Monday, January 25, 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Although I’ve never had any intention of reading any of Jane Austen’s books, I have to say that ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ provided a slightly different experience. At first I was really only inclined to read it because I’m a huge fan of zombies. After perusing through some of it, I admit that it is quite humorous seeing the book presented in a satirical fashion.

The story introduces the characters in what I’d assume is the same way they are brought about in the original story. I get the impression that it’s a very traditional early 19th century England. Even the way they first start talking about the “unmentionables” feels like it actually fits into the text. When I first saw “unmentionables” I felt like I wasn’t sure what it was they were talking about. And I feel like, that’s how it would be talked about in the early 1800’s because the word “zombie” wasn’t even added to the English dictionary until much later. These extra characters actually seem to fit quite well into the story. However when they start calling them “zombies” and describing their specific martial arts techniques, that’s when it starts getting ridiculous. There are certain snippets of the story like that where it makes sense up to a point, and then after that it’s kind of ridiculous. The first time a ninja actually showed up into the story I thought, “Wait, did that actually just happen?” It was kind of strange to see all these random Japanese elements of ninjas and karate fighting styles integrated into old English culture. It was at the point I realized, “Well, I can see why it’s described as a mash-up.” In a way, it kind of reminds me of the same satirical format you’d see in an Onion News Network article. They present it in a way that makes it sound believable, yet there are so many ridiculous things added to it which is what makes it so hilarious.

‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ was entertaining to say the least, and I feel that this book is one to keep for years to come. I’ve also researched the book and found information regarding it being turned into a movie. It’s rumored to be in pre-production now with directing by David O. Russell and Elizabeth Bennet being played by Natalie Portman. I have to wonder if they’ll keep the satirical format without ruining it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Frankenstein First and Foremost

So this blog was created for my Literature of Horror, Fantasy and Sci-Fi class taught by Dr. Steiling. Our first assignment was to read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I've heard widely about it, but this was my first time sitting down and actually reading the original novel.

I have to say the book was kind of hard to get into at first, given that it started out with these strange letters. I wasn't sure what the letters had to do with the story, but after the letters were finished I realized that it was just point of view of the storytelling. I actually quickly perused through the whole story to try and picture it as a whole. It helped to fundamentally put everything together, and then realize that it was actually shifting points of view between the main character of the story, Victor Frankenstein, and the eyes of a man by the name of Robert Walton that wrote the letters describing the experience of how he came about meeting Victor. After realizing that, I preceded to go back and read the more individual parts of the story and slowly realize the plot setup, symbolism and hidden meanings.

Victor starts off as any young college student would, so involved and passionate about his work with science, and curious about such taboo as creating human life. What he underestimates, is that his creation turns into a "monster". This monster is born a giant with the mind of an infant. He does adapt fairly quickly in terms of learning language by observing a nearby family. Even though the does accidentally kill them, it's not intentional. There's almost a level of innocence to it. What I think actually kept me interested in the story though was the paradigm shift in personalities. Character development is always my favorite part of stories, and this story is no exception. Watching Victor go from young and naive to desperate out of grief was rather interesting. Victor even argued with himself for a while as to whether appease his creation, which was pretty much like his son, the one thing he asked for, a female. After contemplating it for a while, he decided to go ahead with it, only to scrap it before completion and throw the parts out to sea. This really symbolized abortion. Not only was Victor a terrible and irresponsible parent to his first child, but he also aborted the second one. Meanwhile, his first creation has killed his best friend, to which he gets blamed for himself. Victor really evolved from a naive science practitioner into a complete narcissistic jerk. He was too worried about himself, and what would happen to people if he didn't kill his monster. The fact that he contemplated killing his creation, his only son, as opposed to accepting his responsibility for it really showed something about this character. It should also be noted that all the significant feminine roles in the story weren't very significant at all. The all didn't have very much dialogue time overall, and when they were killed they were rather accepting of it. It's more like it was all about Victor's reaction, and all about him being the center of the universe. The way I figure it, it's like Mary Shelley's social commentary on how unimportant women roles were looked upon in at least in her life, as well as the acceptable responsibility level of young parents. Overall, I feel that Shelley's story was very well conceived, even if it was kinda slow to start. It certainly gives some insight towards how she really felt upon roles in society, and I did enjoy the swap of roles between Victor and his creation. His creation was his innocent child, and Victor Frankenstein became the real monster.

If anything, this story certainly reaffirms my decision of waiting until I'm around 30 before I even have my own children. Although some young parents do a swell job, Victor certainly did not.