For my third event, I attended Relay for Life at Loyola; it is a massive fundraiser that lasts for weeks and finally culminates in an all-night event during which groups circle a track in order to boost the battle against cancer. It was one of the most depressing events I attended all semester; having lost friends and family to cancer, the different presentations truly hit home. During the vigil in which everyone circled the track at once holding candles in silence, they played a Powerpoint on the wall with different pictures of victims of cancer; just the sheer volume of people there, all struck by the gravity of the disease, was both chilling and heart-warming at the same time. Hundreds of people attended, and it was wonderful to see such an enthusiastic turn-out for such a great cause. It was also a celebration of survivors, however, and a celebration of life in general, which perfectly related both to Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and to “One's-Self I Sing,” and “I Sing the Body Electric” by Walt Whitman. Both Whitman poems exalt the idea of humanity, and how glorious we are as human beings. He asserts that life is one of the most precious things one can have, and that we should celebrate everything about it, from the wonder of our bodies to the miracle of the way our minds work. While “I Sing the Body Electric” is the more broadly directed poem, “One’s-Self I Sing” is meant to be a celebration of one’s own body, and how one should truly celebrate their own life before they begin to celebrate others.
Frankenstein, however, evokes deeper questions about life; it details the attempts of a scientist to ascend to the level of God himself and create life, though it is not out of a celebration of this miracle. He succeeds, only to find that his monster, though sentient, is wholly repulsive, and he shudders to think that he had violated nature so. It emphasizes, in this way, the need to celebrate all forms of life, be it beautiful or hideous. Frankenstein’s monster was intelligent, if not a bikini model, and his isolation from society and the disrespect of his life drove him to violate the sanctity of life even further as he turned to senseless murder to gain his revenge.
Dr. Frankenstein neglected his creation, and shunned him, and the results of this were a miserable creature and a miserable existence looming in the future for Frankenstein as the creature attempted to recreate the isolation that it felt in Frankenstein’s life. It is repeatedly emphasized that though Frankenstein’s monster may be an abomination against God and against nature, he is still full of life and deserves all of the same rights as we do.