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Theme that Ties Mary Shelly's Frankenstein to Tony Morrison's Sula (Essay Sample)


The task in this sample is to compare the two novels, Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley and Tony Morrison’s Sula, written in 1978 and to find or establish the theme that ties them. That is the common theme in both books that make them seem similar in certain ways.

Theme that Ties Mary Shelly's Frankenstein to Tony Morrison's Sula
Frankenstein is a Gothic Novel written by Mary Shelley. It was published in 1818. The story revolves around Victor Frankenstein, a Science prodigy who ends up inventing a new from of life, a monster. The book revolves around Victor’s efforts to destroy his own creation. However, the monster, which threatens to be a new form of life brought about by Victor, fights back, strangling people close to Victor. Victor never accomplishing his mission, as the narrator states that he died in his ship, while the monster enters the deep waters. This novel compares to Tony Morrison’s Sula, written in 1978.
The two books have strikingly similar themes, such as Family, mystery, the pursuit of knowledge, unconventional thought and love and romance. The theme of family ties seems to best join the two novels, since it is at the heart of this theme that the novels unravel. Both Shelley and Morrison seem top agree that the family is a very important institution in the society, and that its choice to accept or reject a person has serious implications on the person’s self worth, conduct and final outcome.
For instance, both novels reveal that the family is the most important social order. Shelley’s Frankenstein’s begins with a narration by Robert Walton, an unsuccessful writer who, in pursuit of fame, sets out on a scientific exploration of the Polar North. Captain Walton is writing a letter to his sister, Madam Margaret Walton Saville. The letter ends up being the novel Frankenstein. By indicating Walton’s background, Shelley accounts for the inconsistencies and discontinuities seen in his narrative letter. On the other hand, Morrison’s introduction of the Bottom, the area where Sula is set brings about a slave and his master. The slave hopes to attain a reward from his master, who has become his family. The master points to the hills, the Bottom land. The authors could not have found a stronger way to introduce their stories. Shelley’s introduction of a captain talking to his sister foreshadows the close ties to be identified later in the novel. Similarly, Morrison’s introduction foreshadows the future issues which will arise from family ties.
Captain Walton explains the story of Victor as received from a dying Victor Frankenstein. It will be noted that almost throughout the novel, Shelley introduces a character by first stating their family background. Victor’s birth in a wealthy family from Geneva, as well as that of his brothers Ernest and William point to his current situation. The death of his mother just before he joins the University inspires him to venture in to researches in Alchemy, Chemistry and Physical Sciences. He is more fascinated with how such sciences can be used to bring back the dead. Shelley’s connection of Victor’s mother’s death to his ambitious pursuits in the University has significance in bringing coherence in her story line. It is also a statement that circumstances affecting our beloved ones affect our life choices. Little is said about his brothers, which is understandable in a novel setting.
On the other hand, in Sula, the background of the protagonist, Nel, and antagonist, Sula, take a similar perspective. The ... chapter contrasts the families of the two. Nel’s family upholds conventional living to the latter. The family wants her to lead a similar life, but she is not decided, even after meeting her unconventional grandmother. Sula’s family is the exact opposite of Nel’s family. Her promiscuous mother and grandmother, as well as her three adopted brothers, the deweys represent an unconventional family. Nevertheless, Nel and Sula become fierce friends in their adolescence. Morrison uses the family to show how our personality types, life beliefs and philosophies are shaped. Similarly, the contrast builds in to his conflict and later resolution.
Shelley and Morrison are also careful to note that even though families can shape and affect an individual’s life; people can still choose to lead different lives. Shelley’s novel points out that despite rejection by family, individuals’ choices and decisions will ultimately determine their outcome in life. Victor is appalled at the sight of his creation, the monster. After seeing its disturbing appearance, he flees from the lab. In turn, the monster seeks solace in the woods, near a peasant family’s cottage, the deLaceys. He learns language by listening to them, as well as studying a manuscript on literature he collects in the woods. When he sees a reflection of his disfigured face in a nearby pool, he understands why the human race rejects him. His efforts to be reconciled to the race are in vein, since most flee from him.
Morrison brings out Nel as a compliant lady. She sees some sense in conventional life, although she is unsure. After the fatal accident that leads to the death of the young boy Chicken Little, she begins parting ways with Sula, her closest friend. Sula is also compliant to her family line. Morrison notes that she watches her mother burn to death without moving. Morrison leaves the reader with the dilemma as to whether we are wholly a product of circumstances outside our own control or whether we can choose to change our lives. Sula ends up being the antagonist, most likely because of the family she comes from, while Nel becomes the protagonist, due to her family background. One will also wonder whether right living entails conventional lifestyles only.
Again, similarities within the family have been explored to the latter in the two novels. Both novels depict a family line naming system, where individuals with similar characteristics receive similar names. For instance, critics are yet to agree on who actually the name Frankenstein as the title of Shelley’s book refers to. One group holds that Frankenstein is simply Victor’s surname, while the other holds that the name actually refers to the monster. The latter group bases its argument on the name’s purpose. The author could have called the book Victor, if she wanted to refer to the protagonist. A third group, which I concur with, argues that Victor Frankenstein and the monster could as well be one and the same. This group puts...
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