In all three of this weeks readings, we learn about the sacredness of the human body. Mary Shelly and Walt Whitman both understand the power that we as humans have, and how often we do not utilize it. “One’s-Self I Sing,” “I Sing the Body Electric,” and Frankenstein all make very strong points about the importance of the body and the mind.
Walt Whitman’s “One’s-Self I Sing” is a short poem ending with Whitman praising the “modern man.” At first, I struggled greatly when trying to take meaning out of this poem, but after re-reading the poem, I feel that Walt Whitman is trying to say how mankind has evolved, and now man’s ambition is the most powerful force in the world.
“I Sing the Body Electric” is a poem praising our natural form. Walt Whitman talks about how our bodies so closely relate to our soul. This poem reminded me of a cheesy saying that my aunt always tells me: “Your body is a temple.” However, when stated in the eloquent fashion used by Walt Whitman, is makes me feel that caring for the body is caring for the soul.
The second half of Frankenstein shows how mankind can lose contact with nature. Dr. Frankenstein has created an un-natural monster and it destroys his life. Frankenstein’s monster is the perfect counterpoint to the two poems. While the poems praise the natural, the monster is a perfect example of how man can overstep their boundaries and create evil. Though the monster shows more human qualities than the doctor, if it was never created there would not have been an issue to begin with.
In my opinion, the greatest quality of mankind is the natural beauty of the body and what it is capable of. We must constantly strive to better our minds and bodies, but as Frankenstein warns, we must pay attention to some of the dangers of science. It is our natural design and power that makes us great, and we must not lose track of that. All three of these readings give great insight to these points.