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Appropriations of Frankenstein

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Preliminary English Extension MRP Appropriations of Frankenstein Film: Frankenstein (1931) Synopsis: The 1931 film appropriation of Frankenstein has been integral in shaping most 20th century perceptions of what the text is really about. It retains the key element of the novel - a man's quest to reanimate dead tissue - yet changes many other aspects. Henry Frankenstein, aided by his assistant Fritz, and later, Dr Waldman, his best friend Victor and fianc�e Elizabeth, works to create life out of dead tissue. He succeeds, although ignorant of the fact that his creation possesses an "abnormal" brain, which has been swapped by his assistant. Repulsed by the horrendous appearance of his creation, he rejects it, leading to a reign of terror in his normally quiet domestic scene. Eventually, Henry and his fellow townspeople kill the creature, leaving Henry and Elizabeth to marry and live their lives. Explanation: Although the 1931 film appropriation of Frankenstein retains many attributes of the original text, overall it is a challenge to the way the novel is constructed and read. The depiction of Frankenstein's creature is one of the most extreme variations from the original text. Shelley gave the creature intellect - he is highly intelligent and perceptive with an acute sense of self and those around him. He turns against those that shun and abandon him, yet has a sense of why he commits these acts. The monster in the film is mostly mute, only able to communicate with grunts and moans, increasing his animalistic depiction. His innocence is different to that of the creature in the novel - namely, he drowns the young girl simply because he is unaware that she will drown at all, and also that there are consequences for his actions. They are both innocent, although in different senses of the word. Shelley's creature knows what he is doing, yet continues on, regardless of this. ...read more.


One of the leading scientists involved in the project, Professor Maggie Walsh, is experimenting with different body parts, of man, machine and demon in order to create a being - Adam. He is intellectually and physically superior to man, and kills his creator, only to reanimate her as a worker. Buffy Summers, a girl chosen from birth to fight supernatural forces, is determined to overcome Adam, despite his superior physical strength. A vampire in alliance with Adam, Spike, works to defeat her by estranging her from what she draws strength from - her friends. However, Buffy overcomes this estrangement, and rebuilds her friendships. They then band together to destroy the source of Adam's power, succeeding by combining their most human elements - heart, mind, spirit and body. Explanation: There are three central figures to this story arc - the scientist (Maggie Walsh), the experiment (Adam, and to a certain extent, Riley Finn), and the hero (Buffy Summers). Although, like the original text itself, there are a number of other characters, the storyline depends primarily on the actions of these three figures. In many ways, the Adam story is almost entirely true to the original text, in that it focuses on two main issues of Shelley's text: the nature of isolation, and the effect of man overstepping scientific boundaries. Additionally, it partially examines the nature of behaviour, namely whether evil is intrinsic or circumstantial. The creation's name - Adam - a direct inter-textual reference, referencing Milton's Paradise Lost -"I ought to be thy Adam" (p128) and the Bible story in Genesis, which articulates 'Adam' as the first man. Regardless, his name, meaning 'first born' is significant because, like Frankenstein's creature, he is the first of his kind, and remains the only one of his species. Like the original text, he learns of himself through his creator's diaries. "I'm a kinematically redundant, biomechanical demonoid. Designed by Maggie Walsh. ...read more.


People have become aware of follies concerning social expectancies and standards, and thus it is becoming less and less popular to conform to what is being expected of us. Nearing the end of the 20th century, Buffy the Vampire Slayer created a cult following amongst teenagers for with its themes on dating, competitive, achievement-oriented and corrupt American high-school culture, adolescent transformation and alienation, the fragmentation of the family, instability of gender-role, and the generation gap. But it also aroused much interest in adults and academics in its 'post-modern' reflexivity and 'post-feminism' agendas. The creator of Buffy, Joss Whedon, turned the traditional horror clich� of the diminutive blonde girl in need of rescuing, on its head with the casting of an ostensibly "vulnerable" blonde as his heroine. Buffy presented a fresh paradigm which has been embraced by many as an emblem of female power. Although the show is ultimately part of the gothic/horror movement, it has been appropriated into its modern context with the dynamics of adolescent themes and challenged conservatism. Sexuality is perhaps one of the themes most intimately explored amongst the agile blend of genres such from horror through to farce. It is this depth in thematic structure, and experimentation that has led to its success amongst the world's teenagers, and academics. It is in these more recent times, the original Frankenstein story has become more appropriate, with the exponential rise in technology; especially in biotechnology with advancements in human cloning, and stem cell research, the reality of a Frankenstein-esque story emerging has become increasingly credible. Texts with rich and provocative themes such as Frankenstein have lasted to be appropriated into ever-changing contexts. The moral lessons they provide have been updated, however, their ethical significance is fundamentally the same. Such stories provide a moral base that challenges the groundwork on which societies are built and it is the analysis of these changing environments that are invaluable to the understanding of any text. 1 Taken from "Making Frankensense of Young Frankenstein", documentary on the making of the text 2 Taken from "Making Frankensense of Young Frankenstein", documentary on the making of the text ...read more.

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