Module A – Texts in Time

Frankenstein & Blade runner
Pride and Prejudice & Letters To Alice..
John Donne & W;t
In this elective students will explore how
meanings of a pair of texts can be shaped and
reshaped by considering the nature of the
connections between them. Exploration of the
connections between the texts will enhance
understanding of the values and contexts of
each text. Relationships between these texts
may be implicit or explicit. Connections may be
established through direct or indirect
references, contexts, values, ideas and the use
of language forms and features.
In this elective students compare how the
treatment of similar content in a pair of texts
composed in different times and contexts may
reflect changing values and perspectives. By
considering the texts in their contexts and
comparing values, ideas and language forms
and features, students come to a heightened
understanding of the meaning and significance
of each text.
In your answer you will be assessed on how well
 Demonstrate understanding of the meanings of
a pair of texts when considered together
 Evaluate the relationships between texts and
 Organise, develop and express ideas using
language appropriate to audience, purpose and
“These responses embedded an evaluation of
the relationship between text and context in the
analysis of the texts”
“incorporated an analysis of the ways in which a
comparative study invited deeper
understanding of the concepts suggested by the
“clear understanding of how context influenced
the values and ideas in both texts”
‘A deeper understanding of disruption and identity
emerges from considering the parallels between
Frankenstein and Bladerunner’
Compare how these texts explore disruption and
 ‘A deeper understanding of relationships and identity
emerges from pursuing connections between Pride and
Prejudice and Letters To Alice on First Reading Jane
Compare how these texts explore relationships and
 ‘A deeper understanding of suffering and identity
emerges from pursuing the connections between
Donne’s poetry and W;t.
Compare how these texts explore suffering and identity
It doesn’t matter which elective you are doing
as both are essentially requiring the same
points. They are:
Values of each composer
Context of each composer- in other words,
why did he/she create the text
How does the composer present his/her
values which have been a result of the context
Introduction- that specifically shows how you will
ANSWER this question
Paragraph 1- Value 1, why (context) and how of
your first text, usually the first chronologically
Paragraph 2- value 1, why and how of your second
text. Link the 2 texts through the change in context
which usually causes a change in value
Paragraph 3- value 2, why and how of your first
Paragraph 4- value 2, why and how of your second
Paragraph 1- value 1, context and how but in a
more integrated manner with discussion from both
of your texts
Paragraph 2- value 2…….
Paragraph 3- value 3
This is a much more sophisticated manner of
approaching the question but needs practice and
thorough understanding of the 2 texts.
Analyse how Frankenstein and Bladerunner
imaginatively portray individuals who
challenge the established values of their time.
Analyse how the central values portrayed in
Pride and Prejudice are creatively reshaped in
Letters To Alice on First Reading Jane Austen.
Analyse how the central values portrayed in
Donne’s poetry are creatively reshaped in W;t
Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein and Ridley
Scott’s Bladerunner both serve as thoughtful
reflections of their own context through their
portrayal of individuals who challenge the
traditional values of their times and those who
attempt to uphold them. Both composers have
provided their societies with a warning about
the dangerous direction of mankind in light of
developments in science and technology that
were compromising the values and morals that
Scott and Shelley believed to be of great
Mary Shelley’s seminal novel Frankenstein and Ridley
Scott’s cult classic film “Bladerunner” express the
contextual concerns of the post industrial and post
modern eras respectively. Shelley’s novel operates as a
Gothic expression of the conflicting paradigms of
Romantic idealism and Enlightenment rationalism.
Scott’s film functions as a response to a post modern
period predicted upon the dislocation of boundaries
in which logocentric truths are fractured and blurred.
Both composers, however, imaginatively portray
individuals who challenge the established values of
their time, doing so with respect to the values and
attitudes of their own idiosyncratic contexts
Reacting to the period of the Enlightenment in which the belief had
developed that science would provide logical reasoning for any
question, Shelley has constructed a central character whom
embodies the characteristics of the arrogant and ambitious scientist.
With developments in galvinism and medicine occurring in the late
eighteenth century, Victor Frankenstein reflects the growing trend
of scientists who intended on permeating the accepted boundaries
of human limitation in the name of science. Shelley regarded the
faith in science as a dangerous progression from the previous
dependence on nature and religion, and thus Victor’s moral and
physical decline is reflective of the composer’s concerns of her time.
The highly ambitious and excited language of Chapter 4 can be
contrasted with the disappointment and disgust characterising
Chapter 5 to reveal the decline of the individual immediately after
the creation of the monster, “ a new species will bless me as its
creator and source” quickly becomes “with an anxiety that almost
amounted to agony” as Shelley indicates the physical and
emotional price paid by the individual hoping to challenge what
she believed as the traditional values of religion.
Ridley Scott similarly warns twentieth century America
about the dangers of technological progression and
commercialism through his portrayal of a morally corrupt
mankind. Tyrell, the owner and creator of the replicants
exemplified the traits of the American government, as
capitalism was promoted and expanded at the cost of the
lower class and the environment. The ecological decay and
the Hades-like atmosphere surrounding the Tyrell
“pyramid” provide examples of the consequences of the
government’s decision to leave pollution output
unregulated. With money and prosperity as the primary
focus of the Tyrell Corporation, he is conveyed as god-like
and also myopic through opulent clothing, a temple-like
home and a strong eye motif Scott sustains throughout the
film. In neglecting the environment and natural
surroundings, Scott perceives Tyrell as the embodiment of
the government and the upper class who choose to go
against the belief in the importance and value of the
natural environment
Shelley’s personal context is also explored through her epistolary
novel in the characterisation of Frankenstein’s monster. Losing
her mother during childbirth and confronting her father’s
decision to remarry and ultimately abandon her, Shelley
explores the consequential search for identity that she must
undertake as a result of his decision to discard the family values
that promote love and affection to all mankind. This personal
context is clearly reflected through the monster’s endeavours to
find a place in society after being isolated by his creator. Shelley
incorporated intertextuality in the reading of Paradise Lost in
order to challenge the responder to consider who and what is
deserving of the love and compassion that is witnessed in the De
Lacey family and expected from her own father. ‘I, like Adam,
was apparently limited by no link to any other being in
existence’. In identifying with Adam, in having the ability to
think, feel and empathise, Shelley is not only challenging her
audience to consider what is it that makes a person valuable but
also demonstrate the consequences of science and technology
gone wrong. The characterisation of Frankenstein’s monster
represents an individual purposefully constructed by Shelley in
order to challenge her family and her society.
The same consequences are examined in Scott’s film through the portrayal
of the replicants, who are repeatedly dehumanised and disempowered by
the humans through names such as ‘it’, ‘experiment’, ‘skin jobs’, and even
the term ‘retirement’ for what could be categorised as murder. The
passionate Roy can be juxtaposed with the recalcitrant and seemingly
lifeless Deckard to suggest that the future is a place in which the created
will ironically be more human than creators. The economic policies of
Reagan that allowed for only the wealthy to prosper and the additional
termination of social security allowed for the disparity between wealthy
and poor America to increase. Scott recognised this disconcerting
movement away from a belief that all classes of society were equal and
worthy of government attention and thus his humans and replicants have
been conditioned to demonstrate this point. The individuals within the
human community are conveyed as old fashioned in their clothing and
hairstyles including Deckard as a stereotypical 1930’s film noir detective.
When these individuals are juxtaposed with the technologically advanced
environment which they operate, Scott is clearly demonstrating Aldous
Huxley’s philosophy that ‘technological progress has merely provided us
with more efficient means of going backwards’. Ultimately it is the
replicants, just like Shelley’s monster who are able to empathise and feel,
to the point where they are required to teach the humans about the
traditional values they were forgetting. Roy’s challenge to Deckard to
consider that ‘it’s quite an experience to live in fear isn’t it?’ again
reinforces Scott’s thoughtful characterisation of Roy in order to question
the direction of mankind.
In 1784, German philosopher Immanuel Kant said
that man was emerging from a period of
immaturity. This was not caused by a lack of
intelligence but rather a ‘lack of determination and
courage to use intelligence without another’s
Sapere ande! Have the courage to use your own
Man now began to use their intellect to discover
the laws of God and nature- this was the quest of
the Enlightenment
This use of intellect was not favoured by everyone
Shelley’s family life
with parents
Life with Percy
Enlightenment and
the growth in
rationalism and
Revolutions- French
and American
Scott’s background in
President Reagan and
his policies-’greed is
Cold War
New technologies
such as robotics
Tiger economies
Shelley reacts to the Enlightenment and is critical
of the changes that are being brought to society.
Her novel becomes a warning to man about what
is possible without any restraint
Scott’s text is the result of unheeded warnings and
disregard for natural laws and processes
The texts are separated by approximately 164 years
and both have experienced a number of revisions.
In order for Shelley’s ideas to be relevant to the
1980s audience, a more acceptable text form needs
to be used.
Man’s obsession with science and technology
to further his need for fame and ego or for
The need to nurture a child and assist in
his/her growth towards adulthood through
guidance and not relying on nature and
What is it to be human? What qualities are
‘What is born into the world is an unfinished sketch,
without character or decisive feature impressed upon
it. There is for the most part no essential difference
between the child of the lord and the porter… various
external accidents, unlimited as to the period of their
commencement , modify in different ways the
elements of the animal frame. Everything in the
universe is linked and united together.’ – William
Godwin – An Inquiry Concerning Political Justice 1793
‘A great proportion of the misery that wanders in
hideous forms around the world is allowed to rise from
the negligence of parents.’ - Mary Wollestonecroft – A
Vindication of the Rights of Women 1792
‘I’d become increasingly alarmed about
environmental matters….. Every day I was
thinking where are the owls? Where are the trees?
Where is the fresh water? So those ecological
concerns became critical to the first draft.’
-Hampton Fancher, script writer Bladerunner (long
term environmental issues including smog from
industrialisation, deforestation, acid rain, water
pollution, increased population and urbanisation,
extinction of animal and plants were becoming
relevant in the 1980’s
‘Bladerunner was always meant to be cautionary.
For instance, Bladerunner was shot during the
dawn of Reaganism. And I was flabbergasted by
Ronald Reagan and everything he stood for. So,
the cruel politics portrayed in the film were my
rebuttal of Reaganism in a sense’
Hampton Fancher, script writer for Bladerunner
(Reaganism reflected the ‘greed is good’
philosophy of the 1980’s. It included deregulation
of the economy, easing of taxes for the wealthy and
removal of social security for the working class.)
Creature: I remembered Adam’s supplication
to his creator. But where was mine?
Creature: …fallen angel
Creature: Like Adam I was apparently united
by no link to any being in existence
Creature refers to pandaemoneum
Roy: Fiery the Angels fell… deep thunder
rolled around their shores….. Burning with the
fires of Orc…
Walton: I shall kill no albatross…. Or if I
should come back to you as worn and woeful
as the ‘Ancient Mariner’
Walton: I am going to unexplored regions to
‘the land of mist and snow’
Victor: Because he knows a frightful fiend doth
close behind him tread (Coleridge)
Roy: I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t
Roy: I’ve done questionable things..’
Victor: became a
thing such as even
Dante could not have
Inferno/Hades of the
opening scene
Candles in Tyrell’s
room suggestive of
earth as Hades
‘sublime and magnificent scenes afforded me the
greatest consolation that I was capable of
receiving…… they congregated round me; the
unstained snowy mountain top, the glittering
pinnacle, the pine woods, and the ragged bare
ravine, the eagle soaring amidst the clouds- they
all gathered round me, and bade me be at peace’
‘….spoke of a power mighty as omnipotence- and I
ceased to fear, or to bend before any being less
almighty than that which had been created and
ruled the elements, here displayed in their most
terrific guise…….But it was rendered sublime by
the mighty Alps, whose white and shiny pyramids
towered above all…..
Tyrell’s pyramid dominates the skyline with its
gold façade. It is a 700 storey high skyscraper, shot
from below to emphasis its dominance. The
building has a façade like an eagle spread over a
pyramid that was once inhabited by a Mayan sun
god. The building’s design, which references an
ancient religion, seems to suggest that the Tyrell
Corporation is the new religion…..Tyrell lives
alone at the top of the Tyrell Corporation in a
classical looking space that signifies
superiority…The privileged few live alone in tall
deserted buildings
Tyrell’s world is artificial, synthetic and unnatural
Whereas Victor seeks the spark of life in the beauty
of nature by going to the mountain, Tyrell has
almost extinguished this spark by living in the
dead pyramid/mountain- a man made

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