Mary Shelley's Reading Makes USarter And Nicer: Book Analysis

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The general argument made by Annie Murphy Paul in “Reading Makes Us Smarter and Nicer,” is that regularly reading fictional stories is becoming an “endangered practice” as generations are born and technology advances. More specifically, Paul suggests that this is not a beneficial change for society, because “individuals who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective.” She warns the community that by allowing this generation to “[grow] up online,” they are hindering the “intellectual and emotional development of generations… as well as a critical part of our culture.” In other words, she is suggesting that discouraging fictional reading will encourage …show more content…
Like Ishiguro, Shelley argues that man has to be knowledgeable about the consequences of breaking science’s boundaries, or else it has detrimental effects on society. Frankenstein himself even says, “how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to be greater than his nature will allow” (Shelley ). The most obvious example of Shelley’s argument is Frankenstein’s monster. The monster was only created out of Frankenstein’s pure want for unnatural knowledge; therefore, his plan never really considered any emotional aspect of the creation. Because of this, the monster was abandoned and became spiteful, which, in turn, led to the death of everyone about whom Victor cared. I think that Shelley is trying to suggest that only putting emphasis on the advancement of scientific knowledge will ultimately lead to the death of all humanity. The reader can also see this argument in Shelley’s character Henry Clerval, who is the exact opposite of Victor. In that, I mean Henry is described as being “perfectly humane, so thoughtful in his generosity, so full of kindness and tenderness amidst his passion” (Shelley ). Clerval never had a strong interest in natural philosophy like Victor, because “his imagination was too vivid for the minutiae of science. Languages were his principal study” (Shelley ). In my opinion, Shelley’s strong contrast between the interests of the two men suggests that advancing science to a certain degree kills the creativity and liveliness of the arts. Frankenstein’s creation, which is the embodiment of his ability to surpass basic human knowledge, literally kills Henry Clerval, who is the symbol of creativity and kindness. Similar to Never Let Me Go, I believe that Frankenstein also serves as a forewarning to the public that technology and

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