Technology and Identity

Identity: Self / Other


Assignment 1

Describe how the monster is treated by others in Frankenstein -- by all the people he encounters, from Victor on. Given that he was, as he tells us, born with a good heart, why do people expect him to be aggressive? Is it possible that people are projecting their fears onto the monster? If so, can you think of any equivalents in our life and times for this "monster": on whom do we project?



Assignment 2

Erving Goffman's Stigma describes each individual's sense of being different somehow from every other human being. In what ways does Mary Shelley's monster come to find out that he differs from everyone else? That is, does his sense of difference and exclusion come only from interactions with people, or do the writings he reads have anything to do with it? Sure, he feels different because he was produced by technology, but does he feel different because of using a technology -- reading, for instance? Does reading or viewing movies make people feel different and excluded, and, if so, how?

Read the excerpt from Great Expectations: under what circumstances does Pipp first achieve consciousness of himself as a self? What has happened to his identity at the moment that he first becomes aware? Is his situation in any way like the monster's in Frankenstein?