Tutor profile: Kassia L.
What are the rules for employing a formal writing voice in academic essays?
For most of the essays you write in a university setting, you should use a formal writing voice. You should use the kind of language you would use when giving an important speech, not the kind of language you might use when talking with close friends. A formal tone helps establish the writer's respect for the audience and suggests that the writer is serious about his or her topic. It is the kind of tone that educated people use when communicating with other educated people. Most academic writing uses a formal tone. The following guidelines should help you maintain a formal writing voice in your essays: 1. Do not use first-person pronouns ("I," "me," "my," "we," "us," etc.). Using these expressions in analytical and persuasive essays can make the writing wordy, can make the writer seem less confident of his or her ideas, and can give the essay an informal tone. Use of first-person pronouns is unnecessary in the kinds of essays you are writing for the course. Readers will know that they are reading your thoughts, beliefs, or opinions, so you do not need to state, "I think that," "I believe that," or "in my opinion." Simply delete these expressions from sentences, and you will be left with stronger sentences. Example I think that this character is confused. This character is confused. (The second sentence is less wordy, sounds more formal, and conveys a more confident tone.) "One," "the reader," "readers," "the viewer," or something similar sometimes can be used effectively in place of first-person pronouns in formal papers, but be careful not to overuse these expressions. You want to sound formal, not awkward and stiff. Example I can sense the character's confusion. Readers can sense the character's confusion. 2. Avoid addressing readers as "you." Addressing readers using second-person pronouns ("you, your") can make an essay sound informal and can bring assumptions into an essay that are not true. A student once wrote in her essay, "If you wear a tube top, guys might think that you are easy." I wondered why the student would think that I, a male, would wear a tube top. As with first-person pronouns, second-person pronouns can be replaced by words such as "one," "the reader," "readers," and "the viewer." 3. Avoid the use of contractions. Contractions are shortened versions of words that use apostrophes in place of letters, such as "can't," "isn't," "she's," and "wouldn't." The more formal, non-contracted versions are "cannot," "is not," "she is," and "would not." You might be surprised by how much better a sentence can sound if non-contracted versions of the words replace the contractions. Example The character isn't aware that he's surrounded by people he can't trust. The character is not aware that he is surrounded by people he cannot trust. Making your writing more formal by avoiding contractions is easy: just find the contractions and replace them with the non-contracted versions of the words. 4. Avoid colloquialism and slang expressions. Colloquial diction is informal language used in everyday speech and includes such words as "guys," "yeah," "stuff," "kind of," "okay," and "big deal." Highly informal diction, such as "freak out" and "dissing," falls into the category of "slang." While slang words often are vivid and expressive, slang comes and goes quickly, another reason why slang should be avoided in formal writing. Both colloquialism and slang expressions convey an informal tone and should be avoided in formal writing. Example The guy was nailed for ripping off a liquor store. The man was convicted of robbing a liquor store. As you avoid informal language, be careful not to use words that suggests ideas that you may not intend. "The gentleman was convicted of robbing a liquor store" would probably leave readers wondering why the man who robbed the store is considered to be a "gentleman." Likewise, "the lady was convicted of robbing a liquor store" would probably cause readers to wonder why a woman who robs a liquor store is considered to be a "lady." 5. Avoid nonstandard diction. Nonstandard diction refers to expressions that are not considered legitimate words according to the rules of Standard English usage. Nonstandard diction includes "ain't," "theirselves," "hisself," "anyways," "alot" (the accepted version is "a lot"), and "alright" (the accepted version is "all right"). Most good dictionaries will identify such expressions with the word "Nonstandard." Because nonstandard expressions generally are not regarded as legitimate words, I mark these expressions in essays as examples of "inaccurate word choice." 6. Avoid abbreviated versions of words. For example, instead of writing "photo," "phone" and "TV," write "photograph," "telephone," and "television." 7. Avoid the overuse of short and simple sentences. While the writer might use formal diction in such sentences, too many short and simple sentences can make an essay sound informal, as if the writer is not recognizing that the audience is capable of reading and understanding more complex and longer sentences. Short and simple sentences can be used effectively in formal writing, but heavy reliance on such sentences reflects poorly on the writer and gives the writing an informal tone. Do not confuse formal diction with presumptuous diction (the kind of language that seems intended mainly to impress readers) or jargon (the kind of language only familiar to people within a specialized field, such as computer technicians). You should not sound "artificial" as you use formal diction. Instead, consider that different situations require different uses of language and that educated people are able to adapt their use of language to a variety of writing and speaking situations. Educated people have several different writing and speaking voices, and one voice is no more "genuine" than another. Instead, the different voices reflect choices based on the writing or speaking situation. Through your word choice in essays, you can portray yourself as an intelligent person who is aware of your audience--a group of well-educated people whom you do not know. Imagine the kind of language that you might use in a job interview for an important job. With formal diction, you can express yourself clearly, accurately, and effectively, without relying on the kind of language that you might use in less formal situations.
How is science utilized in four short stories written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, William Harben, and Ambrose Bierce?
“The chess-board is the world; the pieces are the phenomena of the universe; the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. We know that his play is always fair, and patient. But also we know, to our cost, that he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance.” – Thomas Henry Huxley The natural sciences are our fundamental way of examining and understanding the world around us and ourselves, and scientific analysis allows us to solve problems, create hypotheses and test them in order to establish theories, further and expand our knowledge of how the universe works, how our planet works, and how our own bodies work. The importance of these things cannot be stressed enough, and all are frequently incorporated into works of science fiction. Scientific analysis via the scientific method usually occurs through the implementation of four distinct steps, listed here in order of operation: • Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena. • Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena • Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena. • Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments. (Wilson 5) As we shall soon see, many of these elements play a critical, distinctive role in the short selections composed by Nathaniel Hawthorn, Edgar Allan Poe, William Harben, and Ambrose Bierce. Yet it is equally critical to understand that while these authors do explore the more technical areas of scientific analysis, they also explore the purpose of science, its beauty, its potential, the far limits of what it can or could do, and that these factors, too, play a role in the writings under discussion. As such, it may be important to note here that science and philosophy have a lengthy history of being intertwined, and that much of the language and content employed by these writers demonstrates this relationship with philosophy that contemporary writers (and readers) often neglect or overlook in favor of the harsh rules established in the scientific method. As is stated in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: The Book of Nature, according to the metaphor of Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) or Francis Bacon (1561–1626), was written in the language of mathematics, of geometry and number. This motivated an emphasis on mathematical description and mechanical explanation as important aspects of scientific method. Through figures such as Henry More and Ralph Cudworth, a neo-Platonic emphasis on the importance of metaphysical reflection on nature behind appearances, particularly regarding the spiritual as a complement to the purely mechanical, remained an important methodological thread of the Scientific Revolution. This neo-Platonic emphasis on Nature and the philosophy of science demonstrates itself strongly throughout the works of the aforementioned authors. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s protagonist in his short story “The Birthmark”, becomes enamored of, and rather obsessed with, the potential of the natural sciences when it comes to understanding, altering, and controlling nature, as the author voices early on: “[Aylmer] had devoted himself too unreservedly to scientific studies ever to be weaned from them by any second passion” (Hawthorne 9). While unsure if science could ever truly conquer Nature, Aylmer still seems intent to try, especially when noting the seemingly hideous and imperfect marring on the check of his otherwise ‘perfect’ bride, Georgiana. Science, then, becomes his avenue for fixing this imperfection of Nature, if at all possible. Of the birthmark, he notes that it is “the fatal flaw of humanity which Nature, in one shape or another, stamps ineffably on all her productions, either to imply that they are temporary and finite, or that their perfection must be wrought by toil and pain” (Hawthorne 11). Aylmer dreams of conquering Nature, of removing the birthmark, a feat he soon becomes fervently convinced that he can achieve, and in doing so “correct what Nature left imperfect” (13). Even the very thought of such an undertaking leads him “deeper into the heart of science” (13), as he attempts to overcome a restriction that nature itself has placed upon her creations. Described by Hawthorn as a philosopher who has investigated, presumably via the scientific method, the complexities of many things in the natural world, Aylmer was then drawn to the study of the complexities of the human being, and the “process by which Nature assimilates all her precious influences from earth and air, and from the spiritual world, to create and foster man, her masterpiece” (14). He is a true philosopher of science, devoted singularly to the pursuit of understanding, and now, with the revelation about his wife’s birthmark, devoted to correcting an imperfection of Nature that torments him; it is a problem that he, as a scientist, should be able to correct, at least from his own perspective. Aylmer’s laboratory is rife with the products of his intensive studies: bottles of earth, vials of concocted substances, growing flowers, technology to create portraits, books and notes on the history of alchemy. His experiments, as his wife both experiences first-hand and later reads about in his personal journal, are largely examples of failures, particularly with regard to what he had hoped to achieve; yet this is the hallmark of the true scientist. To proceed in spite of set-backs, to continually alter experiments and see if new results can be produced, to possess a relentless pursuit of the craft. Aylmer is constantly using the scientific method to progress in his work, studying his wife, making “minute inquires as to her sensations”, and proceeding tirelessly in his efforts, in spite of becoming “pale as death, anxious, and absorbed” (18-20). He examines the natural phenomena, seeks to understand it, and endeavors to create experiments that he believes will solve many of the imperfections of nature. He even makes sure to test his creation before giving it to his wife, using the concoction designed for Georgiana on a diseased plant in order to ensure its efficacy, pouring “a small quantity of the liquid upon the soil in which is grew. In a little time, when the roots of the plant had taken up the moisture, the unsightly blotches began to be extinguished in a living verdure” (22). Aylmer is the true scientist. Refusing to give up, studying all forms of nature exhaustively, attempting that which has never before been attempted, and seeking to go beyond what nature has created and into the utter unknown. In this way, he is not that dissimilar to Poe’s protagonist in the next short selection that we will examine. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” explores science in quite a similar manner; that is, stretching scientific knowledge to its natural end, and attempting to overcome those very principals of nature that we take for granted. In this case, it is not a mere imperfection of a birthmark, but a desire to halt death itself, a grand proposal that seems to force the process of science to its furthest reaches. The protagonist, a Mesmerist, exhibits an overwhelming desire to arrest death through the process of mesmerism. Having already achieved much with his art, he is, as many scientists are, intent on venturing further into scientific analysis and attempting to achieve what no other had done before. He has already formulated his hypothesis, his experiment, and the questions he intends to raise in his scientific analysis: namely, “to what extent, or for how long a period of time, the encroachments of Death might be arrested by the process” (Poe 29). All that is left is to perform the experiment and record the results, and he deems his friend M. Valdemar as the most suitable person upon whom to test his procedure. The narrator mentions his failure in mesmerizing Valdemar prior, “disappointed that [he] could accomplish with him nothing to be relied upon” (30). Yet, as any true scientist would do (and as Hawthorne’s Aylmer did as well), the narrator refuses to give up even though his initial experiments have failed, theorizing that M. Valdemar’s inability to engage in the process might have been due to his failing health, and therefore that the protagonist’s death-arresting experiment may succeed as a result of this alteration in variables. After encountering his friend on his deathbed, the narrator takes Valdemar’s physicians aside for consultation and makes sure to “obtain from them a minute account of the patient’s condition” (31). He makes absolutely sure that, prior to performing his experiment, he has procured the greatest amount of information available concerning M. Valdemar’s physical state, something critical in the art of both the scientific method and any medical activity. Before even beginning his undertaking, the narrator is quite sure to have an individual present who “would take notes of all that occurred” (32), so as to ensure that his hypothesis and enterprise would be recorded for as a reference for any future scientific endeavors. Poe spends a great deal of time explaining the minutiae of the process of setting up the experiment, of M. Valdemar’s state, of his pulse and breathing during the final minutes of his life, of the nature of his limbs and mobility, and even the slightest movements of his eyelids. Seemingly innocuous elements of the piece that may bore the average reader, these elements are crucial to the scientific nature of the work, as every movement and minor detail is specifically recorded and observed. It is only in this manner can scientific analysis be truly performed and catalogued for posterity. The narrator continues in his process, adjusting as need be for any unusual aberrations, such as the mirroring movement of Valdemar’s limbs, his ability to speak in this mesmeric state, and the inability of the protagonist to draw blood, all of which cumulates in a new experiment: “It was on Friday that we finally resolved to make the experiment of awakening, or attempting to awaken him” (37). Any good scientist must record data in detail and make constant observations, but also be willing to conceive of new hypotheses and later test these, as Poe’s protagonist does. Though M. Valdemar does not survive this final experiment, many experiments do not go as planned, and the scientist must be willing to accept this as a truth of their work. Indeed, a similar ending can be found in Hawthorne’s piece, as the removal of the birthmark results in Georgiana’s departure from the human plane of existence. Science is not a perfect art, and on occasion, these imperfections can end quite badly for all those involved; it is a consistency found in most of the texts we have thus far explored. William Harben’s “In the Year Ten Thousand” differs from the previous two stories in its means of exploring science, for there is no scientific analysis or endeavor here. Instead, this tale examines scientific advancement and achievement over the course of thousands of years and the progress that has been made in this area. Taking place at a museum filled with relics of the past, a father explains human history to his young son. He illustrates the ways in which humanity has changed and grown over thousands of years, and how this growth is the result of time; time that has given the species the opportunity for betterment in science and elevation in understanding. The father quickly points out the value that books held in the past, as “they were read by the best minds…eight thousand years ago human beings communicated their thoughts to one another by making sounds with their tongues, and not by mind-reading…as certain sounds conveyed definite ideas, so did signs and letters; and later, to facilitate the exchange of thought, writing and printing were invested” (Harben 120-121). There is little disdain on the father’s part as he reflects upon the past, acknowledging that while this was primitive compared to his own time, it was critical to the advancement of the human species, just as we may look at early scientific thought and dismiss such ideas today, but still recognize that they paved the way for our current understanding. The boy seems intent on undermining prior scientific thought, considering it useless, but his father understands its great import in allowing for the science and technology of 10,000 AD to develop. It was apparently in the year 4000 that things began to change, and a country formed in which the “brightest minds were born, the greatest discoveries and inventions were made by its inhabitants” (123). The father speaks of the scientists and inventors during this time as we speak now of the likes of Edison, Einstein, and Newton: “In 4030 Gillette discovered the process of manufacturing crystal; In 4050 Holloway found the submerged succession of mountain chains across the Atlantic Ocean and intended to construct a bridge on their summits; in 4051 John Saunders discovered and put into practice thought-telegraphy” (124). The father goes on to relay more of the great achievements of mankind in the following thousands of years: the unification of all the world’s countries due to a common language, the possibility of telepathic communications with extra-terrestrial life, the ability to travel around the earth in a single day, all of which he concludes are “important inventions made as the mind of humanity grew more elevated” (124). It is in this way that we become intimately familiar with scientific progress. We can hear the very echo of our contemporary advancements in technology over the centuries of human existence, and in this way, acknowledge that we have both come a long way since the dawn of civilization, but also have quite a long way to go. As we approach Ambrose Bierce’s “The Damned Thing”, we harken back to less wondrous notions of scientific progress, and into the aforementioned hard science that Poe and Hawthorne examine. The scientific method in particular plays a heavy role in this story, as the backbone of this tale is found in the deceased Hugh Morgan’s hypotheses regarding the existence of an invisible creature (the same creature that eventually kills him). The coroner concludes that Morgan’s diary entries, written during the time before his death, “have a scientific value as suggestions” (Bierce 135). Morgan makes several observations of distinct, yet related, phenomena, before finally providing his hypothesis, thereby utilizing the first two steps of the scientific method. First, he notes that his dog would “run in a half-circle, keeping his head turned always toward the centre [until] at last he ran away into the brush” (136). As he then postulates from this experience, “can a dog see with his nose? Do odours impress some cerebral centre with images of the thing that emitted them"? We slowly begin to see his hypothesis take shape, as he then observes the stars in the night sky “successively disappear – from left to right…as if something had passed along between me and them, but I could not see it”. This continues, as more and more unknown phenomena are observed, namely the presence of mysterious footprints that appear to lack a source of origin, and the immediate departure of an entire flock of birds at precisely the same time, which Morgan assumes must be the result of a “signal of warning or command, high and shrill above the din, but unheard by me” (137). Morgan acknowledges that “there are sounds [humans] cannot hear…they are either too high or too grave” (136). It is thus that he uses his command of observation and the scientific method to reach his final hypothesis: that “as with sounds, so with colours. The human eye is an imperfect instrument; its range is but a few octaves of the real ‘chromatic scale’. I am not mad; there are colours that we cannot see…and the Damned Thing is of such a colour!” (137). It is thus that Morgan reaches his final hypothesis regarding the invisible creature, yet only after observing many phenomena that occur over a period of time. While only Harben’s story approaches science as a thing of beauty and potential, allowing for a pure advancement of human civilization from the primitive to the advanced, each of these stories does deal with science, both as a natural philosophy, as a method of observation about the world around us, and as a means of improving our lives and our greater understanding. Science fiction, particularly contemporary writings, focus heavily on science as a background force to tell an otherwise non-scientific story: take, for instance, Star Wars as a standard hero’s journey that just so happens to be set in space. Yet these earlier works of science fiction appear to emphasize the scientific element of the genre to a much greater extent and explore the limits of science or, in some cases, its limitless potential Bibliography Cook, Paul, ed. The Phoenix Pick Anthology of Classic Science Fiction. 2nd ed. Rockville: Phoenix Pick, 2017. Print.
What are the Gothic elements present in Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's novel Frankenstein?
When beginning the examination into the gothic elements of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, it is perhaps pertinent to first define what precisely is meant by the term “Gothic”, particularly with regard to the Gothic literary tradition. While the birth of Gothic literature can be traced to the 1700s and the likes of author Edward Young’s Night Thoughts and Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, it was not until the 19th century that this mode of narrative firmly established itself within contemporary literature (Smith 1). It was during this time, the time of the Enlightenment and the period following closely after, that rationality found its foothold in contemporary thought, and as scholar Andrew Smith points out, the Gothic arose as a means to combat and critique the virtues extolled during this era by focusing instead on “the inner worlds of the emotions and the imagination” (Smith 2). As society became more enveloped in logical thought and skepticism, the Romantic and Gothic literature of the time sought to undermine these notions and discuss the critical nature of emotion in a world that was quickly becoming dispassionate and sober. Yet the emphasis on exploring the vast array of human feeling is not the only underlying trait of the Gothic. Robert Harris, in his work “Elements of the Gothic Novel”, further delineates the various specific traits assigned to the Gothic text, though most notable for readers of Frankenstein are the following aspects, paraphrased herein: First, the [Gothic] work is pervaded by a threatening feeling, a fear enhanced by the unknown. This atmosphere is sometimes advanced when characters see only a glimpse of something. Second, the Gothic is connected to prophecy or a character may have a disturbing dream vision. Third, the Gothic contains supernatural or inexplicable events. Dramatic, amazing events occur, such as ghosts or giants walking, or inanimate objects…coming to life. [Finally], the narration may be highly sentimental, and the characters are often overcome by anger, sorrow, surprise, and especially, terror. Characters suffer from raw nerves and a feeling of impending doom. Crying and emotional speeches are frequent. Breathlessness and panic are common. It is from this overview that I shall attempt to draw the necessary comparison between the Gothic as a literary movement and the novel Frankenstein, which embodies, quite evidently, the traits compiled above. First, we must address the omnipresent sense of fear and foreboding that occurs throughout the novel, almost exclusively on the part of protagonist Victor Frankenstein himself. This fear and deeply profound horror derives from the third element of the Gothic that Harris outlines, namely the existence of the supernatural, the inexplicable, the uncanny. Frankenstein, in his obsessive pursuits of the natural sciences, endeavors to create life, animate a being out of nothing. His actual success in doing so establishes the baseline fear that permeates much of the tale and his own pursuits throughout the novel. Upon his achievement of bringing forth life in the most unusual of manners, he is at once jolted from his reverie and the ceaseless enthusiasm that drove his scientific pursuit, and is faced with a creature far from his expectations; looking upon his creation for the first time, he remarks of its visage that it is a “wretch…his yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath…a horrid contrast with his watery eyes that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips” (Shelley 45). As Victor reflects upon his creation, he is struck by the ghastly reality of what he has done, and remarks, “now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart” (45). Horror and terror is often interwoven into Gothic texts, and here we see that Frankenstein experiences both fear and disgust when gazing upon his monster, tying together the notions of strong emotion within a piece of Gothic literature and an element of the supernatural. The monster is certainly inhuman; pieced together by Victor in an attempt to understand what makes a human life, and it is this very process of forging the supernatural that leads to the underlying dread that permeates the novel from beginning to end. It is then that the dreamlike visions begin, perhaps foretelling what is to come in this narrative. After having fled from his laboratory in fear of his creation, Victor attempts to sleep, and finds himself amongst restful dreams that soon turn sour: “I thought I saw Elizabeth, in the bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt…I embraced her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death” (46). This dream, tainted by the underlying unease of the monster’s conception, portends the eventual death of Elizabeth. Later, Victor finds respite again, and once more his dream turns nightmarish as he “dreamt that [he] wandered in flowery meadows and pleasant vales with the friends of [his] youth, but [he] awoke and found [himself] in a dungeon” (134). Such dreams support not only the element of the Gothic that includes prophetic dreams or visions of relevance, but plays into the parallel of wonder and terror often seen in Gothic literature (Townshend). Yet prophecy or, rather, destiny plays a much larger role in the Frankenstein narrative, as Victor references his personal destiny many times from the initial outset of the novel, seemingly as a means of reconciling the horrors that he has been responsible for, brushing off Robert Walton’s sympathy by saying that “your sympathy…is useless; my fate is nearly fulfilled…nothing can alter my destiny; listen to my history and you will perceive how irrevocably it is determined” (Shelley 27). He later reiterates much the same notion about his instable and doomed fate: “Destiny was too potent, and her immutable laws had decreed my utter and terrible destruction” (36); “Some destiny of the most horrible kind hangs over me” (123); “That, then, was the period fixed for the fulfillment of my destiny” (116). It is as though Victor’s fate and the fate of those around him is written in stone, prophesied through dreams, visions or solidified through Victor’s own unwavering belief in the inevitability of his circumstances. It is after Frankenstein’s horrific dream of Elizabeth dead that he begins to catch glimpses of the creature from afar, establishing the atmospheric sense of anxiety that Harris outlines as the first element of the Gothic. Upon waking from his initial fitful dream, he looks upon the moon and beholds “the wretch – the miserable monster whom I had created” (46). This is merely the beginning, as these glimpses appear throughout the entirety of the novel. Returning home to Geneva after the murder of his youngest brother, Victor states that he “perceived in the gloom a figure which stole from behind a clump of trees…a flash of lightning illuminated the object…its gigantic stature and the deformity of its aspects more hideous than belongs to humanity” (57). Later, aloft the summit of Montanvert, Frankenstein “suddenly beheld the figure of a man, at some distance” (72), and after making a promise to the monster that he would create a counterpart to ease the monster’s suffering, he is closely followed and observed, breaking from his work in the laboratory only to look up and see “by the light of the moon the daemon of the casement” (114). As he remarks himself that, “[the daemon] had followed me in my travels; loitered in forests, hid himself in caves, or taken refuse in wide and desert heaths” (114). Even in the very first appearance of the monster, the creature is perceived by Robert Walton “at the distance of half a mile”, and then only vaguely (23). It is thus that the creature is but glimpsed from afar throughout the entirety of the tale, with a rare interlude in which Victor and his monster converse. This lends itself not solely to the gothic archetype outlined above, but establishes a strong sense of foreboding in the narrative; that which is not seen is often much more frightening than that which appears in broad daylight. Finally comes the role of emotion within Frankenstein, perhaps the deepest and most poignant aspect of the novel, and the truest indication of its Gothic stature. As Carol Margaret Davison writes, the innovation of Otranto as a starting point for Gothic literature derives from, “its attempt…to give voice to the ineffable and prove the depth of human emotion in relation to both real and imagined terrors” (Davison 63), and provides the necessary stark contrast to the pure rationality of the age of Enlightenment. Yet Gothic emotion does not consist solely of Harris’ anger, sorrow, and terror, but also invokes the sublime and incorporates a sense of wonder, astonishment, magnificence, and an appreciation of the marvelous. For as much as Frankenstein reiterates his sickly feelings of fear and disgust when recalling the monster, naming the creature “a vile insect”, “abhorrent devil”, and a visage “too horrible for human eyes” (72), he also reflects upon a number of moments of awe, often the result of encouragement on the part of his closest friend and traveling companion, Henry Clerval. On one such trip with Henry along the Rhine, Frankenstein ponders that even “depressed in mind, and [with] spirits continually agitated by gloomy feelings, even I was pleased. I lay at the bottom of the boat, and as I gazed on the cloudless blue sky, I seemed to drink in a tranquility to which I had long been a stranger” (107). Yet Victor is a character wrought with confliction, and can appreciate natural beauty and the camaraderie of friendship, yet has this “enjoyment…embittered both by the memory of the past and the anticipation of the future” (110). His respite from despair is often short-lived: “for an instant I dared to shake off my chains and look around me with a free and lofty spirit, but the iron had eaten into my flesh” (111). From the moment he creates the monster, Victor is at war with himself, embracing the entire array of emotions fully and without reserve. He speaks of his soul as “torn by remorse, horror, and despair” (66), but also shows the capacity to return to himself after the sickness caused by his actions have briefly passed. Such a return to self is usually precipitated by the assistance and kindness of family and friends: “Clerval called forth the better feelings of my heart…I became the same happy creature who…had no sorrow or care. What happy, inanimate nature had the power of bestowing on me the most delightful sensations…my own spirits were high, and I bounded along with feelings of unbridled joy and hilarity” (54). While this perhaps does tie in with the notions of madness and emotional instability discussed in our lecture, I think it perhaps demonstrates a great removal from the emotionless void of rational literature and highlights in the most extreme and vivid manner, that manner which only literature has governance over, the ever-changing, volatile and intense complexities of human emotion. As Victor himself states, “how mutable are our feelings” (118). How mutable, indeed. Bibliography Davison, Carol M. Gothic Literature 1764-1824. Cardiff: U of Wales Press, 2009. Print. Harris, Robert. "Elements of the Gothic Novel." VirtualSalt. N.p., 15 June 2015. Web. 22 May 2017. <http://www.virtualsalt.com/gothic.htm>. Shelley, Mary W. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. Annotated ed. Rockville: Phoenix Pick , 2009. Print. Smith, Andrew. Gothic Literature. Edinburgh: Edinburgh U Press, 2007. Print. Townshed, Dale. Terror & Wonder: The Gothic Imagination. N.p.: British Library Publishing, 2014. Print.
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