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Today, the representation of gothic, horror and suspense is becoming more vivid and realistic. Audiences are more critical of how movements can catch actual events that transpired, how they can relate to such emotion of the texts. The novel “Frankenstein” Mary Shelley and television series “Stranger Things” the Duffer Brothers harness the elements of fear through allusions, symbolism, and characterisation. They have completely different themes, and completely different objectives. This article will discuss how these two texts are alike and how they differ.
Stranger Things and Frankenstein uses allusions to reference certain parts in the texts, emphasizing the two. An example of this is in Stranger Things when it is alluding Victor Frankenstein’s monster’s events. Frankenstein’s monster sat by a lake surrounded by trees. He stared at his reflection in a pool of water in horror as he realized that he was not a creature loved by many, but a monster that will soon do terrible things because of the neglect that had been put upon him. He thought he would never know happiness now. When Victor Frankenstein created his monster, bringing it to life, Frankenstein -being the young curious scientist he is- decided to bring something back to life with electricity. He created a creature that, in the eyes of Victor Frankenstein, looked so hideous and disgusting that he could not look it in the eyes. “I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me; my feelings were those of rage and revenge” Shelley meant this by the fact that Frankenstein neglected his creation and abandoned it as if it were nothing because of the looks. I’m sure some could understand the feeling of being abandoned and neglected, everyone has felt it once. This caused the monster to plot a revenge against his creator.
A similar scenario to the forest had happened in Stranger Things, when Eleven had walked to the lake and looked at her reflection, being displeased and upset with -what she thought- was a monster staring back at her. Both creatures had been neglected by their owners/ creators. In Stranger Things Eleven had a very similar event occur. Her mother was a part of an experiment and had no idea of her pregnancy. The government abducted Eleven, birth name: Jane Ives, when she was born and tested on her as she was born with telekinesis thanks to the MK project. Dr. Martin Brenner had become the creator of Elevens monster. The use of manipulation helped gain the trust and bond between the two, in which it quickly withered when she had been neglected by Dr.Brenner (she called him “Papa”). This causes Eleven to flee the Hawkins Laboratory in hopes of getting away. It is not a love relationship between the two, more of a test subject that cannot leave, so Brenner has to try to get her back. Since Eleven ends up hurting people and making bad choices (i.e. turning friends against each other) because of the way she had been raised, as nothing but a test dummy.
The neglect and emotionless views from both of these texts radiate relatable feelings some of us choose to hide away and hope for them to never resurface. These allusions express how creations need to be loved and handled with care so they do not become monsters. Having children and neglecting them, not giving enough attention to, and even ignoring them can result in your child growing up in one of two ways, a successful person with the manners and mindset of being something they never had growing up; a good parent. Or they could become disgusting, abusive, neglectful people that treat them future kids the same as you treated yours. These two texts “Frankenstein” and “Stranger Things” both explain why neglecting your creations can be for the worst.
Frankenstein and Stranger Things use symbolism to represent certain features and elements. An example of this is Frankenstein’s use of fire and light. Its symbolic purpose is how it represents nature. Light is bound to the themes of knowledge as enlightenment. The darkness symbolises ignorance, whilst the sun symbolises the truth. As it has gothic features, it is showing us, the audience, how Frankenstein’s life can be relenting. Fire is both used for a source of comfort and danger, the monster found this out quickly when he had sat near a fire, the warmth encasing him, but the touch of it burnt him, making him retrack his hand. Shelley also demonstrates the light as a symbol in the first few pages. This is seen when in one of the letters, Walton writes to his sister about going to a place “where the sun is forever visible”. Shelley then carries on this with Frankenstein as he experiments with the light; “so brilliant and wonderous” which then turns very bad. ‘pulling them into the dark side of mind control, like the white rabbit did to Alice with the hour glass’
Stranger Things uses symbolism in the way in which it scatters itself throughout the entirety of season one. An example of these symbolic features is the white rabbit from Alice in wonderland. A painting of the white rabbit was placed on the wall of Eleven’s intentional room -she never got to live within those walls- and its symbolic meaning was the world of mind control. The handlers of the MK (Montauk) project (development of mind control techniques) lured people; using them as test dummies and pulling them into the dark side of mind control, like the white rabbit did to Alice with the hour glass used. “I know you do experiments on kidnapped little kids whose parents’ brains you’ve turned to mush. And I know you went a little too far this time” Jim Hopper, the chief of Hawkins Police says to Agent Frazier as he is held in an interrogation room with Joyce Byers.
Within both of these textual connections , they display characterisation between both monsters. The monster is a lonely creature looking for love and appraisal that never comes. Some say the monster is based off of Frankenstein’s life and what he had gone through. Representing what he was feeling inside, how he had made bad decisions. Shelley wanted us to know that playing God was a bad idea, and this was the consequences of it. Although the monster had been mindful with good intentions, his results were evil and vile. The monster had told Frankenstein “Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful,” to show that if he didn’t follow through with the monsters wishes, he could lose everything he sacrificed.
Due to Frankenstein’s consequence of using science to investigate deep into unleashing elements from the dark side, he had created an enemy, a creature feared by all. This was a warning made by Shelley to let the reader know that meddling with nature itself, is not part of nature and can end in tragedy. Just like his family and friends leaving his grasp due to the monster’s actions of killing and its emotions of anger & sadness. Victor Frankenstein gave his family a curse because of his greed and neediness to create something so bizarre. The monster’s unhappiness is brought forward by Shelley’s use of words; ‘I am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind?’ indicating how everything is not okay with him, the emotions swirling in him have been created with so much depth than he is letting on.
Eleven is a lab experiment, like Frankenstein’s monster; the girl was lonely and trying to run from her past, from the bad men. The way the Duffer Brothers have created Eleven is as a monster that’s just a scared twelve-year-old girl. Her telekinesis and neglect are what has created the monster inside her, controlling her into doing anything to protect her friends after being neglected for so long by someone she trusted dearly. Her thoughts and intentions are good but her outcome to her actions are not as such. Her results of good intentions prevent her from actually being morally good herself, she is seen as a monster with powers as she takes down people left, right and centre to protect her friends in danger. As friends turn against each other, she figures out that she is the reason behind it. This creates a movement of anger and sadness within her as she realises that all the bad things happening around her was all her fault. As her last words were an oath “promise” with the one she trusts, grasping the closure and warmth of it before she fights the Demogorgon to keep everyone safe, vanishing in the process. The Duffer Brothers created this look for Eleven so the audience can empathise her even though she is a monster in the eyes of so many.
The novel “Frankenstein” Mary Shelley and television series “Stranger Things” the Duffer Brothers harness the elements of fear through allusions, symbolism, and characterisation. It is safe to say that after looking at both “Frankenstein” and “Stranger Things” similarities and differences, it is obvious that they both have a lot in common, as well as a lot differed.
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