Synthesis Posts

Percy’s changes show why this novel is a product of the Romantic movement. The various roles nature plays in the book, especially the role of therapeutic agent, are key to this understanding and provide insight on Romanticism’s theoretical foundations.Throughout my reading, I noticed how the book depicts nature as separated from society and man-made institutions, creating a powerfully destructive dichotomy. Failure to understand this dichotomy resulted in some confusion over Victor Frankenstein’s character. From the beginning, the Shelleys represent Nature as both spiritual and moral, so Frankenstein — whose entire project defies the natural processes of both birth and death — may well seem unlikeable. Moreover, his desire for his creation to look up to him as to a god strikes some readers as unseemly: “This desire to be blessed by his creation suggests he may be too human, too needy, to be taking on the role of Creator” ([name redacted] A8). However, what makes Frankenstein seem narcissistic is not any fault of his own character, but rather his indoctrination by human institutions: educational, scientific, and religious. Deep into his studies, Frankenstein says, “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 the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow” (76-77). The fantasy he has of himself as a divine Creator to his Creation is not far from the Old Testament and YHVH’s continual demands for worship. Thus, Frankenstein is not being portrayed as an inherently unsympathetic character, but as someone whose essentially noble self has been twisted by society’s corrupt institutions. Institutions are also to blame for Frankenstein’s inaction at Justine’s trial. Several people expressed frustration that he does nothing to save an innocent woman for whom he expresses great affection. [Name redacted] points out that this is not what we expect from a Romantic hero in the Byronic tradition: “If Percy Shelley and Lord Byron are indeed the inspirations for Victor Frankenstein, then what does this inaction say about Mary’s opinion of them? Both men write passionately about injustice, yet faced with the opportunity to prevent it, Frankenstein does nothing” (D7). In this instance, once again, Shelley portrays human institutions, in this case the judicial system, as the problem; Frankenstein is helpless. And in reality, Byron’s and Shelley’s dreams of bringing in a new and better age came to nought, at least during their lifetimes. Regardless, the point is that society and man-made institutions are the antagonist, not Frankenstein.The dichotomy between nature and man-made institutions is tangible throughout the novel and gives further credence to this point. From a plot standpoint, when Frankenstein is in Geneva, he becomes overzealous in his studies to the point where he becomes sick. [Name redacted] briefly discusses Frankenstein’s relationship to nature: “Instead of going to nature of answers, he seeks to control it and tame it, to make it a man-made creation” (A8) Once again, it’s not that Frankenstein seeks to control nature, but that society seeks to control nature, and furthermore nature’s effect on Frankenstein and nature is therapeutic. After his troubles in Ingolstadt, Frankenstein says, “By degrees this calm and heavenly scene restored me, and I continued my journey towards Geneva” (99). Whenever Frankenstein is on the verge of losing it, an escape from civilization and into nature heals him. [name redacted] So why is this a superb post? 1) The author starts out with an observation of his or her own before quoting and responding to the initial poster. This helps ensure that this post will demonstrate original thought and not just be a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with someone.2) As with the reading response post example, the author uses quotations effectively by setting them up in a substantive way that integrates them with the overall argument and by commenting on them at length. In this case, she respectfully rebuts the original poster and uses evidence from the text to support that rebuttal. (Note that this post quotes the reading response post example above.3) This author also writes well. Again, if you use follow these guidelines, you will probably do well on this assignment.EvaluationFor synthesis posts, the grading system is different. These are longer, and should be more carefully structured and organized, so I strongly advise you to draft and revise them before submitting them. They must be of the suggested length, properly titled, submitted on time, and demonstrate thought and basic knowledge of the reading. In addition, you must also accurately quote and cite the text and two of your peers’ posts from that week of classes and work thoughtfully with these quotations, which requires both setting them up in a substantive way and commenting on them in a meaningful way. I will award these posts two scores: a Content score determined by the quality of your insight and analysis, your use of quotations to support your points, and your organization, and a Style score determined by your clarity, grammatical correctness, directness and concision, proper citation and formatting of quotations, titling, and overall readability and style. The Content score will be between A (100%) and F (59% or lower). However, quoting either a text or a peer inaccurately will result in a full grade penalty. If you can’t devote enough attention to your work to copy something correctly, you have wrecked your own credibility. The Style score will be a modifier that can range between 5 for not only correct but concise and graceful writing and -10 for major problems in clarity, grammar, or quotation and citation rules. See the “Style Score Guide” document for further explanation. For example, if your synthesis post scores a B for Content and a -4 for Style, you would receive a score of 84.5% (B = 88.5 – 4 = 84.5). Honor Code ReminderOf course, Honor Code rules are also in effect for Synthesis posts.

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