Critical Vision: also known as thesis

Critical Vision: your second essay (like every essay) will develop a vision–something that you see in the novel and want to communicate to your reader: also known as a thesis. Recall that the refined version of that vision/thesis comes with revision. For now, think hypothesis. What is your vision for this novel–what are you interested in illuminating with regard to the intertextual link you will focus on?

  • Such a vision is not plot, nor should it be the typical way the text might be read: think of it as complicating the plot reading–showing that there is more to the novel than a quick read (or no read–in the case of film) would suggest
  • Think of it as the idea (story sentence) for your version of Frankenstein–with the understanding that a film needs a surprise; a thesis is (it seems to me) much like a good turning point in a film–the surprise that sets things in motion.
  • Ultimately, this vision will tie in and be developed and reinforced by the focus you give to the intertextual link [will work on that in revision workshop]
  • Think of Victor as a bad thesis writer (not just a bad reader, as I have been saying). His thesis leading up to his wedding night is that the creature is after him; he is being stalked by an inhuman monster. It is a predictable thesis (largely repeated by the first film version)–and reinforces Victor’s misreading of the creature, to say nothing of displaying his egocentrism. Shelley’s thesis is more surprising and complicated: Victor’s real fear has something to do with his own, human power of creation and reproduction–a power also located in Elizabeth, or shared with her. Isn’t Victor afraid of the kind of reproductive power Elizabeth possesses?
  • to develop this thesis, one could go to lots of places in the novel. one would certainly be the reference to Adam and Eve and the apple. 

  • We will continue with the film analogy for our writing when we get to revision workshop. For now, as we work on our critical vision, on developing a hypothesis and thesis that is strong and engaging and not predictable–think about the differences you notice between a film whose premise or idea seems predictable versus one whose idea is surprising or undpredictable, maybe even complicates the predictability of an idea or plot that is already conventional.


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