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Comparing Reactions to Industrialism in Frankenstein and The Communist Manifesto

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Reactions to Industrialism in Frankenstein and The Communist Manifesto

The radical changes of the nineteenth century were unlike any the world had seen before. A sense of these changes were felt by all in many aspects; not just politically, but in social and cultural means as well. When Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was published in 1831, it was clear that many general elements of the romantic era were well reflected. Similarly, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels' The Communist Manifesto appeared in 1848, a time of great national political revolutions throughout Europe. While textually these historic nineteenth century texts have little in common, it is clear however that they both are strong reactions to previous movements
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Curious and determined, Walton sets out to "tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man" in an effort to live up to his Romantic ideals and describes his motivations as "sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death." Like Walton, Victor is obsessed with the idea of the undiscovered. In narrating his first attempts at scientific endeavor, Victor exclaims, "no one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onward like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success." It is obvious that both Walton and Victor are driven by an uncommonly avid passion for discovery. Walton, however, differs from Victor in his capacity for compassion and love. This is illustrated by Victor's isolation from society and his callous treatment of the monster upon its completion. Many of the more hateful aspects of Victor's character become apparent in his reaction to the creature. He responds with horror the instant the monster opens his "dull yellow eye": "now... the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart." While one may assume that his loathing is due to the hideousness of the "wretch" , his terror has quite a different source. The monster is a reflection of Victor; when the monster opens his eyes Victor is appalled to see his own soul reflected there. For Victor, his decision to abandon the creature is the beginning of the
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