Progress or Alienation in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and Catherine Asaro’s “The Veiled Web”
Our society has alienated itself far from the reality of the way things are and the way they should be, through the use and misuse of scientific knowledge and technology. Science is defined as, “a logical organized method of obtaining information through direct, systematic observation.” Sometimes science doe not seem organized, in fact it seems like it opens us up to a different realm of possibilities that have consequences far beyond our wildest dreams. Scientific knowledge is something that sometimes cannot be controlled or monitored, but needs to be for the sake of the greater population. Those with the most power, for example political leaders and corporation giants, are often allowed privileged information that could jeopardize the safety of all of us. Now whether or not this information is taken in good faith, or for the almighty dollar doesn’t mean its right, nor does it mean that we should not explore scientific possibilities. Science stimulates our minds and forces us to use critical thinking and analysis based on our previous knowledge. Not all scientific information is wrong or incurs consequences, but like all data there is a right and a wrong way to distribute it.
Scientific progress on the other hand is what has helped out society gain the knowledge and insight to live better lives through the advances in medical technology, the strategy of war, and the exploration of space. Not all scientific knowledge is misused, and it’s only brought to our attention when it has been. When this occurs people often question the validity of scientific work which leads to criticism. Some scientific progress will bring with it disruptive change in our society, but with change comes progress and the hope that we can better our lives.
In the two stories I will present in this paper, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and Catherine Asaro’s “The Veiled Web,” they discuss the negative consequences of the actions from people who try and offer good insight to the scientific community and the general population. In both stories, two men take it upon themselves to manipulate science for the good of mankind. Both believe that good will come from their actions but neither consider the consequences of failure. The men in these stories are intent on their work and do not realize that others will turn it against them for destructive purposes. In “Frankenstein“, Victor Frankenstein realizes the destructiveness of his behavior, when it’s too late, and regrets it immensely.
In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” the main character, Victor Frankenstein seeks new and revolutionary scientific advancement and knowledge. He wants to be the first to try a new scientific method of creating a human being. His goal was to “be the first to bestow animation on lifeless matter.” (POO 231). But instead he fails to realize his true potential and creates a hideous monster. “His yellow skin...