Wide reading: “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” by Edgar Allan Poe

“A garbled or exaggerated account made its way into society, and became the source of many unpleasant misrepresentations; and, very naturally, of a great deal of disbelief.”

The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe is a short story that follows a man with a friend named Ernest Valdemar. The narrator had been experimenting with an early form of hypnosis called mesmerism. Mesmerism is induced with magnetism. The narrator wishes to investigate what would happen if someone were to be mesmerised just before death. Valdemar had been told that he had developed tuberculosis and would die soon. The narrator wished to experiment on him and asks for Valdemar’s consent. Valdemar agrees and says he is to expected to die by midnight the following night. The narrator arrives the following night with two nurses and a medical student as witnesses. Valdemar insists again that the experiment was to be carried out quickly. Valdemar is soon mesmerised by the narrator just as two physicians arrive to act as extra witnesses.  A couple days pass and he was alive for a short while but is now recorded as clinically deceased. Valdemar has no pulse. His lips are cold, his skin pale with no visible signs of breathing. Finally the narrator attempts to awake Valdemar from his trance like state. In between trance and wakefulness Valdemar insists he be put back to sleep or woken up swiftly. The narrator brings him out of his trance only for valdemar’s body to rapidly decay into a liquid mass of rotten flesh.

This story completely lacks the presence of gothic protagonist and villain. What could be mistaken for a villain can be ruled out by the willingness of Valdemar to take part in the narrator’s experiment. Whether the narrator believed it was an ethical action is not evil nor good in nature. The jump between trance and wakefulness may have been cruel on Valdemar but again he did agree to the experiment wholeheartedly and in that case accepting the fate of either death or anything in between.

“ For what really occurred, however, it is quite impossible that any human being could have been prepared.” The supernatural element that can be recognised within the text is most definitely the impossibility of preventing decay of the human body beyond death. What is most supernatural about this occurrence is the suspension of the human conscience can prevent the body from decaying. It’s an impossibility as human cells decay because of the lack of better protein to the cells but in this case that the brain is possible of much more than we originally thought it to be capable of. The interesting reaction to Valdemar being taken out of the trance is another utterly supernatural happening. The instant the mind is disengaged from the body it rapidly decays as if his body was time preserved.

“I was thoroughly unnerved, and for an instant remained undecided what to do. At first I made an endeavor to re-compose the patient.” The lack of emotion displayed in the characters almost adds to the mood of the text as it’s such an ethically/morally questionable experiment to carry out and there’s little to no emotion displayed by the narrator as his friend decays in such a gruesome and graphic way. He is to baffled by what he has witnessed to display correct displays of emotion towards the loss of his friend in such a manner.

The Facts in the case of M.Valdemar is a compelling read that really questions some of our own morals and what it would be like to experience such a situation. I was deeply disturbed by the themes displayed in this read and can’t get the image created by the vivid words describing the decay of the body and the chaos of the situation.

Wide reading: Dracula by Bram Stoker (A graphic novel retold by Fiona MacDonald)

“Despite his fear, Jonathan is determined to explore. On a bright, moonlit night, he searches for a window from which he can see Dracula’s room. What he sees is unbelievable: Dracula, crawling headfirst down the wall like some loathsome lizard!” Dracula (the graphic novel) by Bram Stoker and retold by Fiona MacDonald is a tale set in the 1800’s following Jonathan Harker; an english lawyer and his mysterious client, Count Dracula. The tale explores many regions of religion, paranormal events and entities that help set the stage for it’s dark gothic setting.   

The story follows a young british lawyer named Jonathan Harker travelling to Transylvania, Romania to meet with a client wanting to purchase a house in Britain. Whilst travelling to Dracula’s castle, Jonathan notices dark themes in the scenery approaching the castle. Dead trees, ominous blue light supposedly from fire weaving through the trees to meet his gaze and the features of Dracula’s figure; a tall ‘man’ with shaded grey skin and red eyes. Jonathan, after meeting his quota of time spent in Dracula’s castle, is asked to stay for an extra month. To his surprise, Jonathan has been locked in his room in the evening. Dracula had warned Jonathan of roaming the castle at night. On the contrary, Jonathan did not with to stay in his room and wished to do what Dracula warned. As he prepared to escape through the window he saw Dracula crawling head first down the exterior castle wall. He was astounded at this feat of impossibility and wished to escape all at once. Jonathan escapes and returns to his friends and fiance in London. Once experiencing the supernatural, Jonathan is yet again confronted with the cursed Dracula who has travelled to england to feast on those who dwell there. The friends are forced to confront and hunt down Dracula as both a friend, Lucy and Mina, Jonathan’s wife have been bitten and are transforming into the violent undead. Lucy fully transforms and the friends are force to kill her. In order to save Mina from transforming into a vampire they must hunt down and kill Dracula.

The gothic elements expressed in this Graphic novel are usually displayed through description of the landscape and features of supernatural abnormalities. The story lacks context due to it’s graphic nature but makes up for by further adding to the description of situations or settings by giving a graphical depiction of it. For example “What he sees is unbelievable: Dracula, crawling headfirst down the wall like some huge, loathsome lizard.” This quote is fairly simple in terms of wording and is most likely a direct quote from the original text, therefore it is backed up by a depiction of dracula scaling the wall on the exterior of the castle. The impossibility of that occurrence is what solidifies the supernatural theme within the text.

The gothic protagonist is most likely Professor Abraham Van Helsing as is the lead in killing Dracula to save Mina and to lay Lucy to rest. There are many characters in this graphic novel and most of the characters take action in hunting down Dracula but Van Helsing is the man who initiated the hunt as he explained, “Dracula the vampire who attacked her is still free. Now he’s seeking victims in England. He must be caught and destroyed, somehow!.”

Dracula is most certainly the gothic villain within this text. He kills and transforms unwilling people into vampires under his control. The doings of Dracula makes it blatantly obvious he has no intentions of helping others or going back on his doings.

Religion and rituality is also explained in the text by using crucifixes to repeal all satanic entities such as the vampires. Holy Wafers are bread like wafers used to represent god’s body and are also irritable to vampires. All holy and religious items repeal the vampires and we can assume that the vampires are somewhat satanic in nature and may be devils spawn. The religious features provide a base to explore the supernatural entities and items that are deeply rooted within christianity.

This Graphic novel was honestly very weird to me. The text was dumbed down as if to appeal to a younger audience but then accompanied by graphic images that may not have been suitable for a younger audience. Definitely for people that don’t like reading or have a hard time visualising a scene in a book.  A text-book gothic story but served in a fresh modern way.

Wide reading: The wild rose by Nick Cave with Kylie Minogue

“When he knocked on my door and entered the room, my trembling subsided in his sure embrace, he would be my first man, and with a careful hand, he wiped the tears that ran down my face.” The Wild Rose by Nick cave featuring Kylie Minogue is love story following two’s young people and their story of falling in love and the murder of the women the man ‘loved’. The song explores all the elements of romance such as love and happiness that comes with attraction to someone but is only then mixed with dark and gruesome visualisation of murder of that loved one that could never remain pure and refreshing.

The story follows the man and how he met Elisa Day also referred to as the “Wild Rose”. The man describes her as a beautiful women and that it was love at first sight. Elisa then says that they slept with each other on the first day. The man knowing the greatness of her beauty also describes it was her first time laying with a man. Knowing that the first day could not be beaten and realising that their love would become stale and eventually they would fight he knew it wouldn’t work in the long term. On the second day he invited her to “where the wild roses grow” near the river. On the third day he set her down next to the river bed and knowing that she would never be as pure and savoured than on the first day he wished to preserve what was left of that purity by killing her. Elisa never suspected that the man was murderous only up until the last moment when he raised a rock above his head and struck her with it.

The combination of romance and horror truly make this song gothic themed. The clash of opposites only seems to make the story so much more tragic. The use of the up beat lyricism and romantic wording to describe each other at the beginning of the song add to the suspense that is hinted from the minor key the song is performed in. “From the first day I saw her I knew she was the one, she stared in my eyes and smiled, for her lips were the colour of the roses, that grew down the river, all bloody and wild”. This is a quote from the man describing Elisa. This is what we can call a turning point in the lyrics. He describes all the great things about her that was beautiful and caught his attention although it’s the way that he describes her lips that contradicts the seemingly nice thoughts he had about her. “Her lips were the colour of the roses, that grew down the river, all bloody and wild”. He describes her lips as being the colour of roses that grew wild. The roses are untamed. The colour of the roses weren’t simply that but the the colour of blood. Here we can see the two conflicting thought running through out the man’s mind. He loves her but he has death and darkness on his mind. The mind of a killer.

The way the song is performed sets the tone and mood of a gothic sound and deliverance. With Elisa explaining her thoughts throughout the days in an innocent manner and the man slowly altering his voice to become more edgy and raw, intending something violent. The switch between Elisa and the man verse by verse shows the build up of emotions of both romantic and murderous intention. The way the song is written is at a slow tempo and has a soft tone to it. Truly sets the tone and gives the listener a feel of sorrow not romance. Again this also an be seen as foreshadowing when analyzing the lyrics. The tone and the meaning can be seen as polar opposites at the beginning but towards the end become one in the same.

There are only two characters within this story so really you can only assign the villain and protagonist role to one or the other. It’s hard to assign them at first but after listening you know that it’s the man that’s the villain for murdering Elisa. Elisa is more of main character protagonist rather than a hero protagonist. She faces her fate as she was lied to rest on the edge of the river as the man she thought she loved killed her on the third day of their relationship.

Where the wild roses grow is definitely a departure from traditional songs where the narrative is loss or love for someone. It truly breaks what the normal storytelling side of songwriting is and evolves the possibilities of what can be commercially distributed through the music industry. Definitely not the song you want to blast at your 18th birthday party.

Wide reading: The black cat by Edgar Allan Poe

The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe is a short story told in a first person narrative. The story follows a man who has had a passion for animals from a young age. He and his wife owned many pets including birds, goldfish, a dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat named Pluto. The man had a loving relationship for many years until the man becomes an alcoholic. One night, after returning from the bar drunken, the man believes pluto to be avoiding him deliberately. The man attempts to seize the cat and is bitten in return. In a moment of drunken rage the man retrieves a pocket knife from his pocket and intentionally gouges one of pluto’s eyes out. Pluto follows suit after this incident and flee’s when his master approaches. The man firstly feels remorse and then irritation. In one final incident of drunken anger he hangs the cat in the garden one morning. That night his house mysteriously catches fire. He is forced to flee. In the morning he searches the ruins only to find one section of the wall still standing above where the head of his bed lay. On the wall, a white outline of a cat with a noose around its neck sat imprinted on it. The man is disturbed by the image but it soon turns into remorse for his actions. He hates himself for his actions and goes to the pub to drown his sorrows. After getting terribly drunk he finds a big black cat creeping around the pub. Being drunk and very guilty for having done what he did, he decided to adopt the cat and bring it home. This cat also had one eye missing but had a white patch under the breast. The man begins to fear and avoid the cat as he feels the burden of the murder of pluto. He seems to think that over a space of time,the patch of white becomes more like a depiction of the gallows. One day him and his wife went down to the cellar in their new house. He nearly trips and falls down the stairs because of the cat getting in the way. Fueled by alcohol, he is mad with rage and grabs an axe to kill the cat. His wife stopped him and focuses his rage now on the wife. He cleaves the wife’s skull with the axe. He goes about hiding the body in the cellar. He removes bricks from the wall and reseales the corpse in it. Police arrive at his house to investigate on the disappearance of his wife. The cat also disappeared. He slept that night even with the burden of murder on his mind. The police searched every inch of the house. Finally they search the cellar. Confident that he had gotten away with the murder he commented on the sturdiness of the building. As he taps the very spot that he concealed the body an inhuman screech filled the room. The police destroy the wall only to find the cat on top of the dead wives corpse.

The black cat is quite a mix of supernatural elements and real world elements. The real world problems such as depression and alcoholism root the story in our world but is conflicted with pinches of supernatural details such as the house mysteriously set a blaze the night the narrator hung pluto, the presence of the gallows and nooses appearing in the narrators gaze and the somewhat haunting presence of pluto and the similar cat over the narrator. “In speaking of his [the cat] intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise.” – The Narrator. The cat is used a way to introduce the supernatural themes into to the text. It is commonly known in folklore that the black cat is a sign of bad luck. In this story it is displayed as something a bit more than that. He quotes that his wife mentioned that black cats are witches in disguise and something more demonic than that of bad luck. This quote can foreshadow the events that could possibly happen within the story. We could predict that if you were to meddle with the wicked you were to punished.

I noticed that the narrator almost always has a strong emotional response to the cat, negative or positive. The relationship between the cat and the narrator was healthy up until the narrator became an alcoholic. The narrator then had strong emotional response to gouging pluto’s eye out after his drunken assault. He felt remorse then soon irritation after his incident. After then hanging pluto he becomes extremely guilty. Another example is when he hides his wives body and it was found. It was a horror of sorts and gut wrenching guilt of what he had accomplished. The strong emotional swings from the narrator help build the gothic genre within the text by expressing multiple conflicting emotions that are almost theatrical in nature.

Again this book is personally hard to read. It accomplished what it set out to do. It made me feel disgust and horror from the actions of the once loving pet owner. How could he do such a thing to the most important in his life. Both his wife and his cat, both beloved, both murdered. If your looking for a gruesome and graphic short story, The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe is the way to go!

Wide Reading: The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks is a novel that follows a 16 year old boy named Frank Cauldhame. Frank lives on an island off the coast of scotland with his father, Angus and his older brother, Eric. The family lives off the grid and don’t have any official record of existence. Angus is protective of Frank. He often insists that he cooks meals and such for Frank. Angus is secretive and keeps his study locked at all times. Frank routinely checks the door every time Angus is out. Frank assumes he his conducting experiments and such as Angus was a scientist before his retirement. Frank keeps secrets as well. He kills and mutilates animals often and uses them in strange and disturbing rituals. On the third floor of the house is a section of the loft which Frank calls the wasp factory. He built the Wasp factory with parts from an old town clock. Frank places a wasp inside a corridor that isn’t big enough for the wasp to fly in. The corridor is aligned the times on the clock and each one represents a different fate. The wasp crawls along the corridor wishing to find a way out. The wasp is killed by whatever trpa is set off. The wasp could killed by a spider, venus fly trap, eaten by wasps, burned etc. Frank then lets this dictate the same fate of someone he will kill. Between the age of 6 and 9, he had already killed three relatives. He kills a boy and a girl cousin and his little brother. Whatever the wasps fate was, is the way the person would be killed. With all this happening, Frank missed his brother, Eric, who had admitted to a mental institution in Scotland. Eric escapes at the beginning of the story and is not seen until the very end of the novel. Eric calls Frank multiple times throughout the story from pay phones. Eric was studying to become a medical student. He attended to a child with a birth defect where his skull was essentially missing. After pulling back the flap to child’s head he saw maggots eating the brain of the child which cause him to become insane. Frank at a young age had his genitals mauled by the family dog. Frank became angry to men who could procreate. Towards the end of the story Frank manages to sneak into the study and he finds genitals preserved in a jar and male hormones. Frank questions his father and he admits that Frank is a perfectly formed female and that he used the dog attack to rid his life of females forever. He insisted on making his meals just so he could add male hormones to Franks food to prevent menstrual cycles and stimulate beard growth. Frank had been taught to hate women by Angus. In the end Frank turned out to be a woman. The story ends with Frank finding Eric asleep on a hill near his home. Eric would awake to his little sister.  

“Sometimes I wish I had a cat. All I’ve ever had was a head, and that the seagulls took.” What makes this novel particularly gothic is the constant normalization of murder and death. Frank’s inner thoughts and actions are explained quite casually, as if his constant murdering of animals is a daily matter. Frank’s sacrifice poles are a good example of the representation of death. He performs a sort of ritual where he mounts heads and other random body parts of animals on poles. He uses this to scare off any unwanted visitors.

“My greatest enemies are Women and the Sea. These things I hate. Women because they are weak and stupid and live in the shadow of men and are nothing compared to them, and the Sea because it has always frustrated me, destroying what I have built, washing away what I have left, wiping clean the marks I have made.” The gothic protagonist and villain both are hard roles to assign at first. I believed the gothic villain was Frank at first. The constant murder and ideas expressed by his actions and thoughts really solidified my decision at first although as the twist came around at the end I assigned the role of gothic villain to Angus and the role of gothic antagonist to Frank. I believed that the dark personality of Frank put him in that role as the villian but after discovering that Angus had lied about who Frank was for all that time and what that did to Frank, really out shone Franks murder’s which could of been prevented if Angus had carried on with the existence of women in his life.

The wasp factory is a hard read and I struggled to make any sense of the themes used in it. The constant hinting at more secrets only to be left open at the end is quite frustrating and only adds on to the already unnerving and twisted themes embedded in the story. The wasp factory was said to be a ‘fraud’ by Frank although we never knew the true purpose of the wasp factory. Why would Angus want all females out of his life? Why does Angus insist on remaining out of any legal records? I will leave that to ponder.

Wide Reading: The strange case of Dr jekyl and Mr hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

“The most racking pangs succeeded: a grinding in the bones, deadly nausea, and a horror of the spirit that cannot be exceeded at the hour of birth or death. Then these agonies began swiftly to subside, and I came to myself as if out of a great sickness.” The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr hyde is a riveting novel narrated by a lawyer named Mr Utterson and his case following his close friend Dr Jekyll. It’s an interesting story following the split of our psychique and the good and evil that can both live together with in. It explores the feelings and emotions that can have complete different personas when conveying them. Hints of scientific impossibility mixed with an interesting combination of mental traits. The split of bipolar personalities into two seperate personas with in one body.

The Story begins with Mr Hyde running over a child at Midnight in downtown London. Later the family of the child receive a check from Dr jekyll. Recently after that incident Dr jekyll changes his will. Mr Utterson believes that Dr Jekyll is being blackmailed by Mr Hyde to include him in his will. Mr Utterson still thinking that Jekyll and Hyde are two different people asks Jekyll if this is true and is asked to mind his own business. A year later Mr Hyde is involved in incident where he bashed a man with his cane resulting in the man’s death. Mr Utterson is asked in on the case and tells the police he knows where this man lives. He escorts the police to Mr Hyde’s apartment and upon entering, find the cane used to murder the man covered in the blood. Mr Utterson finds that the cane was gifted to Dr Jekyll by himself. Utterson then questions Jekyll once again to find out if he is hiding Hyde. He says that he isn’t. Mr Hyde is not found or seen for months. Jekyll then hands Utterson a letter from Hyde saying that he his gone into hiding. Utterson gets the handwriting of the letter and checked by a clerk and finds that jekyll had forged the letter. Two months later Jekyll had seemed to return to normal but then shuts Utterson out. Utterson visits Dr Lanyon, a friend of Jekyll’s, and finds that he is sick from shock. He dies weeks later. Utterson writes to Jekyll to ask what happened and Jekyll replies that he and Lanyon were no longer friends. Some time later Jekyll and Pool, Dr Jekyll’s servant, met and Pool had said that he had heard a different voice in his masters laboratory. They break down the door to find Mr Hyde dead. He had poisoned himself and left an updated version of his will that gave his belongings to Utterson as well as Dr Jekyll’s confession. The confession stated that Jekyll had found a way to split his two conflicting persona’s. He was able to do ;this by mixing drugs and chemicals and when consumed he was able to transform his body into his evil persona, Mr Hyde. He described the joy he felt as Hyde and the gut wrenching guilt that accompanied Jekyll.

The common theme explored is the two sides of the human conscience that jekyll interprets as good and evil. Bipolar disorder is a real world diagnosis also known as manic depression that shares the same characteristics as that of Jekyll and Hyde’s situation. Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects the mood, energy levels, personality and the ability to carry out day to day tasks. The condition isn’t usually described as being a change in one’s personality but more in the behaviour and traits of the individual change dramatically making seem like an alter ego. There is a sense of reality in this novel by considering that the split of personalities of Jekyll, may be related to a real world psychiatric condition. Apart from that, the book is purely fictional based because of the supernatural themes that are described through the physical split between Jekyll and Hyde. Jekyll drinks a concoction of drugs that can only be described as a potion. This ‘potion’ helps split the traits of both personalities and reflect that on their physical embodiments. “It came about that Edward Hyde was so much smaller, slighter, and younger than Henry Jekyll. Even as good shone upon the countenance of the one, evil was written broadly and plainly on the face of the other.” – Dr jekyll. Jekyll had endured something completely impossible with science and had achieved a supernatural accomplishment. He given his evil characteristics a body with in his own. The quote describes the physique of Mr Hyde. He was short and had a different face to that of Jekyll. A supernatural occurrence to solidify a supernatural theme.

Another interesting theme that wasn’t very clear is the assignment of the gothic protagonist and gothic villain. The gothic villain is most definitely Mr Hyde after all the murder he committed although Mr Hyde is a part of Dr Jekyll’s conscience and Jekyll was aware whilst in the form of Hyde. You could argue that Jekyll could be the villain and assume that Hyde and Jekyll are one character. You could argue that Dr Jekyll is the antagonist towards the end of the story. He wants Hyde gone. Towards the end he realises the wrong of Hyde’s actions and wishes to rid himself of him. He is unable and poisons himself to save himself and anyone else from Hyde. Although the narrator, Mr Utterson is the character confronting Hyde and Jekyll and investigating the circumstances if his dilemma. The alter ego’s and change in the characters thoughts is what keeps us from deciding who plays the traditional roles in a gothic story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this text. The narrative was short and punchy and really is a staple in the gothic novel genre. The story can be seen used many different stories in modern entertainment and I can truly say inspired many tales that have encapsulated the minds of many. The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a great book and I recommend it to anyone looking into the gothic genre of novels.

The enlightenment task – Liam Beaton

The philosophers of the 18th century, the spark that burned to become a fire. Idea’s spawned from the minds of those who think differently will go on to create highly used topics in modern society.  The dawn of the enlightenment period was the dawn of science. How this came to be, is a story that involves many important people.  We are going to focus on one of those philosophers and how their work, philosophies and beliefs, relate to Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein” and what her intentions are with creating such an ambitious story.

A man by the name of David Hume. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, May 7th, 1711. His study involved looking into how humans prefer reason over emotion when determining outcomes either being general, political or scientific. His idea was that when dealing with any matter, we need to use passion and emotion rather than logic or reason. With that he stated we are more motivated by emotion rather than hate, logic or reason. Hume stated that “We assume that we’re meant to train our mind to use logic over reason; to be devoted to evidence and logical reason and committed to to preventing our feelings getting in the way”.  Further more, Hume stated “reason is the slave of passion”.  How this relates to the book “Frankenstein” By Mary Shelley is in the character of Victor Frankenstein, a man trying in vein to nullify the effects of death on the human body. His motivation was born out of anger and pain because of the loss of his mother that fell ill to scarlet fever.  He wanted the human race to transcend death. No loss, no pain. He was to create a perfect being, but with doing so meant great repercussions.  Driven by hate and anger, he used his reason and logic to attempt to break the boundary between life and death. Mary’s intentions with Victor in this case is that he turns to his overwhelming knowledge and reasoning instead of letting his emotions take over, to let himself let go of his pain of his mothers passing. With that he breaks even more emotional bonds such as his friends and family when tirelessly working on the ‘perfect being’ which requires his knowledge and rationality to succed.

Hume’s view on point religion was that no living being should try and play god, theoretically or religiously. By that he meant, never try and push against the will of nature it’s self. Hume wasn’t religious entirely. He swayed between  agnosticism ( There be a god, I’m not sure) and mild theism ( There is a god, but that doesn’t make much of a difference to me.  He believed wholly that there wasn’t any compelling evidence that suggested there was a deity and it wasn’t rational to believe in such a thing.  What his philosophy has to do with “Frankenstein” is the underlying topic of playing god and how Victor Frankenstein is essentially playing god by creating the ‘monster’. Hume’s main statement was that religion isn’t the product of reason and we shouldn’t treat those who disagree with our religion as rational people that have made an error of reasoning and need to be corrected, but rather as passionate emotion-driven creatures that should be left to their own devices so long as they do the same for you.  The time period that Victor Frankenstein lived in based most concepts and decisions whether that be how the universe came to be or how to treat someone.  Victor created the ‘monster’ in attempt to create a human that was stronger and would live forever, to essentially make humanity immortal.  Human’s was not made to live forever. It’s how our cells start to break down at a certain point. It’s what nature or ‘God’ had intended. To prevent the body from decaying was ‘playing God’. To against what the human body is capable of and altering it could have repercussions.  Victor wasn’t religious and was willing to break morals for the sake of the human’s race salvation out of hate and anger for the loss of his mother.  Victor’s actions seemed to be out of passion and anger for the loss of his mother as he thought he could of prevented it. So he then vowed he would transcend the human the race to that of a level above death.  His science also based mainly on theoretical experiments, he invested a lot of faith into his work. Shelley’s overall message in terms of religion is that going against the grain and ‘playing God’ will always have repercussions.

Although Hume had many idea’s he delved into, he took a great interest in the philosophical topic of ethics.  A conundrum of how humans can be good. He argued that morality,  the main principles that concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour, isn’t actually about having moral ideas.  He insisted that it’s about being trained from a young age in the art of decency expressed through emotion. Being good, is getting into good habits of feeling. Hume was a great advocate of having qualities such as wit, good manners and sympathy.  Those are the qualities that make people pleasent to be around, outside of any rational plan to be good. It suprised him how someone can be ostensibly rational yet not that nice or likeable.  Being able to understand a complex conversation or argument or deduce tredns from data won’t make you sensitive to suffering of others or skilled at heeping your temper.  Hume believed these qualities are the work of our feelings. This all relates to Mary Shelley’s intentions within frankenstein is the use of how victor interacts with his friends and family whilst working on the monster.  He isolates himself from society in his laboratory/basement do focus all his energy into creating the monster, however when someone comes and tries to convince him that he should go outside he replies in rage or hatred towards the person as he is frustrated that he could be using his time to work on the monster. His rationality suggests he should create the monster to make humanity better, where as he ignores his emotions and breaks his emotional bonds with his loved ones which his orginal intentions was to keep the bonds forever though immortaltiy.  Through Hume’s work, Shelley is implying through Victor Frankenstein breaking morals concerning the creation physically and theoretically of the monster.

To conclude, the philsophical work of David Hume has a large part to play in describing actions of Victor Frankenstein and Mary Shelley’s intentions with the novel named “Frankenstein”. We have explored some of Hume’s work in the topics under the roof of emotion and rationality. We have explained how Hume’s belief that the using emotion rather than logic or reason greatly benefits decision making and how Victor’s desire to create the monster was born out of hate and anger and fueled then by logic and reason. Then we delved into Hume’s outlook on religion and how Victor was essentially playing god and the repercussions involved. Then finally we looked at Ethics and how victor broke ethics and morals and in turn implemented his knowledge and ignored emotion. All over, Mary Shelley’s intentions are clear. Her goal was to address topics otherwise not talked about.  The topics Hume addressed were all very prominent in the text of “Frankenstein”.








Character: Significant connections

What do you perceive reality to be? We assume this reality is our own, but is it really our own. My topic will be based on the concept of illusion in 4 text’s that I have selected. My statement that I will being exploring is characters and how they perceive their reality to be their own one. My text’s are the following, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, The Matrix by The Wachowskis, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch and Skullduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. I will connect each specific character by the theme of illusion and their perception of reality.

Body 1:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a novel surrounding the life of Wade Watts, a enthusiastic player in the massive multiplayer online virtual reality called the Oasis. He prefers the online reality instead of facing his real reality because he perceives it as a mess. He can express himself because he doesn’t have to worry about any sort of physical hurt or pain that could be inflicted on himself. He doesn’t have to worry about his self appearance as his virtual avatar isn’t a exact depiction of his physical self.

Sub paragraph 1:
“These seem like minor changes to Wade, and maybe they are in a world full of Vulcans and cat people, but it still shows how the OASIS is a world where you can create your own appearance how you want it. Who needs Botox when you never leave your house?”. This quote outlines Wade’s values and his personal view on the topic of illusion by using the aspect of appearance. He self conscious about his looks and the oasis supports his emotional feeling there for he would naturally love the oasis as his insecurity is non-existent. He prefers a fake reality because his feelings.

Body 2:
The Matrix is a film directed by the wachowskis about the ‘life’ of Neo. A computer hacker in the matrix that spontaneously is called to reality by the mysterious leader, morpheus. He struggles to cope with his reality and he finds that he needs to adjust to live in the real world. At the beginning of the film he prefers the matrix over the real world which couldn’t make sense of. That’s why he prefers the matrix at that point. He can’t make sense of the real world so he sticks to what he knows and he’s used for so long.

Sub paragraph:
“I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not.”
The quote coming from Mr Smith explains how he perceives the human race to be. Neo then is provoked by this and begins to accept his reality. Neo is much like Wade in a way that they both prefer something perfect for them so they don’t have to deal with something they don’t believe or don’t want to do. Both have desire to find a meaning and a purpose.

Body 3:
Dark matter by Blake Grouch is a story of a family man named Jason Dessen who is thrown into a mind bending world of alternate realities where his family isn’t his because his alternate self chose to continue his life work instead of settling down to have a family. Jason’s past haunts him when he is swapped with his alternate family that craved a family which he never got. Jason has accepted that he won’t be able to return to his reality for a large duration of the story.

Sub paragraph:
“He says, “Every moment, every breath, contains a choice. But life is imperfect. We make the wrong choices. So we end up living in a state of perpetual regret, and is there anything worse? I built something that could actually eradicate regret. Let you find worlds where you made the right choice.” Daniela says, “Life doesn’t work that way. You live with your choices and learn. You don’t cheat the system.” This quote explains how that any reality is unfair. Any way we try to escape our feelings it will always remain. Jason relates to both Neo and Wade because they try to escape their emotions and problems by faking their reality.

Body 4:
Skulduggery Pleasant is a novel by Derek Landy follows the story of Stephanie Edgley and Skulduggery Pleasant who lives in a world full of magic and darkness. Stephanie comes to terms that her world isn’t as she thought it was. It is larger and more stranger than she originally thought. She comes to terms that she is not a normal human being but a magical being with supernatural power. She lived in a world where life is easier and she prefers that reality.

Sub paragraph 4:
“The world is bigger than you know, and scarier than you might imagine. The only currency worth anything is being true to yourself, and the only goal worth seeking is finding out who you truly are.”
This quote refers to Stephanie and how she perceived her reality before being introduced the one from her own. Her perception of her reality had been widened. The reality that you are going to be exposed to may be scary or weird. If you know you’re self you van tackle any sort of problem. If stephanie finds her courage just like Wade, Jason and Neo you can own you’re reality, emotions and fears.

In conclusion, all of my texts characters were afraid of there own reality. They prefer a false one to hide there emotions and fears. They trust the fake reality more as it is ideal to them. It doesn’t hurt them in any way. But by facing their emotions and fears, Wade, Jason, Neo and Stephanie can all conquer their real realities and then utilize that to become better people.

Character: Significant connections

Statement: “People prefer false realities”

Text 1: Ready player one (Novel): Wade Watts
He lives in a world where he prefers a virtual reality instead of the true reality.

Q1.These seem like minor changes to Wade, and maybe they are in a world full of Vulcans and cat people, but it still shows how the OASIS is a world where you can create your own appearance how you want it. Who needs Botox when you never leave your house?
Q2.Even though Wade doesn’t have any real-life friends, or ever go outside, he’s still self-conscious about his appearance. Maybe at this point he’s subconsciously preparing himself for a shift to the real world, when he’ll have less control over his physical appearance. And hey, he’s gotta look good for Samantha.

Text 2: The matrix (film): Neo
Neo believes that he lives in a virtual reality that isn’t truly real.

Q1:I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.
Q2: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Text 3: Dark Matter (novel): Jason Dessen
Jason wakes up in an alternate reality that he can’t distinguish from his own except for the fact that his family isn’t his own.

Q1:“We’re more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.”
Q2:“He says, “Every moment, every breath, contains a choice. But life is imperfect. We make the wrong choices. So we end up living in a state of perpetual regret, and is there anything worse? I built something that could actually eradicate regret. Let you find worlds where you made the right choice.” Daniela says, “Life doesn’t work that way. You live with your choices and learn. You don’t cheat the system.”

Text 4: Skullduggery pleasant: Stephanie Edgley/Valkyrie Cain
Stephanie thinks the human world is the only reality because her perception of reality is scarce.

Q1:“The world is bigger than you know, and scarier than you might imagine. The only currency worth anything is being true to yourself, and the only goal worth seeking is finding out who you truly are.”
Q2:“I cannot have chaos erupting around me until I am prepared for it. I am a collector. I am an observer. I don’t participate. My resources, and my standing, must be secure before I can allow the uncertainty of war to crash down upon us.”

The great Gatsby analysis: language features

“1This is a valley of ashes a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; 2 where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, 3 finally, a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air”

1: “This is the valley of ashes a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens” is described as a place of despair and dirtiness. “Fantastic farm,” points towards the valley of ashes being a place where despair and loss is abundant. “Ridges and hills”, describes the scenery. It’s as if the valley could of been something of beauty but it had crashed and burned somewhere in the past or overlooked and taken for granted.

2: “where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke” This means that the loss and despair is displayed as the people who live in the valley of ashes. The soke and the chimneys display the work that people who live in the valley put. The work they put in does not help or become something that will help them escape the valley. Their houses are described as made of ashes. This may represent that the houses they live in or the lives they have made were made from mostly nothing. They started with nothing and they finish with nothing. This points to the social classes that are portrayed with in the story. They are poor and their ancestors were poor and the future generations will continue to be poor as long as they break away from the valley.

3: “finally, a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men” this portrays the men who inhabit the valley to be worn down by the lives they live out in the valley. They have been physically affected by the nature of the the valley. They have been described as ash-grey, meaning that they themselves had made their lives the way they needed too. They worked to make them who they are but can not do any better in the social classing system. “who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air” This means that the social classes break them mentally and physically down back into the powdery ash they started as. All they have become an done for themselves had been for nothing. This describes the how the social class keeps lower class men under control by giving them nothing they won’t have enough resources to escape the reality they have been given.

“1 I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West — 2 all dead now I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford, because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition.”

1: “I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West” Gatsby tells a partial lie. He did have a family in the middle west, but they were poor and he wished for a better life so he left and came across a man that raised him as his own. Gatsby was wishing to inherit this man’s large sum of money, but it was given to someone else. Gatsby then left and made a life for himself in New York.

2: “ all dead now I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford, because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition.” Gatsby did not believe that his parents were suit to be his own. He considered them dead as he took on his new persona and did not regret making a life for himself else where. He did go to oxford, but only for six months or so due to his new found dad. He does not completely lie, but he bends the truth to his advantage.