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Final - Essay Example

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Your Name Name of of Professor Frankenstein and I am Legend: A Psychoanalytical Reading of the Novels Frankenstein as a work of fiction is important for many reasons. The novel has been interpreted in many ways and many schools of interpretation have dissected it according to their respective ideologies…
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A psychoanalytic reading of the novel would result in an uncovering of many of its aspects that may have remained concealed earlier. A psychoanalytic reading makes the conflicted relations between the author and her patriarchal surroundings evident. I am Legend too makes the innermost desires of the civilization that the protagonist Dr Robert Neville is a part of. The idea of the monster is very important and the monster has often been seen as a symbol of the repressed self of the author surfacing. The need to break out of a patriarchal mould is something that Mary Shelley felt throughout her life. Even within the radical group of people that she lived in (Percy Shelley, William Godwin, and Lord Byron, to name a few), the idea of gender equality was not as prevalent as she would have liked it to be. Apart from this, the death of her mother Mary Wollstonecraft during childbirth was always laid at her door by her autocratic father, Godwin. All of this may have combined in creating a great amount of repressed anger within Mary Shelley (henceforth referred to as Shelley) that found expression in the monster of the scientist Victor Frankenstein. These were beliefs that were not permitted in the society that Shelley was a part of and hence she may have had to drive them underground. According to Johanna M. Smith, “much of what lies in the unconscious mind has been put there by consciousness, which acts as a censor, driving underground unconscious or conscious thoughts or instincts that it deems unacceptable (263-264)”. The outrage that the novel created upon its arrival is also something that points towards its origin in the unconscious of the human mind. In the final pages of the novel, the monster exclaims, I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on (Shelley). In these lines can be seen the unconscious of the author, someone who was unwanted from her birth and was spurned by her father. The author’s angst at such irresponsible creation can be seen in lines such as these. These ideas were once held by Sigmund Freud and were later on challenged by many. One amongst these many voices of dissent was that of Carl Gustav Jung, who was a friend and colleague of Freud. He argued that repression operates not only at the level of the individual but also at that of the collective. He held that “a great work of literature is not a disguised expression of its author’s personal, repressed wishes; rather, it is a manifestation of desires once held by the whole human race but now repressed because of the advent of civilization (Smith 266)”. If one is to take this point of view, one may also think that Frankenstein represents the fear of revolution in an entire generation of the English. The revolution in France had created a fear of the revolution in many sections of the English public. In forms of the media that were prevalent then, the revolution was often caricatured as a monster that could not be tamed. The revolution in France had created an atmosphere in England that was tense as the upper classes constantly felt the fear of the lower classes. The monster in Frankenstein can then be seen to be a representation of this fear that the English felt. It is the supposedly civilizational fear that was felt by the aristocracy of England. I am Legend too talks of this very civilizational f ... Read More
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