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標題: 瑪麗雪萊《科學怪人》中的符號經濟學
The Economy of Signs in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
作者: 陳彥銘
關鍵字: Creation As the Outset of Catastrophe;瑪麗雪萊《科學怪人》中的符號經濟學;The Monster's Genesis;The Real Monster
出版社: 外國語文學系

At the first sight of the name of Frankenstein, many readers may mistake it for the name of the monster. Such misunderstanding somewhat corresponds to the interaction or even the duplication between the creator Frankenstein and the monster in the novel. Frankenstein's application of human knowledge, his zeal for the creation of a new being, and his infusion of the physical and spiritual essence into the dead bodies are the inevitable outcome of the domination of the symbolic system. The twisting process of creation followed by the twisted mentality makes Frankenstein look more like the monster. However, in his sympathy toward other creatures, his master of human language, and his need for companionship, the monster is perhaps more human than his creator Frankenstein. Or, we can say that the monster represents our most organic and natural “self”, and his miserable experience symbolizes the process of the civilization and cultivation of human beings. It is the process by which the arbitrary laws of the symbolic system intrude the human consciousness, construct artificially the world of desire, and dominate the construction of human identities. From another perspective, the monster represents the subversion of or antagonism to the omnipotent system of signs. Actually, such subversion or antagonism is also the inevitable part of this system.
Shelley's novel reflects or represents the same economic moment Marx describes, the moment in which the dominant mode of production becomes a socially symbolic act. The ostensibly rational process of production is made up of irrational elements characterized by the image of alienation. The most obvious representation of alienation in Shelley's text lies in the relation of Frankenstein's creature to his creator and to the entire world around him. Such alienation from nature and from other men, through the mirror structure, actually has a great impact on the construction of human identity. Thus, the mirror-image seems to be the threshold of the visible world. And, the shaping of the monster's identity resembles vividly that of human beings', which is the end product of the symbolic system. In other words, the formation of the “I” comes from the individual's projection onto and identification with the sphere of “Other” that is dominated by the sign system. Then, all of consciousnesses, identities, or desires are nothing but the epiphany of the lofty and almighty system of signs.
Appears in Collections:外國語文學系所

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