Critical Themes In Frankenstein

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the 6th of May 2010, the date of the notorious flash crash in the stock market. The novel circulates around the main character, Alex Hoffmann and his hedge fund which is operating in Geneva. The novel revolves around the theme of chaos and the fear than ensues. Harris uses his novel to pay homage to Mary Shelly’s 19th century gothic Frankenstein by creating his 21st interpretation using key ideas and themes taken from her novel. Other than subtle nods towards Frankenstein by using many shared characters’ names and location names. Harris recreates his 21st century interpretation by extrapolating on themes and motifs found in Shelly’s novel such as fear, power of knowledge and the motif of abortion. His novel targets those who are interested …show more content…
The novel establishes early the importance of fear. The main character Alex Hoffmann makes money off the predicted fear in the stock market. The novel shows how “fear is probably the strongest human emotion, period.” This theme can be shown through the characterisation of Alex, an eccentric billionaire genius. However throughout the novel fear catalyses his transition from quirky to insane. His actions are originally ignored by others claiming he was just quirky. This changes after he begins to fear he’s being watched, when he becomes paranoid and “can sense others’ scepticism… staring at him intently. They believe I’ve gone mad.” He is consumed by fear that people are watching him and he begins to follow people in the hope they are the ones watching him. Others watch on claiming that he’s “bloody bonkers. But there you are. That’s Alex. He’s a genius” claiming they “don’t see the world like we do” and that’s why he’s acting strangely. Like Shelly’s novel, the book follows a “mad professor”. The final point that engulfs Alex in insanity is when he gets flashbacks of his previous job. He remembers himself having a mental breakdown after someone discontinues his research, aborting his dream creation. He fears that it is going to happen again with his latest algorithm: this fear of abortion leads to him having a complete mental breakdown. This chaos and fear in his life trigger a …show more content…
In both novels the protagonists are driven forward by the thirst for knowledge and the sequential quest for power. Alex attempts to surge beyond accepted limits and access technology that supersedes mankind. He aimed to create a machine “infinitely faster than a human being. It was theoretically brilliant, but a practical disaster” he was “effectively just unleashing a virus.” This idea of his knowledge being a virus is repeated several times throughout the novel and it is foreshadowed heavily in the opening pages where we find him “staring at the tiny red dot of light on the smoke detector.” The smoke detectors that are referenced throughout the novel are later discovered to be webcams spying on Alex. “They’re everywhere” Alex had been “noticing them for months without ever really seeing them.” At the end of the novel, it is discovered that his algorithm is “alive” and it has been purposely toying with Alex throughout the duration of the novel. His pursuit for knowledge turned out to be his own undoing. This idea of the danger of knowledge is shared with Shelly’s novel, in the opening pages of Harris’ novel there is foreshadowing such as the epigraph of the first chapter reading “learn from me… how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge” which is a direct quote from Shelly’s

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