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4-Symbols and Motifs
The Monkey Page
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4-Symbols and Motifs
Page 4: Symbols & Motifs
If you are assigned to be the Symbol/Motif Tracker for the day, it is your responsibility to identify examples of the symbol in your reading and post them to the Symbols/Motifs page of the wiki.
I have already posted to the wiki symbols that I would like for you to track throughout your reading. On some nights you may encounter all of them, and on other nights you may encounter only one. It will vary.
Your symbol posts should include: 1) the symbol; 2) the quote (cited in MLA format) including the symbol—a sentence or two is sufficient; 3) a brief analysis of the symbol—
how does it contribute to the scene on a symbolic level?
; 4) your name.
Completion: rotating each class
symbols/motifs: 1) Light/Fire/Candles; 2) Nature; 3) The color "yellow"
: "As I stood at the door, on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old beautiful oak which stood about twenty yards from our house; and so soon as the dazzling light vanished, the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump" (Shelley 30).
-At this moment in the book the main character, Victor Frankenstein, sees how one simple act of nature can destroy something so easily. This incident encourages Victor to pursue a career in the field of science.
: "Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world" (Shelley 44).
-Victor Frankenstein wants to make successful advancements in the field of science. His feelings urge him forward in this pursuit.
"I contemplated the lake; the waters were placid, all around was calm, and the snowy mountains, 'the palaces of nature,' were not changed" (Shelley 67).
-Victor uses nature to comfort himself. Victor starts to panic about how much has changed, until he comes to the realization that his surroundings have remained the same. This makes Victor feel more secure. He uses nature as his safety net.
: "The sight of the awful and majestic in nature had indeed always the effect of solemnizing my mind and causing me to forget the passing cares of life" (Shelley 93).
-When Victor is surrounded by nature, all of his problems vanish. This is important because it shows us that nature comforts Victor and is the one place that he can sort out his problems.
"Darkness then came over me and troubled me, but hardly had I felt this when, by opening my eyes, as I now suppose, the light poured in upon me again" (Shelley 99).
-The light refreshes Victor and makes him feel better when he is awoken. The light symbolizes a new day.
: "One part was open, and by that I had crept in; but now I covered every crevice by which I might be perceived with stones and wood, yet in such a manner that I might move them on occasion to pass out; all of the light I enjoyed came through a sty, and that was sufficient for me" (Shelley 104).
-The wretch that Victor had created symbolically used light as hope. The wretch finds hope in this hut that he occupies.
"Night quickly shut in, but to my extreme wonder, I found that the cottages had a means of prolonging light by the use of tapers, and was delighted to find that the setting of the sun did not put an and to the pleasure I experienced in watching my human neighbours" (Shelley 106).
-The light serves as a symbol of happiness for the wretch. It allows him to witness and enjoy all of the things that go on when it surrounds him. It literally brightens his day.
"My spirits were elevated by the enchanting appearance of nature; the past was blotted from my memory, the present was tranquil, and the future gilded by bright rays of hope and anticipations of joy" (Shelley 114).
-Similar to Victor, the wretch also is happiest when surrounded by nature. It is his true comfort and acts like a house that protects him and makes him feel best.
Chapters 15 and 16
Sorrows of Werter,
besides the interest of its simple and afflicting story, so many opinions are cavassed as so many lights thrown upon what had hitherto been to me obscure subjects that I found it a never-ending source of speculation and astonishment" (Shelley 129).
-The creature is talking about a book, and one of the reasons he liked this particular book is because it involves many opinions and 'lights' that fascinate him. In this context I believe that lights really means ideas.
"The cottage of my protectors had been the only school in which I had studied human nature, but this book developed new and mightier scenes of action" (Shelley 130).
-The importance of the symbol of nature in this quote is that the only aspects of human nature that the creature knows of are the habits of the cottagers, and now that he has read a book he learns the habits of other people in different places. This is important to the creature because he is becoming aware of how people act towards things, and he is learning how he should act.
" 'I am a traveller in want of a little rest; you would greatly oblige me if you would allow me to remain a few minutes before the fire' " (Shelley 134).
-At this point in the story, the creature summons the courage to enter the cottage when only the blind man is inside. The fire becomes the creatures excuse to engage in conversation with a human who will not run away from him.
"The wind fanned the fire, and the cottage was quickly enveloped by the flames, which clung to it and licked it with their forked and destroying tongues" (Shelley 140).
-The creature has just been beaten by the cottagers and has again been turned away from society and all other people, so he swore his revenge on all of mankind. Rosa mentioned earlier in one of her symbols that Victor realized how fire can destroy things, the creature also realized this and decided to use fire to burn down the house of the cottagers that refused to accept him.
Chapters 19 & 20
: "Clerval eagerly desired to accept this invitation, and I, although abhorred society, wished to view again mountains and streams and all the wondrous works which Nature adorns her chosen dwelling-places" (Shelley 163).
-This quote shows how important nature is to Victor and the impact it has on his life. Victor enjoys observing nature because it makes him happy and takes away the fears he has inside. It was nature that helped him become normal again after creating the monster.
: "But I am a blasted tree; the bolt has entered my soul; and I felt then that I should survive to exhibit what I shall soon cease to be" (Shelley 165).
"Its fair lakes reflect a blue and gentle sky, and when troubled by the wings, their tumult is but as the play of a lively infant when compared to the roarings of the giant ocean" (Shelley 168).
-These quotes show how Victor often uses nature to describe and compare things; how he is feeling, the mood of the scene, etc. There are many other times throughout the book where Victor describse a scene by talking about the nature and how it impacted him.
[I] walked on the beach of the sea, which I almost regarded as an insuperable barrier between me and my fellow creature" (Shelley 174).
-This quote again shows how important nature is to Victor. It also shows how he uses nature as an escape from his probably and how it literaly is keeping him away from the monster he has created.
"The cup of life was poisoned forever, and although the sun shone upon me, as upon the happy and gay of heart, I saw around me nothing but a dense and frightful darkness, penetrated by no light but the glimmer of two eyes that glared upon me" (Shelley 188).
-Being confined in a prison, and having witnessing the events that previously occurred, Victor's attitude is affected greatly. The lack of light symbolizes depression, a negative outlook, and worse things to come.
"What a divine day! How happy and serene all nature appears!" (Shelley 200)
-After their marriage, Elizabeth tries to distract Victor from his worries. This shows that Elizabeth is even aware of how unhappy Victor is, despite the fact that they got married and he should be thrilled.
CHAPTERS 23 and 24
"Suddenly the broad disk of the moon arose and shone full upon his ghastly and distorted shape as he fled with more than mortal speed" (Shelley 212).
-The light of the moon made it difficult to get a clear and complete vision of the monster which relates directly to Victor's pursuit of the monster in that he could never fully catch up to him, just like the light never gave him a clear sight of the monster.
"His fine and lovely eyes were now lighted up with indignation, now subdued to downcast sorrow and quenched in infinite wretchedness" (Shelley 218).
-Walton is describing the emotions on the face of Victor as he told his story. The significance of light is that Victor's facial expressions would light up when remembering a good time with an old family member or loved one just as quick as his expressions would turn dark and sad when remembering the torture he went through.
"I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly and exult in the agony of the torturing flames. The light of that conflagration will fade away; my ashes will be swept into the sea by the winds" (Shelley 233).
-The flame in this quote symbolizes the passion and desire inside the monster that motivated him and pushed him to keep torturing, and the monster is saying that because Victor has died, the flame inside the monster will slower die away.
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