. Learn which of its tropes you enjoy and which you don't. If you want to do well on a school paper, find other papers about your topic. Which ones are most interesting to you and why? What techniques do they use to get their point across? 2. WRITE! Writers write. They think about writing, read about writing, and talk about writing, but they mostly write. It's the only way to improve. Once you've written enough words, some of them are bound to be good.

Subject: Literature

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Question:

How does Mary Shelley's Frankenstein explore the connection between transgression and isolation?

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Megan B.
Answer:

When Victor Frankenstein builds his Creature in Frankenstein, he unwittingly unleashes a monstrous being on his community, which takes the lives of those closest to him. Frankenstein’s decision to create such a being illustrates his initial transgression on society, and is borne from a period of isolation, in which he is separated from the influence of society for the first time in his life. In linking these occurrences together, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein considers the danger of isolation and secrecy by revealing that transgression and isolation occur in a cyclical nature, and community is the necessary link that breaks the cycle. By illustrating this lack of community in both Frankenstein and his Creature, she reveals that we are most virtuous when in community with other people, and most monstrous when we reject these ties. Victor Frankenstein’s great transgression, his Creature, also falls victim to the cycle of isolation and transgression, after Victor refuses to create a companion for him. In this way, Shelley offers Frankenstein’s Creature as an image of the monstrous extreme of Victor’s isolating habits, furthering her warning of the dangers of isolation. Like his creator, the Creature does not exhibit monstrous qualities until he has been denied the community. Josh Bernatchez points out that, “He is rejected from potential fellowship and treated as a transgressor long before any malevolent action on his part” (Bernatchez 206). The Creature is attracted to the notion of virtue, and longs to prove he is virtuous, in order to win the trust and successfully enter the community. He says, “I imagined that they would be disgusted, until, by my gentle demeanour and conciliating words, I should first win their favour and afterward their love” (Shelley 115). The Creature understands that his ‘disgusting’ appearance separates him from the community, and sees virtue as a means to enter society. He seeks virtue for the purpose of eventually finding love, and in this way Shelley makes it clear the Creature is not innately a fallen monster. It is not until he is rejected by the cottagers, and thereby sent permanently into isolation, that his transgression begins, starting by killing William to get back at his creator. Thus, like his creator, the Creature does not transgress by nature, but as a direct result of isolation. The danger of isolation, then, lies in its cyclical relationship with transgression, and the way in which isolation by its nature pushes one further from its solution: community. Victor Frankenstein, despite his father’s supplications, does not recognize this solution for himself, even when his Creature does. The Creature asks Victor to make him a companion, so that he may escape his isolation. The Creature directly links his transgressions to the state of despair brought on by complete isolation. He says, “I am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind?” (Shelley 145). Frankenstein’s Creature believes his malicious actions are a result of his misery, which is why he demands a female companion. He says, “It’s true, we shall be monsters, but on that account we shall be more attached to one another. Our lives will not be happy, but they will be harmless and free from the misery I now feel” (Shelley 146). The Creature brings up his misery once again, making it apparent to Victor that a female companion is the solution to his misery, and therefore his transgressions. Even so, the Creature acknowledges that they ‘will not be happy,’ because one companion fulfills only the bare requirement for the community that the Creature desires, but, given his monstrous appearance, is the best he may hope for given the circumstances. Despite Victor’s own isolation, he does not grant his Creature’s wish. This ultimately leads to Elizabeth’s and Victor’s deaths, as his Creature wreaks revenge on Victor for his miserable, solitary existence.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

When should you use a semicolon?

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Megan B.
Answer:

Semicolons are used to link two independent clauses that are closely related in thought.

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