2799: Frankenstein Claim Permutations
|Frankenstein Claim Permutations|
Title text: When I began trying to form a new claim by stitching together these parts in such an unnatural way, some called me mad.
Frankenstein is an 1818 novel by Mary Shelley about a young scientist named Victor Frankenstein who creates a sapient, humanoid lifeform through an unorthodox experiment, and then rejects his creation, which eventually turns on him. The novel is a classic in both the horror and speculative fiction genres, and has been argued to represent the first major example of true science fiction in literature. The lifeform he creates is never named in the original novel, only being referred to as "the Creature".
In the two centuries since the novel's publication, the story and its characters have been adapted and reused in various forms, and the term "Frankenstein" has come to be commonly used to refer to the creature, rather than the scientist who created him. Literary didacts are often quick to point out this error, but are generally ignored, as the name has become accepted, common usage. The debate has become something of a meme. The Creature himself, at one point, refers to himself as effectively being Frankenstein's son, which could imply he wishes to carry the same name; at the same time, Doctor Frankenstein does not treat his creation with such a level of humanity and speaks as if the Creature is completely nameless. To this day the debate continues among literary analysts whether the Creature should remain nameless for these reasons. These disputes have previously been touched upon in 1589: Frankenstein and 2604: Frankenstein Captcha
The title text points out that he's "stitching together" various claims to create something new, and people consider him mad as a result. This refers to the notion of Frankenstein's creation having been stitched together from dead bodies, and Dr. Frankenstein himself being denounced as a madman. It should be noted that these perceptions come from later adaptations (most notably the 1931 film) rather than the original novel, but have become closely associated with the Frankenstein mythos. Following similar meta-textual logic, the title "Frankenstein Claim Permutations" is a double entendre, meaning both (1) permutations of claims regarding the novel Frankenstein and (2) permutations of claims of a Frankenstein nature (i.e. a franken-claim) in that they are formed by haphazardly joining together different parts.
This comic explores the possible permutations that can be made by matching the names of Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, and '?' (for the unnamed monster) to the positions of author, creator, and monster. The positions are indicated in the drawing by a circle to the left of the book for the author, a box on the left-hand page for the creator, and a labeled picture of the monster lying under a sheet (the traditional image of the monster before being animated) for the monster. Three elements can be arranged in six different ways, as the first element can be placed in any of the three positions, the second in either of the two remaining, and the last in the only remaining space, giving 3 x 2 x 1 options. The same concept was used in 1613: The Three Laws of Robotics, where Randall depicted six possible permutations of the Three Laws of Robotics.
|"No, the monster in Mary Shelley's book is unnamed. Frankenstein is the doctor who created him."||This is the normal claim||MS-F-?||This is the claim that is generally considered correct. The POV character of the novel is, in fact, Victor Frankenstein. The monster is never given a name, although some fans name him Adam because of a line he speaks to Victor: "'I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy". The only error in this claim is referring to Victor as a doctor. (In the novel, Victor has not finished his schooling, returning home before finishing his education at the University of Ingolstadt.)|
|"No, the monster in Mary Shelley's novel is named Frankenstein."||Also common, and not worth getting mad about IMO||MS-?-F||This is a common misconception, but Randall believes it's not something to get upset about, either because he has decided it's not a hill worth dying on or that, since everyone calls the monster "Frankenstein", it is de facto for all intents and purposes his name.
Randall has previously touched upon this in comics 1589: Frankenstein and 2604: Frankenstein Captcha. This permutation places the '?' in the creator position, and so avoids talking about the doctor's name at all. Alternatively, the statement could be taken as an argument that Frankenstein should be considered the "monster" because he created and then abandoned a sentient being.
|"No, Frankenstein is the name of the author. The monster Mary Shelley created is unnamed."||At a glance this could pass for one of the normal claims||F-MS-?||This statement, Randal says, is so much like the first two that he says it could pass for one of the normal claims. He could also mean that while slightly stretching the meaning of those words, Mary Shelley did "create" the monster (as it's a character in the book she wrote) and Frankenstein is the "author" (creator) of the monster. Alternately, one can consider the story a mostly first hand account of Victor's exploits, as it is initially told to the book's opening narrator (the otherwise sidelined Captain Robert Walton), with Mary having created Monster, Victor, the Captain and all others within the novel (of the Captain's tale of Victor's tale of the apparent nature of the Monster).
This could also be a reference to a tweet featuring a photo of a collection of classic books in which "Frankenstein" is printed in the position and format of the author's name for the other books of the collection, while "Mary Shelley" is printed in the title position.
|"No one knows who wrote the novel about Doctor Mary Shelley creating the monster Frankenstein."||I would read this book||?-MS-F||This statement combines the second claim (that Frankenstein is the monster's name) with the third claim (that Mary Shelley created the monster). This time, however, it is claimed that the author is unknown, while the monster is named. A novel about author Mary Shelley getting a doctorate and actually creating the creature she wrote about could be an interesting twist on the story, hence Randall's comment that he would read this book.|
|"No, Frankenstein is the name of the doctor. The monster he created is Mary Shelley."||Fully chaotic||?-F-MS||This claim is similar to the others, in that it twists the ordering of the components (author, doctor, monster), but this time it gets the doctor's name correct whilst insinuating that Mary Shelley was the monster he created. This is described as "fully chaotic", likely because the idea of the real-life human author being created by a doctor in the story that was written by her is much more absurd and much further from any solid literary footing than the others.|
|"No, the doctor who creates Mary Shelley in Frankenstein's novel doesn't have a name."||F-?-MS||Possible Doctor Who reference.|
[A two-column table.]
|[Open book. Left page says "F", right page shows the monster labeled "?". Arrow pointing to book says "by MS".]
"No, the monster in Mary Shelley's book is unnamed. Frankenstein is the doctor who created him."
|This is the normal claim|
|[Open book. Left page says "?", right page shows the monster labeled "F". Arrow pointing to book says "by MS".]
"No, the monster in Mary Shelley's novel is named Frankenstein."
|Also common, and not worth getting mad about IMO|
|[Open book. Left page says "MS", right page shows the monster labeled "?". Arrow pointing to book says "by F".]
"No, Frankenstein is the name of the author. The monster Mary Shelley created is unnamed."
|At a glance this could pass for one of the normal claims|
|[Open book. Left page says "MS", right page shows the monster labeled "F". Arrow pointing to book says "by ?".]
"No one knows who wrote the novel about Doctor Mary Shelley creating the monster Frankenstein."
|I would read this book|
|[Open book. Left page says "F", right page shows the monster labeled "MS". Arrow pointing to book says "by ?".]
"No, Frankenstein is the name of the doctor. The monster he created is Mary Shelley."
|[Open book. Left page says "?", right page shows the monster labeled "MS". Arrow pointing to book says "by F".]|
"No, the doctor who creates Mary Shelley in Frankenstein's novel doesn't have a name."