Archive for October, 2012

Frankenstein Essay

Posted October 31, 2012 By Jandy

My essay from the Coursera section about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein:

On the surface, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein does not appear to be a feminist book. The women in the novel don’t appear often and are sexless and insipid for the most part. The strongest woman is Justine who is falsely convicted of murdering the youngest Frankenstein brother. Even she goes along with the men. She warrants that she is not guilty, but concedes to the conviction without further demur. These are not strong women portrayed in Frankenstein.Women wanting to be equal with men in business, politics, medicine, etc., are often sidetracked when they decide to have children. They have the physical responsibility and the health risks of pregnancy. It was common for women and/or their infants to die in childbirth. Also, women are perceived as the main nurturer while the man is the provider for a family. It is usually true that even when two parents share responsibility for child and home care, the woman usually does more of those tasks.Frankenstein by Mary ShellyIn this novel, the monster is not birthed by a woman. Shelley’s monster is created instead. Although this first monster is a failure, the procedure could be the first step is freeing women from the physical process of pregnancy. If Frankenstein had carried on his experiments – perhaps even with the creation of a partner for the monster – his techniques would have improved. The next creation would not have been as horrific since he could have learned from his mistakes. Frankenstein’s process could eventually have relieved women of the responsibility and risks of childbirth.

Frankenstein flees when he sees his creation. He refuses to take responsibility. Most women care for their babies willingly, no matter what. This man can’t. The creation of life could have freed women in the future. Instead, Frankenstein rejects that possibility. This portrays the strength of women and a subtle sense of feminism in Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Citation: Youngquist, Paul. “Frankenstein: The Mother, the Daughter, and the Monster.” Philological Quarterly 70, 3 (Summer 1991): 339-359.

The More Things Change…

Posted October 25, 2012 By Jandy

MLA Logo

The Journal of the Medical Library Association has a special supplement issue this month to celebrate their centennial. It contains articles from past issues. I want to quote the article written in 1918 by Sir William Osler, M.D. regarding librarians:

“…No man in the community requires a more comprehensive and thorough education. All knowledge is his province. A common tap for the waters of wisdom, he should not perhaps know everything, but he should know where everything may be found…He is the badly salaried intellect of the community and, if fortunate enough to be able to suffer fools gladly, he leads a life of surprising usefulness. And let us not forget other important qualifications – an ability to manage a business as complicated as a department shop, and a knowledge of men and a gift of manners that will enable him to drive is Committee or Council without strain on bit or rein…”

(italics mine)

So things just don’t change, do they?

Original citation:

Osler, W. (1918). The science of librarianship. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, 7(4), 70-4.

Current reprint citation:

Osler, W. (1918). The science of librarianship. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 100 (4 Suppl), A.

Earworm Redux

Posted October 11, 2012 By Jandy

This is for those of you who haven’t been trapped inside a car on a long trip with small children. If you don’t know “Down By the Bay”, here’s a chance to learn it yourself. I have wonderful memories of a Hilton Head trip almost 20 years ago. I don’t know how many verses we invented during that trip, but every time I hear this song, I’m transported back to that summer.

Make your own rhymes – instead of a “whale with a polka dot tail”, find something just as ridiculous. Remember, you have been warned…


Posted October 10, 2012 By Jandy

Down by the bay
Where the watermelons grow,
Back to my home,
I dare not go,
Cuz if I do, my momma will say,
Did you ever see a whale with a polka tail?
Down by the bay.

Don’t ask.

And you’re welcome…

Dracula – Coursera Essay

Posted October 4, 2012 By Jandy

Dracula by Bram StokerWe read Bram Stoker’s Dracula for our third selection. Here is my essay:


Bram Stoker has infused his novel Dracula with shadows to add in the buildup of the horror of the story. One image he uses extremely well is that of mist and fog.An image of mist and low clouds or fog immediately brings stealth and cover to mind. When the men go looking for the vampire, they encounter mist many times in their search. The mist is a representation of their quest. A foggy mind struggles to get a clear vision or to think clearly. Stoker uses this imagery to increase the frightening mood.

Mist can seep in through small cracks. Dracula changes into mist when he slips into a building to feed on a human. This adds another sense of creepiness; the reader can remember the times he has seen fog roil through an open door.

When they return to Transylvania, the men know the Count is using the fog and weather to cover the ship carrying his coffin. It is a powerful tool for Dracula. Each time Stoker uses it, another layer of despair is added to his tale.

The mist also works with the religious theme Stoker uses throughout Dracula. Mist covers things like a shroud or veil does. The characters each learn to carry a crucifix to keep the vampire away. Mina Harker is a godly woman, praying all the time the men are hunting the vampire. Religion is the light to dispel the mist. In the Christian Bible, 2 Corinthians 3:16 states “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” When they destroy Count Dracula, the mist dissipates, along with the darkness that surrounds them.

Mist and fog add to the eerieness of Bram Stoker’s novel. He uses it effectively, even in the end when it disappears with the Count.


Politics – Who Should Get My Vote?

Posted October 3, 2012 By Jandy

The first debate for the U.S. presidential candidates is going on right now. I was confused before I started watching. Both talk about economics, middle class Americans, taxes, and health care and how to improve it. Both say the other one’s solution won’t work.

OK, so I’ve been listening to them for over an hour. So far what I’ve heard is “I propose…” “That won’t work and here’s why. I propose…” “Well, that won’t work and here’s why. But what I’m really saying is…” “No, that’s not what you said. But I think…”

In other words, confusion and double talk.

And no, don’t try to tell me which candidate I should choose. I’ll figure it out on my own.

(OK, now I’m going back to reading other students’ essays about Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother.)