Frankenstein Final Assessment - Ryan Connell
"No man's knowledge here can go beyond his experience." - John Locke
"Knowledge is power only if man knows what facts not to bother with." - Robert Staughton Lynd
This quote discusses knowledge because Victor Frankenstein is talking about how he wants to learn about all the "secrets of the world." He excels at his craft because he is so determined to gain new knowledge about the world around him. You can't gain knowledge if you are not strong-willed and ambitious like Victor is throughout the whole book of Frankenstein.
This quote describes the Creature's first interaction with fire. He stumbled upon one that was left burning and decided to touch it because it warmed him in the cold weather. As we all know, fire burns when you get too close and that is exactly what happened to the Creature. He learns not to touch fire again and in this he learns to gain knowledge from his experiences with the things he encounters during his life.
"Through this work I obtained a cursory knowledge of history, and a view of the several empires at present existing in the world it gave me an insight into the manners, governments, and religions of the different nations of the earth. I heard of the slothful Asiatics; of the stupendous genius and mental activity of the Grecians; of the wars and wonderful virtue of the early Romans -- of their subsequent degenerating -- of the decline of that mighty empire; of chivalry, Christianity, and kings. I heard of the discovery of the American hemisphere, and wept with Safie over the hapless fate of its original inhabitants.
These wonderful narrations inspired me with strange feelings. Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so vicious and base?" (Shelley 100)
This excerpt by the Creature discusses how Safie and the Creature both were learning a new language through listening to someone read from a book on politics and world events. Both Safie and the Creature were able to gain a better understanding of the culture of the human population through the book. Through just observing the spoken language, the Creature was able to learn the language well enough to speak it fluently as well as read it. This quote just shows how important it is to observe when trying to gain knowledge and it can come to you easily.
The Creature directly is talking about knowledge in this excerpt from Frankenstein. He says how knowledge can be gained extremely quick and will stick with you as long as you try to learn. He explains that he learned about the sensation of pain and even death despite the fact that he was still learning their communication styles. The Creature also learns about how the family members interact with kindness and gentleness towards one another which just makes him want to be among them even more. In this part of the book, it is best summarized by saying that knowledge and learning is the key to understanding one another and living in harmony which the Creature also wanted. Yet again it just serves to show that knowledge can be gained from both hands on interaction as well as observation from afar.
An important part of having knowledge is knowing how to use it to your benefit. Victor Frankenstein wants Robert Walton, an adventurous captain with plans for reaching the North Pole, to be able to learn from the mistakes of Victor's past. He doesn't want Walton to strive to be famous for reaching the North Pole so much that it will mean that it will end in tragedy like Victor's life did. This quote discusses how important the line of 'just because you can, doesn't mean you should' really is when coming to terms with the drive for acquiring new knowledge.
Has the Quest for Knowledge Gone Too Far?
How it connects: Genetically Modified Organisms
"Frankenstein - Dangerous Knowledge." YouTube. YouTube, 23 July 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMonl57pNYc>.
Gallagher, James. "'Designer Babies' Debate Should Start, Scientists Say - BBC News." BBC News. N.p., 19 Jan. 2015. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30742774>.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus. New York, NY. Signet, 2000. Print.
This quote talks about the scene when the family, which the Creature has been observing, try to communicate with Safie, an Arabian who does not understand the language of the family. The Creature observes the interactions and tries to understand what they are talking about and the actions they are doing. Through this process he learns how to better communicate the spoken language as well as facial expressions. In order to gain knowledge, you must learn how to analyze all types of language and apply that to know how to react in the future.