What is a good thesis statement for Frankenstein involving science?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that an interesting thesis statement that involves science in Frankenstein can involve the dangers of appropriating the world in accordance to one's own subjectivity.  It is a danger that seeks to bring unity and totality to the world and only ends up resulting in tragedy and fragmentation.

Victor embraces science is shown to be a totalizing force.  He is a man of science.  He believes that science is capable of unifying all aspects of consciousness. Victor sees and perceives science to be the force that provides release from longing and pain.  The cure to that which aches the individual is to possess more science:  "My father was not scientific, and I was left to struggle with a child's blindness, added to a student's thirst for knowledge."  The resolution to challenging elements within being such as the absence of a father's love are shown to be satiated through science.

Science is the force through which meaning is brought into the world.  It is also because of this that Victor is able to pursue his ends of creating his "hideous progeny."  Science becomes the tool of unifying all disparate aspects of being in the world:  

By one of those caprices of the mind which we are perhaps most subject to in early youth, I at once gave up my former occupations, set down natural history and all its progeny as a deformed and abortive creation, and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge. In this mood of mind I betook myself to the mathematics and the branches of study appertaining to that science as being built upon secure foundations, and so worthy of my consideration.

This quote reflects Victor's absolute and total faith in science.  It represents "secure foundations."  It is a force that Victor uses to appropriate the world around him in accordance to his own subjective notions of the good.  The objective branch that Victor associates with science actually becomes an extension of his own subjective beliefs in its perceived totality.  

When Victor confronts the creation of the monster, science is shown to be unable to provide an answer for his flight and abandonment.  Science is not able to unify that which is disparate. It is here in which science becomes an element that cannot provide answers.  The tragedy intrinsic in appropriating the word in accordance to the perceived objectivity in science results in human death, sadness, and misery.  From the most totalizing of views, Victor's pursuit is shown to be a fragmented one.

The thesis of displaying science as a force to appropriate the world in accordance to one's subjectivity is important because it reveals of both Victor's commitment to science and his failure within it.  This becomes an essential part of both his characterization and the novel's thematic development.  As a thesis statement, it works to bring out Shelley's critique of science as well as all movements that seek to posit absolutism and totality in a human predicament filled with limitations and myopia.

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