The symbiotic relationship of life and death Flashcards Preview

English Lit A Level: Frankenstein And THT > The symbiotic relationship of life and death > Flashcards

Flashcards in The symbiotic relationship of life and death Deck (5)
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What are the points I want to make for the introduction?


a relationship between life and death that is complex and interdependent is a central concern to both novels:

F: Frankenstein’s perverse and artificial creation of life enacts the murders of his friends and family, as well as causing his descent into insanity
GOTHIC: New ways to deal with visceral feelings of life and death= decline of religion

THT: a regime driven by the propagation of the human species, and one who enforces its agenda through a reign of terror and violence.

DIFFERENCE: more central concern and more exaggerated in F, as can be said to more directly govern the narrative, as opposed to playing a more passive role in the setting of the novel.


The Cause and effect relationship of life and death.


F: in his creation of new life, Frankenstein’s own mental and physical health deteriorate: ‘my cheek had grown place with study, and my person had become emaciated’
CONTEXT: James Blundell, supporting another’s life with you own- Blood transfusion used on mother
CONTEXT: because of decline of religion, increasing scientific discovery in primary means of life= MORE CENTRAL CONCERN in F than in THT
CONTEXT: Shelley experienced causal link between life and death= more preoccupied than Atwood?

THT: Giving birth to a healthy baby provides protection from ‘the colonies’=

  • ‘something else. An Unbaby, with a pinhead or a snout like a dog’s, no arms, or a hole in its heart or webbed feet’
  • ‘taken away, quickly’

CONTEXT: lack of value given to these ‘unbabies’= Atwood encourages the reader to question whether these offspring actually deserve life= Engages with the discourse surrounding abortion and the ‘right to life’ that was polemic to 1980s America.


The blurred boundaries of life and death?


F: ‘life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through’

’ dull yellow eye… convulsive motion agitated its limbs’
‘filthy workshop of creation’
CONTEXT: reanimation with the works of Galvani, interested was catalysed by sensationalist newspaper
CONTEXT: personal interest of Shelley in the blurring of boundaries of life and death, as she attempted ‘but in vain’ to bring her dead child back to life ‘by the heat of the fire’

THT: through the confusion and disoriented state of the narrator we experience confusion of the boundaries of life and death, though it is not actually witnessed by the reader

imagines that Luke is: ‘lying face down in a thicket’, that he has been captured and tortured: ‘a wound the colour of tulips… flesh has split’ and that he has been ‘taken in’ by a family and given ‘hot coffee’

both use horror to blur boundaries of life and death

CONTEXT: effects of an oppressive dystopian regime on individual?


The affinity of sexuality with violence and death?


The symbiotic relationship is reinforced by the motif of sexuality and death (as sexuality purposes reproduction)

In THT this is less distorted as unnatural as is the affinity of fertility with death:

the motif of flowers and death:
‘dead flower petals’
- ‘tulips are red, darker towards the stem, as though they have been cut their and and are beginning to heal’

ambiguous image, begins as related to sexuality and becomes a reference to death

  • CONTEXT: the effect of an oppressive regime on the individual, Offred views unrelated objects in terms of death and sexuality—> USSR used terror to control its citizens
    natalist Romania?

In Frankenstein: is more unnatural as bares association with sexuality and death

  • ‘wedding night’: ‘consummate his crimes by my death’
    ekphrastic narratuve moment of wedding night ‘ place distorted features… flung by murderer onto its bridal bier’
    gargoyle is the sinister extension of Frankenstein’s sexuality

CONTEXT: Gothic as a means to deal with visceral feelings of death, affinity of sexuality with death is a key motif


What are the three topic sentences for this topic?

  1. ) the cause and effect relationship of life and death
  2. ) blurring of the boundaries of life and death
  3. ) the motif of sexuality and death