Three Era's, Three Novels

2270 Words Jun 18th, 2018 10 Pages
Progress is a distinctive venture of man. The constant need to predict and control, instrumented by science and technology, has led to astonishing possibilities for which the long term consequences are unpredictable. There is, however, no ultimate goal of progress; and as limits continue to be broken, the boundaries of human interference in nature are expanding indefinitely. Everywhere, there is a sense of the unconquerable forces unwittingly evoked to serve the project of progress, bringing the project itself into question. This idea has produced three novels that suggest the improvidence of man's quest for authority from natural law; they are: Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, H.G. Well's The Time Machine, and Brave New …show more content…
He attempts to attain this by testing the laws of creation, and giving life out of the products of death. Mary Shelley's Victor Frankenstein is the figure of man's conflict with nature, a man who wishes to improve upon the works of science and break the gates that distinguish the physical world. He is driven by the philosophy that, as stated by his esteemed professor, "'The labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed, scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid advantage of mankind'"(34, sic). It is ideas such as this that lay the foundation for the conflicts that inevitably follow intrusion upon natural law. Men of genius, as Shelley will portray, may have conceptions of the reality of the physical world, but cannot attain a complete conception of the natural. Yet again and again, men will try. Frankenstein's narrator is another plagued by the reality of impossible ambition. On his ship, caught in ice, he believes his will is strong enough to achieve their freedom: "'Oh! Be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of such stuff as your hearts may be; it is mutable and cannot withstand you if you say that it shall not. Return as heroes who have fought and conquered and who know not what it is to turn their backs on the foe'" (198). To be "more than men" is the ignorance that all three authors
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