Frankenstein’s Proposal

Frankenstein’s Proposal

Through analyzing Robinson Crusoe, I concluded that money can’t buy happiness – relationships build happiness.  Here I will argue the same conclusion for Frankenstein.

“I am malicious because I am miserable.  Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind?” Said Frankenstein’s creature when proposing that Victor creates another monster, “of the same species and having the same effects” (194) as himself.  The creature is hated by everyone he encounters, and is not given the chance to speak before they physically abuse him due to his horrendous deformities.  

Frankenstein wants the ability to share emotions with others, have conversations with others, and express his appreciation and generosity to others; in sum, he desires relationships.  He classifies himself as the most wretched outcast (172) to ever walk because of his never-ending loneliness. Frankenstein feels sure that if Victor created a woman of his kind, he would finally feel joy and happiness in life.  

After considering and commencing this operation, Victor decides to destroy the body of the companion out of fear that the two creatures will reproduce and cause harm to all mankind.

It is worth noting that Frankenstein could have asked for many other favors rather than for the creation of a friend.  He could have asked Victor to operate on him in a plastic-surgery type mannor to minimize his deformities and make him appear more human and less monster-like. He could have asked Victor to supply him with money and riches so that he could create his own home far away from other civilizations.  He could have asked Victor to introduce him to his family and welcome him into his home. Instead of these various options, Frankenstein solely wants a companion. Why? Because as monstrous as he may be, he is human enough to acknowledge that relationships create happiness.  

Frankenstein studied a family while he was on his own after being brought to life and abandoned by Victor.  He watched their expressions, attitudes, and interactions as closely as possible for months. Frankenstein watched them laugh, cry, converse, hug, play instruments and sing.  He studied their relationships with one another and how they loved one another, and soon he himself fell in love with the family.

His learning is what led to his realization that people bring people happiness, as easily as people can bring others sadness and misery.  Victor created Frankenstein and left him to be miserably alone; now Frankenstein wants him to abolish his loneliness and despair by creating another being for him to have a relationship with.  Through a relationship, the creature feels as though he can find happiness.  

Relationships build happiness because they bring purpose to one’s daily life.  Castaway is a film adaptation of Robinson Crusoe where a UPS delivery man’s plane crashes and he is deserted on an island.  In the peak of his loneliness, the delivery man creates a human-like doll out of a volleyball and names it Wilson. He does this to maintain his sanity, improvise with human conversation, and to feel a sense of comfort in company.  In his time of utmost unfortunate luck, all the man wants is company. He wants relationships.

Through Frankenstein and Robinson Crusoe with their various adaptations, one message remains constant; relationships create happiness.  

Shadows, or Lovers?

Shadows, or Lovers?

Everyone has a shadow.  In art, a shadow typically symbolizes the dark side of human nature.  In dreams, a shadow can symbolize a sign of luck or gain. In Foe, does a shadow symbolize Friday?

“‘Do you love me, Friday?  I called softly. Friday did not so much as raise his head.  ‘We have lived too close for love, Mr Foe. Friday has grown to be my shadow.  Do our shadows love us, for all they are never parted from us?’”

From the day Susan Barton was cast away on Crusoe’s island to the day she escaped, she has been alongside Friday.  After escaping, the two took residence in Foe’s home and lived in silence as Friday is mute. Friday cannot speak because he has no tongue, no language, no words.  A shadow cannot speak because it has no tongue, no pulse, no breath.

Merriam Webster defines a shadow as a “partial darkness or obscurity within a part of space from which rays from a source of light are cut off by an interposed opaque body.”  Every person on earth can be classified as an “interposed opaque body,” therefore, does Friday stand out as a unique individual that can be classified as a “partial darkness or obscurity within a part of space?”  Absolutely.

Friday is an enigma, never to be understood because he has no method of explaining.  He occupies the space he is given, or more specifically, the space he is forced into.  When Susan Barton was first castaway on the island, she encountered Friday before she met Crusoe.  She recalls that a “dark figure fell upon me, not of a cloud but of a man” and that “he was black: A Negro . . . the skin not black but a dark grey, dry as if coated with dust.”  Friday is a dark figure that Susan cannot understand, he is a partial obscure darkness within a part of space.

A shadow cannot love, like Friday does not love Susan.  Susan feels as though she is the Sinbad of Persia and Friday is the tyrant riding on her shoulders.  She cannot free herself from Friday any easier than a person can free themselves from their shadow. “Friday is no more in subjection than my shadow is for following me around.  He is not free, but he is not in subjection.” Susan does not force her shadow to accompany her and cling to her body, as she does not force Friday to follow her and rely on her words.  

Had Friday been given a voice, had he kept his ability of self-expression, he would not be a shadow.  His fate would not rely on Susan’s words, it would be created by his own. A shadow does not love the person it follows because it has no other life to live, no other purpose to complete but to follow who its attached to.  Friday was at first his own being, then shadow of his slave master, shadow of Crusoe, shadow of Susan, and now forever the shadow of the written word.

Can Money Buy Happiness?

–Georgia Davis Blog Post 1–

Can money buy happiness?  

Various Princeton University researchers think so, and they know how much it takes: $75,000 a year.  Robinson Crusoe might disagree, though — and I’m with him.

Robinson was on track to live the comfortable middle-class life that had been arranged for him, but following his ignorance, went out to sea despite his father’s many wishes for him to stay.  He parted ways from his family alongside his companions, who prompted him with the “common allurement of seafaring men, costing him nothing for his passage.”

Fast forwarding through various misfortunes and misery during his voyages at sea, he ultimately landed in the Bay de Todos los Santos, Brazil.  Here, he made quarters with a man who owned an ingenio, or a plantation and sugar-house. After living there for some years, he started to assimilate, learning their language as well as how to manage his own sugar plantation.  It was then that he realized he was “coming into the very middle station, or upper degree of lower life,” which his father had arranged for him in England. He ultimately achieved what he sought to escape.

Robinson had but every reason to remain in Brazil where he was making a living for himself, which he could have used to return to England if he so pleased.  However, he felt as though he was “born to be his own destroyer,” and, seeking freedom and adventure, agreed to venture to Africa among the proposal of retrieving slaves to assist in his plantation as well as those of his neighbors.  

Venturing out to sea again, he ultimately threw away his new-found and self-made middle-class life.  He soon found himself stranded on an island with nothing but a dog, a cat, and the remains of his ship.  

For the next 28 years, two months and 19 days he inhabited this island.  Indeed he was overwhelmingly sad and lonely for the first handful of years.  He often thought about his escape, and once attempted to craft his way home via canoe.  After creating not one but two furnished homes for himself on this island, acquiring “servants” after saving slaves from cannibals, taming goats and rapidly reproducing cats, and there being of no shortage of food, he realized he ultimately ruled this land as King.  Robinson was content.

But, back to money and happiness. Yes, Robinson initially went to sea both to adventure and take part in trade to make some profits.  However, his search for money is what led to his ultimate misery which he did not escape until happily ruling his island and finding peace.  Many argue that money can buy happiness, because it can buy experiences – but obviously not all experiences are worth buying. Some of the worst and best experiences of our lives are available for the taking, but not available for purchase.  Money had no relevance to living on the island at all, and while he had a great fortune from his Brazil plantation upon his deliverance from being stranded, he gave much of this away to those who helped him throughout his hardships. Robinson even ventured back to his Island after escaping on eagerness to continue his traveling lifestyle.

Money never helped him through his hardships, people did.  Perhaps Robinson’s happiness was brought to him through his own self reliance along with the relationships he formed during his adventures.  Not only his outside relationships, but his relationship with himself ultimately saved him.

To conclude my argument; money can’t buy happiness, relationships build happiness.