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Blog 6

Blog #6

“Experimentation or Exploitation? The investigations of David Ferrier, Dr. Benjulia, and Dr. Seward”, by Valerie Pedlar, explores the work of David Ferrier in the context of the vivisection movement and different works of literature. Pedlar looks at the different ways in which Collins evokes the vivisection debate in his novel Heart and Science. She focuses on the implications of a piece of polemic cast in literary form such as this and how Collins utilizes his characters and the contrast between good and evil to further his antivivisection stance. Pedlar states that The Cruelty to Animals Act, though it stipulated that “animals should be anaesthetized except in certain specified circumstances” did not affect the way vivisectionist conducted their experiments (170). This leads to literature such as Heart and Science, where the characters are used as a way to show that vivisection, and in many ways scientists, are evil, even monstrous. Pedlar also brings in the work of Seward and Dracula, as another work which involves controversial topics regarding such experimentation. I think some of the points that Pedlar beings up would be interesting to investigate further. Her discussion of Dr. Benjulia and his “foreignness,” as well as Collins refusal to go into the experimental laboratory, only add to the notion that there must be divide between heart (love) and science (evil/dark).

“Love and Vivisection: Wilkie Collins’s Experiment in Heart and Science” by Jessica Straley highlights the antivivisection argument that Collins evokes in his novel. What was particularly interesting to me about this article is how Straley poses her first question: “Like an autopsy, Sensation fiction [like that of Heart and Science] was drawn from the exposed bowels of an eviscerated social body…If to write Sensation fiction is to dissect and to vivisect, then an antivivisection Sensation novel is a contradictory enterprise. How then does Collins work within a genre that figuratively commits the very crime his plot condemns?” (350-351). I had not previously thought of the genre, and the implications that writing about vivisection as Collins does, within such a genre would have. Straley also claims that Heart and Science, for an antivivisection literary work, is especially delicate. Collins, instead of using the grisly details, “eschews vivisection in theme and style.” What is especially interesting about this article is that it focuses on not just the implications of using characters to embody beliefs, but the actual literary techniques that were used (for example, Straley mentions how the lack of inviting us, the readers, into the laboratories, is to focus our attention on “how literature incites its own victimizing, and sanctifying, vibrations”). Straley invites us to look at the relationship between the reader and the work.

In her Essay Heart, Science, and Regulation: Victorian Antivivisection Discourse and the Human, Sara Murphy discusses the implications that vivisection has within not just the scientific community but whole cultures. The debates surrounding vivisections bring up questions regarding the line between humans and animals, and what is moral and what is an abuse of power. Murphy states that “while modern law supposes a subject that is autonomous, fully conscious and rational, capable therefore of choosing and willing actions for which it will be then responsible” the Cruelty to Animals Acts of 1876 proposes ways in which such regulations may complicate the conventional views. Most notably, the debate illuminates the relationship between science, law and literature and how the three are utilized as means of argument, working both to complicate and help understand certain positions and ethical questions regarding vivisections. She examines the argument Collins makes in the novel Heart and Science, as it is “a scene of law and literature that is suggestive of the intricate crossings of these two disciplines at a critical moment in our biopolitical history.” When discussing Laura Otis’s argument that Collins is essentially, in a way, retrying David Ferrier through the novel, Murphy states that to read the novel in such a way as this, “evoke[s] that thread of recent discourse on law and literature that has argued that novels sustain and cultivate a certain humanist sentiment in the face of modern law” and that this is not what she intends. One aspect which I found interesting was in regards to Benjulia representing a sort of national identity crisis. The evil doctor who practices vivisections, was described as having foreign features, “’the straight black hair of an American Indian,’” though he is never associated with a specific country or place, it is just implied that he is not from England. Thus, as Murphy brings points out, he begins to represent the “otherness within national identity, an otherness presumably liberated by the habitual practice of cruelty.” Not only does the book illuminate how the debate over vivisections affect cultures and cultural identities, but it also forces the idea that with cruelty to animals comes cruelty to humans, i.e., habitual cruelty.

It’s hard to decide which article I will most likely choose as all three raise interesting points about the implications of the antivivisection debate and Collin’s use of literature as an argument against it. That being said, I think either Essay Heart, Science, and Regulation: Victorian Antivivisection Discourse and the Human by Sara Murphy or Love and Vivisection: Wilkie Collins’s Experiment in Heart and Science” by Jessica Straley would be good essays to use.

Blog 5

Blog #5

Reading the Feminist Criticism is interesting as I have thought little about the implications of the different feminist critiques. The Feminist critique in Frankenstein states that: “until a few years ago…feminist thought tended to be classified not according to topic, but, rather according to country of origin.” I think that it is these types of separation, the limiting of certain schools of critique to a country or certain class of people, that leads to the exclusion of many women and/or feminists. This division of feminism has to led to what many consider “white” or “western” feminist schools of thought. The values held in the dominant schools of feminist theory are often associated with, and or dictated by the values held in western society, this excludes a majority of people from identifying with something which is not supposed to be exclusive, but rather the opposite: it is supposed to integrate women into a highly masculine-dominated world.
Kristeva associated feminine writing with the female body, thereby further classifying what it means to be a feminist, especially within literature. Other French feminists, such as Helen Cixous, also aligned themselves with this perspective: “’Write yourself. Your body must be heard” (342). Cixous believed that once women learned to write their bodies, they will have the ability not just to realize their sexuality but to also “enter history and move toward a future based on a “feminine” economy of giving rather the masculine economy of hoarding.” Not only did this cause controversy as many suggested that “an emphasis on the body either reduces the ‘feminine’ to a biological essence or elevates it in a way that shifts the valuation of masculine and feminine tradition but retains the binary categories” (342). This is also interesting as it leads toward the idea that masculine and feminine theories have different values. This strays from the central focus of the critique as a site for reclaiming sexuality and power, and lends itself toward a more defined boundary between the two gendered critiques.

Blog 4

Blog #4
In her Essay Heart, Science, and Regulation: Victorian Antivivisection Discourse and the Human, Sara Murphy discusses the implications that vivisection has within not just the scientific community but whole cultures. The debates surrounding vivisections bring up questions regarding the line between humans and animals, and what is moral and what is an abuse of power. Murphy states that “while modern law supposes a subject that is autonomous, fully conscious and rational, capable therefore of choosing and willing actions for which it will be then responsible” the Cruelty to Animals Acts of 1876 proposes ways in which such regulations may complicate the conventional views. Most notably, the debate illuminates the relationship between science, law and literature and how the three are utilized as means of argument, working both to complicate and help understand certain positions and ethical questions regarding vivisections. She examines the argument Collins makes in the novel Heart and Science, as it is “a scene of law and literature that is suggestive of the intricate crossings of these two disciplines at a critical moment in our biopolitical history.”
When discussing Laura Otis’s argument that Collins is essentially, in a way, retrying David Ferrier through the novel, Murphy states that to read the novel in such a way as this, “evoke[s] that thread of recent discourse on law and literature that has argued that novels sustain and cultivate a certain humanist sentiment in the face of modern law” and that this is not what she intends. One aspect which I found interesting was in regards to Benjulia representing a sort of national identity crisis. The evil doctor who practices vivisections, was described as having foreign features, “’the straight black hair of an American Indian,’” though he is never associated with a specific country or place, it is just implied that he is not from England. Thus, as Murphy brings points out, he begins to represent the “otherness within national identity, an otherness presumably liberated by the habitual practice of cruelty.” Not only does the book illuminate how the debate over vivisections affect cultures and cultural identities, but it also forces the idea that with cruelty to animals comes cruelty to humans, i.e., habitual cruelty.
One way in which one could forward Murphy’s analysis is through extending her argument. Though, as Harris points out this can be difficult and is often complicated by misappropriating the ideas/phrasings of other authors, it would also allow one to put a spin on the arguments Murphy makes about vivisections a

Blog 3

Blog #3

Novels such as Heart and Science are fascinating in that they create a new way of illustrating certain problems or dilemmas, often regarding one’s moral and ethical stances. What I found to be particularly interesting in respect to Collins’s work, is that he takes a scientific argument, or rather debate, and turns it into a fictional story. In doing so, he associates certain personalities and characters with specific aspects of the science that he is against, thus perpetuating his bias against vivisections (though I am not arguing for its benefits, Collins was himself very anti-vivisectionist). As Otis states in her analysis: ““Collins oppressive thesis that love inspires and vivisections degrades helps his character development, for at least some of his creations change their ways” (39). Both Mrs. Galilee and Doctor Benjulia are scientists of a sort and both are portrayed as sadistic and cruel. While Carmina faints upon first seeing her aunt, Benjulia is described as being “so hideously-thin that his great gloomy gray eyes, his protuberant cheek-bones, overhung a fleshless lower face naked of beard…” (103). These descriptions cause the reader to have an immediate bias against the two scientists (or scientifically involved persons) because they begin to associate the negative aspects of science (vivisection) with evil people.
Prior to reading Otis’s essay, I had not realized the significance that these two characters have on the readers. By sentencing them to the role of “bad guys,” Collins is in effect altering the reader’s stance on vivisection and this sort of radical science “[b]y associating scientific attitudes with these two characters, Collins avoids condemning science as a whole” (40). Furthermore, as the American scientist finds the cure to the brain disease through means of observation and not vivisection as Benjulia is attempting, “Collins implies that the greatest contributions to science come from compassionate individuals whose own suffering lets them identify with laboratory animals” (Otis 41). The framing of an argument, especially one regarding such controversial ethical questions, in the form of a novel (with a plot explicitly centered more on love than science), is an effective way to influence people outside of the scientific community.

https://sscott18.uneportfolio.org/2019/04/22/blog-3/

Blog 2

Blog #2

Smith states that there have been a variety of ways in which Frankenstein, and Frankenstein’s Creature, has been analyzed and/or critiqued. Many of the ways in which the novel has been read and critiqued are through a feminist lens that focuses on the rights of women, as well as female anxieties in authorship and the complex (rather unjust) relationships between men and women at the time. Many of these analyses stem from Shelley being both a female author, as well as the daughter of liberal parents who were rather outspoken. Though there was little focus on the role of race in the novel, Frankenstein, an arguably gothic novel, does address, if not explicitly, injustices within society. Smith quotes Kari J. Winter who argues that Shelley “’attempts to give voice to those people in society who are traditionally removed from the centers of linguistic power…” Consequently, this “voice” that Winter and Smith believe Shelley has provided to such minorities allows for an inclusion and critique of the novel with an awareness of race as it was central to the “emergent English culture with which Mary Shelley eagerly engaged.” Smith points to many instances in the book where Shelley, though often metaphorically, utilizes rhetoric of control and submission and it is this which alludes to the role of race and slavery within the text.
Some critics have read Frankenstein as having been influenced in some way by Paradise Lost, in which the Creature is a sort of representation of Eve. Smith, however, challenges this interpretation and argues that because of the Creatures hyper-masculinity, it is comparable to the character of Caliban, an enslaved native of the island in The Tempest. Like Caliban, the Creature has a certain resentment toward his “master” (Victor). Furthermore, both Caliban and the Creature have some deformity, some aspect of their physical make-up is different from that of the rest of society. Not only that, but Frankenstein describes features of the Creature with rhetoric used primarily in colonial speaking or writing of persons from Asia, India and Africa and further establishes a racial divide. Smith continues to draw parallels between the Creature and slaves/slavery, pointing out that both the lack of name, and covert self-education was similar to that of slaves. The realization of “his ‘otherness’…comes with the acquisition of cultural knowledge in a model of coming-to-consciousness and disproof of assumed innate incapacity that us a regular element of the slave narrative.” Thus, in other words, Smith relates the story to that of a slave narrative given the increasingly similarities between the Creature, race and slavery.
Smith’s “project” is interesting, and I believe it should be looked at thoroughly, as there are many valid points about race and the relationship between a slave and his master and the consequences of such a degrading existence that are essential to understanding the role race can have within a culture and society. I found his focus on the Creature’s feelings of “other” to be essential to Smith’s argument as well. Smith quotes W. E. B Du Bois: “’One ever feels his twoness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body,” and compares this conflict to that of the Creature, who he says “develops a schizophrenic sense of himself.” This self-awareness is what leads to the Creatures desire for revenge and autonomy and, as Smith states: “just as the defining moment of the slave narrative is an assertion of the rights of the self against the wrongs of the slave-holding system, followed by the physical search for freedom in the trajectory of flight…the creature’s flight…fulfils this pattern.”
This reminds me of the talk given by Angela Davis, as she spoke of some of the impacts that being black can have on a person, especially a black woman. The sense of being “other,” of having to acknowledge the wrongs and injustices done (to the Creature and to people of color in this white, patriarchal society) in order to overcome being enslaved or subdued is seen not throughout cultures and societies. What is particularly concerning is how relevant such messages are today. Though Shelley wrote Frankenstein in the 1800’s, the hyper-masculinity in a male-dominated society and culture and the parallel to race and slavery is still pertinent.

Blog 1

Blog 1:

I have only read Frankenstein once previously to this and it was done in a very quick, sort of half-hearted fashion. We looked at and interpreted the novel as a sort of Gothic horror on the dangers of the possibilities of science and in this way it was rather a subset of romanticism. We also looked briefly at the implications of philosophy within the novel, in particular we asked questions regarding whether or not one should use science in such a way. This is especially interesting because many of the critiques regarding the philosophical aspects surround Shelley’s biographical life and her relation with her father and thus the relationship between author and world and author and text is prominent in this interpretation. It is difficult to position myself within the critical history as it seems as though there are many lenses with which to look at such a text, however, I found that looking at the gender roles and how male and female interactions are depicted within the novel provides an interesting way to critique such literature. Most of this, given the Critical History, was not looked at until the later part of the 1980’s. However, given that the story has been around for much longer, I think that some of the previous interpretations are also important to look at; including the concerns about Frankenstein’s moral effects in which there is some controversy regarding sympathy with the monster. One thing which surprised me in the history, was that there were continuous arguments for the novel’s high culture status which, given how the author is a woman and the time in which it was written, makes me wonder if this would be even a question had Shelley been a man.

Blog #1

I have only read Frankenstein once previously to this and it was done in a very quick, sort of half-hearted fashion. We looked at and interpreted the novel as a sort of Gothic horror on the dangers of the possibilities of science and in this way it was rather a subset of romanticism. We also looked briefly at the implications of philosophy within the novel, in particular we asked questions regarding whether or not one should use science in such a way. This is especially interesting because many of the critiques regarding the philosophical aspects surround Shelley’s biographical life and her relation with her father and thus the relationship between author and world and author and text is prominent in this interpretation. It is difficult to position myself within the critical history as it seems as though there are many lenses with which to look at such a text, however, I found that looking at the gender roles and how male and female interactions are depicted within the novel provides an interesting way to critique such literature. Most of this, given the Critical History, was not looked at until the later part of the 1980’s. However, given that the story has been around for much longer, I think that some of the previous interpretations are also important to look at; including the concerns about Frankenstein’s moral effects in which there is some controversy regarding sympathy with the monster. One thing which surprised me in the history, was that there were continuous arguments for the novel’s high culture status which, given how the author is a woman and the time in which it was written, makes me wonder if this would be even a question had Shelley been a man.

Blog 1

I have only read Frankenstein once previously to this and it was done in a very quick, sort of half-hearted fashion. We looked at and interpreted the novel as a sort of Gothic horror on the dangers of the possibilities of science and in this way it was rather a subset of romanticism. We also looked briefly at the implications of philosophy within the novel, in particular we asked questions regarding whether or not one should use science in such a way. This is especially interesting because many of the critiques regarding the philosophical aspects surround Shelley’s biographical life and her relation with her father and thus the relationship between author and world and author and text is prominent in this interpretation. It is difficult to position myself within the critical history as it seems as though there are many lenses with which to look at such a text, however, I found that looking at the gender roles and how male and female interactions are depicted within the novel provides an interesting way to critique such literature. Most of this, given the Critical History, was not looked at until the later part of the 1980’s. However, given that the story has been around for much longer, I think that some of the previous interpretations are also important to look at; including the concerns about Frankenstein’s moral effects in which there is some controversy regarding sympathy with the monster. One thing which surprised me in the history, was that there were continuous arguments for the novel’s high culture status which, given how the author is a woman and the time in which it was written, makes me wonder if this would be even a question had Shelley been a man.

Journal 3/26

The plays are going well. The setting that we decided on is Thursday, March 9th 1957. Kafka is going to be representative of the author that she represents in that she is sort of dreamy and her replies to situations are short and she goes along with almost anything that the others say, neither agreeing or disagreeing with either. Kafka is going to be bored and antsy. We also decided (from last week) that we are going to have been in the lab/confinement area since we came from our homeland, which we decided was Africa as they speak of it in one part of the play where it seems as though they were all there together. We decided from there that they must have known each other quite some time.
I also watched The Lion King which was very different from what we have looked at in class in that it is a sort of animated musical, with a very predictable plot and yet also I could not stop watching. Perhaps it was because of the memories that I have of being a child and watching it, but also because of how the ending is warm and leaves you without questions.

Journal on final presentation p 1

FinalProjectP1

Communication between people can be done through a variety of different techniques including art, spoken word, and written word. However, writing is arguably one of the most important forms of communication and it is one of the things which separates us from other species (we don’t see other species writing novels, theses, and lab reports). Writing is all about expressing ideas, opinions, beliefs, emotions, and knowledge which is one of the reasons that it is used across every discipline. This is what the duration of my presentation will focus on the importance of being able to write across a variety of disciplines throughout one’s life. Every discipline, in this instance I am mainly referring to academic disciplines, require writing of some kind and most of them require it quite frequently. Students who are receiving an education, whether that be in the sciences or the humanities and arts, must not only write often and well, they must also write across multiple subjects. Each requiring different standards and expectations.
Take, for example, these five subjects on the slide-each one is arguably very different from the other, yet there is no way that you can go through any of these without having to do a significant amount of writing. While it is true, and slightly obvious, that the required writings for each would be different styles (a lab report versus an anthology of poems for example), there are certain things which are necessary for any style of writing. As a peer writing consultant I have worked with a number of students from across a variety of disciplines. These subjects include lab reports for organic chemistry, biology 104 and 105, sociology papers, English papers, and philosophy papers. What I have found is that many students have this idea in their head that writing is associated with English and English majors, and that the sciences require less writing and the writing that is included is vastly different. While this is partly true-the writing styles will be different for the most part, there is still a lot writing which is necessary throughout all the sciences as that is a major aspect of communication in the scientific world.
I have also found that when helping students edit their papers, there are many of the same reoccurring errors throughout the different subjects. These errors start with students just wanting to get the assignment done and often overlooking key components that are either included in the rubric or that stem from deeper analytical thinking about the topic or information that is being communicated through writing. Many issues are in regards to how the information is presented- as someone who is not a content expert in many if not all of the subjects that I work with, I am not looking at the accuracy of the information, but rather if the student is presenting this information in a way which is convincing, clear, and concise. Is it worth reading? Do I obtain something from it that I did not know or had not thought of before?
Remember that I am looking at this process through the lens of communication, and so that is what I want the tutee to be aware of when they are writing- are they communicating what they need to be to the appropriate audience? At the University of Iowa a study (more of an interview of faculty and students) found that there are more similarities than disciplinary differences in undergraduate writing assignments that instructors give as well as the different genres that their students are expected to produce in classes. In general, academic skills
(which include, open minded inquiry, critical analysis and use of sources to support one’s argument) were more common than more specialized skills (specialized in terms of the specific discipline). This goes along with much of what I have found as well-students need to be able to utilize these 3 skills to communicate whatever it is they are trying to say. I have found much of this to be true as well, students have a tendency to overlook the basic communication skills (which often end up being related to global organization, the bigger picture you could say) which are actually equally important across the disciplines. It doesn’t’t matter the subject, you are always trying to use writing to communicate something, and to start you need to be able to be convinced of what you are saying yourself. When looking at different sources detailing communication and writing I came across this one by Brian Coppola and Douglas Daniel, in which they detailed the importance and role of writing (speaking as well but we focused on writing) for students in the Chemistry program. One of the first focuses of the paper is about how one never really learns something until he or she has to teach it. This is in and of itself key indicator that communication is a vital part of what writing is. It is being able to teach some piece of information (especially relevant to science students) and to teach you need to be able to communicate what you know. It allows us to compare knowledge and ideas with others, regardless of the subject; this is equally as important in the science world as it is in the liberal arts world. Overall, I have found that writing is something which, in this age of technology, when much of what is communicated is done through written work, is vastly important regardless of the discipline This is something which students struggle with, writing to communicate yet also in a way which is appropriate to the subject and for the audience

Works Cited
Severino, Carol, and Mary Trachsel. “WAC.” • Rewriting Across the Curriculum: Writing Fellows as Agents of Change in WAC” Theories of Specialized Discourses and Writing Fellows Programs, wac.colostate.edu/atd/fellows/severino.cfm.

Daniels, Douglas, and Brian Coppola. “WAC.” The Role of Written and Verbal Expression in Improving Communication Skills for Students in an Undergraduate Chemistry Program, wac.colostate.edu/llad/v1n3/coppola.pdf.

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