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 of European society. Underlying Shelley's Frankenstein are strong uses of romanticism, whereas The Communist Manifesto is undoubtedly opposing the consequences of the industrial revolution in Europe; both reactions of the past, yet effective in starkly different ways.
Frankenstein, like other English Romantics, placed great emphasis on the power of nature. The Arve Ravine, and the Valley of Chamounix exemplify the harmony and beautiful serenity of nature, and add to the romantic quality of the novel while sharply contrasting with the chaos of Victor's troubled mind. The Romantic movement can be seen as a protest against the rapid industrialization that was occurring in England at the time of Frankenstein's publication. While many interpretations are plausible, the novel depicts the fear that technology (and the human obsession with technology) would ultimately prove disastrous. The characters of Walton and Frankenstein are shaped by Romantic idealism, as manifested in their ...
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...r a classless, productive, industrial society that was beneficial to all, the mere recognition of strength in numbers and class solidarity were fundamentally effective and paved the way not only for future governments but for future laborers.
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