Custom «"Frankenstein" Concept in "Imelda" by Richard Selzer» Essay Paper Sample
Does the surname Frankenstein remind everyone of a monster? Apparently, this is a cliché which every human being knows, and most people tend to think about it a wrong way. However, the real truth is a little bit deeper and refers to the doctor who created this monster. His unique mind, knowledge, and point of view on personal possibilities and opportunities establish a completely new motif of the crazy scientist who can perform everything. Selzer’s “Imelda” represents the same central idea; however, it is interpreted in a contemporary way introducing the readers to the so-called “Frankenstein of the modern time”. As a result, comparing both stories, there is a strong link which is a unique topic. Richard Selzer’s Doctor Hugh Franciscus in the short story “Imelda” represents and follows Frankenstein' motif of the power-mad scientist who would like to create a life as if he was a divinity interpreting it in a new way.
While comparing two mentioned characters, it would be appropriate to discuss the stated above motif more clearly and comprehensively. A peculiar feature which primarily connects two doctors at the very beginning is a desire to enhance knowledge by reading the never-ending amount of medical literature. This is a kind of a lifestyle which both have got used to living – no friends, no time for family, and no desire to change something. The only dream they both have is to create something alive for Frankenstein and to become merely a divinity able to cure people for Franciscus. The second one always reads only one book which is about anatomy which is the same but already finished by Frankenstein. Moreover, they are hot-headed in some way and some particular situations. For example, once, Imelda does not want to show her face to Franciscus, and he uses force to see it explaining that he is in charge. As a result, an average reader can easily notice that Frankenstein and Franciscus are two similar characters which are living and working in different centuries. Therefore, this fact helps to see the motif of being a divine power-mad scientist in both scientists.
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To continue, Frankenstein concept is based on sacrificing something valuable – whether it is something materialistic or abstract immolation – which a person can regret about till the end of a life (Glipin). Doctor Franciscus is alone in his thoughts as well as in relationships with patients. His lifestyle creates conditions without feelings and his soul to help him concentrate on the job. As a result, when Franciscus loses his connection with God that means he loses his soul, he is literally selling it to the devil. In other words, he sacrifices everything he has – family, friends, communication – in order to gain more knowledge in medicine to become divinity among ordinary people. Overall, this is the second thing which he has inherited from the famous Victor Frankenstein.
Therefore, being a divinity is one of his goals to achieve. All his efforts are made not just for self-satisfaction, and everything he does is aimed at creating a position for him among higher creatures. These beings are so-called “saints” whom ordinary people pray to and follow, and this is what is called a “god complex” (Dowd). However, there must be someone whom Franciscus could obey. Since it is mentioned that the doctor has lost his connection with God, there is no other creature like this. Therefore, Frankenstein has its monster with whom he is powerless, and Franciscus has a small girl Imelda. However, this kid causes positive transformations which reveal real nature of the scientist depicting him as responsible and kind. This is not a straight reflection of the Frankenstein concept but, still, it is an interpretation of a motif influenced by the modern life, and thus, it does not have to be always negative.
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However, what really characterizes both heroes, is the desire to learn more and more every day, to enhance power because this is what knowledge is. Knowledge is power, and Franciscus as well as Frankenstein blindly follow this goal (Caruso). Speaking about Selzer’s character, with technical development, studying has become easier, and more opportunities are available to achieve. As a result, immense improvements have been seen which help to create a life and save people who are on the edge of life and death. These are things that differentiate a divinity from an ordinary person who cannot change someone’s life in terms of passing away and birth. Generally, no one has a possibility to create a life from dead parts or just to resurrect somebody. Nevertheless, this is exactly what happens with Imelda: despite the fact of her death, Franciscus fixes her deformation and makes her dream come true. Furthermore, he aids the girl to reach spiritual perfection and purification. Doctor Franciscus turns into some kind of divinity which suddenly helps Imelda among other patients, and it reflects that he really loves his path and feels obsession.
In the mentioned obsession, one can recognize some elements of Prometheus myth that, in fact, has some relation to and influence on Frankenstein as well as on Franciscus. In particular, both power-mad scientists become obsessed with their creations which makes them chained but in different ways. The first one suffers from consequences of his hot-headed creation and has no idea how to destroy it. As for Franciscus, he is chained for his obsession with science – biology in particular – and profession which does not allow having some personal life and feeling emotions. Talking about allegoric eagle which is presented in the traditional myth, the image can be used with regard to feelings of Franciscus’s patients (Baldwin). To be more precise, every patient who tries to express his/her gratefulness for the result, literally, painfully pecks the doctor in terms of sincerity as this is what the doctor lacks but does not want to acknowledge. Moreover, there is one more concept of Prometheus myth that is very similar to selling the soul to the devil which has been mentioned before. Where appears Gods, there happens religion.
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“Imelda” is a very contradictive essay which shares the borders with religion. Individuals who can decide whether a person will be alive or not are usually considered gods. If not to pay attention to their name similarity, Frankenstein and Franciscus are both scientists who control lives: one creates it, and the second literary revitalizes people. If in Victor’s situation, everything is clear, the case of Franciscus has more scientific meaning. In particular, he contradicts the religion by believing in technical progress and that, with its help, a person can perform everything to save another being. Moreover, it is a well-known fact that technical development doubts religion, as well as the doctor does as he actually proves the unimportance of this phenomena (Cline).
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To conclude all the above mentioned, a work written by Mary Shelley is very interesting and contains a lot of motifs which have been used in other pieces of writing. “Imelda” is one of the stories where the Frankenstein concept of a power-mad scientist who is nearly a divinity plays an enormous role in understanding the doctor Franciscus. Additionally, there are numerous other theories which may explain some details of the main story: knowledge is a power, selling soul to the devil, and Prometheus myth. Furthermore, they are all connected with the Frankenstein motif – being a divinity by setting some priorities. All in all, such a concept makes doctor Hugh Franciscus a Frankenstein of the modern time but with positive consequences.