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Beyond Free Will in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Beyond Free Will in Shelly’s Frankenstein

One of the greatest gifts God has given to man is free will. Free will is the ability to choose our own life’s path, to make decisions, and to suffer our own consequences. God has intended free will to allow us to live our own life by the rules we choose. However, does free will reach a certain point as which to not crossover? Man has always envied God, and has always tried to become god-like. Does this ambition compromise our free will? In Mary Shelly’s classic novel Frankenstein, Viktor Frankenstein’s tries to bring the dead back to life, and he is successful in animating a creation of his own. The consequences of his ambition compromised his free will and destroyed his life. Viktor Frankenstein reached the point of free will which man is not intended to cross over. Viktor Frankenstein is a fool for trying to play God.

Free will was a gift granted to man right from the start of history. In the story of Genesis, free will granted by God allowed Adam and Eve to eat from any tree in the garden, including the tree of knowledge. However, God did set a rule. “The Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”1 Now, in this story, man is tricked by the serpent, representing the devil, and eats from the tree of knowledge. He does not die in a sense, but is cast out of paradise and is forced to work off the land for the remainder of his now mortal life. In a letter from Paul to the Galatians, Paul writes, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature.”2 In thes…

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…”9 Giving life is God’s job, and any man who tries to become god-like in this sense will surely suffer the consequences of his actions according to Mary Shelly. I completely agree, and I will conclude with a retrospective quote from Viktor Frankenstein. “Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.”10

1. Genesis 2: 16-17 (NIV)

2. Galatians 5: 13a (NIV)

3. Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein, Norton Critical Edition, p. 30

4. Shelly, p. 32

5. Shelly, p. 49

6. Shelly, p. 115

7. Shelly, p. 116

8. Shelly, p. 137

9. Luke 7: 14-15 (NIV)

10. Shelly, p. 31

Works Cited:

Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein. Quality Paperback Book Club, New York. 1994.

In Our Time and the Lost Generation

In Our Time and the Lost Generation

Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time is a true representation of his “lost generation” for the simple reason that all generations are eventually lost as time goes by. Hemingway focuses on a generation he knows about, his own. It becomes apparent throughout the novel that Hemingway is deconstructing the world without overly using vast amounts of description. All of the “messages” bring the reader to an understanding of a generation, the “lost generation” that appears to result from Hemingway’s novel.

Ernest Hemingway uses intense short stories to leave a feeling of awe and wonder in the reader of In Our Time. One begins to become emotionally involved and attached to Hemingway’s many stories, just as he himself appears to hold some personal attachment and emotion to each story. Our main character Nick, is in fact, Hemingway himself. It seems as though no matter what age this novel is read at, it could be discussed as a representation of the “lost generation.” What is meant by the phrase “lost generation?”ÝÝ It is this ability to be relevant across generations that is exemplified by deconstructionism

Possibly it means the loss of a kindlier, friendlier, period of time. Maybe it means a loss of familiarity, closeness and strength of relationships; everyday things like the lost art of conversation. But at the same time, the characters in the stories appear to be part of a “lost generation” themselves. In “The Three- Day Blow,” Nick and Bill spend a leisurely afternoon talking about baseball and books while enjoying a good “ole'” bottle of Irish whiskey. They manage to pass the time talking rather than watching “television” or going to the “mall,” things that are all too common today.


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…way of doing things, and lost lives. But are generations ever truly “lost?” When we think of past generations do we tend to cloud our minds by thinking the past generation was better(or maybe worse) than present or future generations? Do we lose sight of things or do we just do things not necessarily worse, but different and more enhanced than the we did things in the past. Everyone has their time in the sun, their fifteen minutes of fame, and their fondest memories. No one can take away, alter, or make those memories seem insignificant but the person themselves. Who is to say that because things change and are different that one cannot continue “living.” Enjoy your time in your own generation but have no fear in making or participating in a new generation. Life is short, so why not just enjoy living?

Works Cited:

Hemingway, Ernest.In Our Time. Scribner,1925.

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