Frankenstein and Boule De Suif – Differences between romanticism and realism as aesthetic movements
Romanticism and Frankenstein
The romanticism in Frankenstein is surely visible through the mastery of the plot where events meet with drama. There is an intriguing structure of different events that take place in this novel. Mary Shelley has told the story very beautifully through words and metaphorical comparisons of events. The novel consists of metaphorical meaning and exaggeration in expression.
Romanticism prevails as a literary movement in this novel where the reader is forced to create images and visionary imaginations to feel the real essence of the event that unfolds. Mary Shelley has captured the sublime of moments and has represented them through words. When the audience reads the text, she is able to create a collective imagination to understand new ways of interpreting the world and the human beings of the society in which she lives. The more personal the experiences, the better the representation. However, the story of Frankenstein was not the personal experience of the author, but still, she was able to elaborate this romantic text with initiatory gothic elements to make it more fascinating and redefining the text.
The novel portrays the search for the unusual, that is, Victor Frankenstein’s quest to create a living organism out of something raw. It reflects romanticism by striving for the creation of a human-like object. Victor Frankenstein wants to be like God and creator of the unknown. Hence, he finds it strange and exotic to be a dreamer willing to control the world with an unattainable idealization. Romanticism, however, in Frankenstein includes the fight against the norms of society, a set of discourses of limitations and borders. As a path, Victor Frankenstein wants to go beyond all limitations and borders, regardless of the duties assigned to him, to embody a divine character to achieve the impossible that led him to involve methods full of frustration and overreach. The novel explains the idea of imperfection and non-ideal availability of the solution to any social experiment that is carried out.
Romanticism suggests that the nature and plot of a story are of great importance for a better understanding of the textual situation and the establishment of the physical qualities of the characters in the novel, and therefore the same is true of Frankenstein. Frankenstein’s characters will unfold as readers continue reading. Each time the reader reads a successive chapter, a new character will appear.
The plot and setting in Frankenstein symbolize the essentiality of the relative themes in the novel. As a romantically gothic novel, Frankenstein’s setting is Orkney. Orkney is an exotic setting with dark, arid, harsh and grayish environmental conditions. It’s more of a dirty and dusty plot. In the novel, Victor Frankenstein and his family live in a beautiful world of harsh realities, while the monster is created in Orkney. The author uses imagery to create a contrast between the Swiss and Orkney hills to help the art of matching the characters and setting of the plot.
Considering the main focus of the novel, that is, the monster, an object that lacks speech, physical abilities, and faces rejection multiple times, it tries very hard to develop a relationship with humans from society, environment, but he soon realizes the differences between himself and the rest.
The novel leads not to such a happy ending, but to a powerful message that there is no such thing as acceptance of the unusual. It is completely impossible to fight against the established roles and norms of society. The novel belongs to an exemplary form of romantic tenure, highly stylized with a more fanciful than realistic approach. The story is an allegory of the original emotions and experiences of romantic writers with the possibility of two genres. It allows one to examine oneself, an expression of wishing for the hardest, that is, the impossible. Shelley does not philosophize about her own experiences in the text, but instead leaves readers questions about an ethical and moral quest.
Realism and Boule de Suif
Boule de Suif, also known as the ball of fat, is quite different from Frankenstein. In this story, there are more dominant characters with strong characterization and easy viewing. There is a presence of metonymic contiguity between the plot and the characters. Everything is fully defined.
Maupassant starts from developing a vision of the plot during the 19th century. It is the first moments of the Prussian invasion when troops of French citizens began to escape towards the coast. The author’s strong rhetorical tools, that is, images and the development of photographic memories, allow him to present the power of emotions in this masterpiece. The author provides readers with meaning for visualization. Maupassant builds a realistic social hierarchy within the carriage which is later outraged by the tension created. The hierarchy includes two nuns who are much less involved in any kind of scandal, a prostitute i.e. Boule de Suif who wins through immoral ethics and means, a democrat who follows a leftist ideology and a few people from socially respectable elite. But this whole social hierarchy collapses when the selfless Boule de Suif offers them food and drink and then everyone is on an equal footing.
Boule de Suif’s character symbolizes that he portrays a very deep message throughout history that is understood by his actions and not by his words. Maupassant detailed an incisive description of her as a prostitute in her text. The author also unfolds numerous scandals faced by people on the bus despite their social value in the hierarchy. It seems the elite people don’t care about her respect and honor when they accept Boule de Suif’s food offering and then force her to commit an immoral act as the only way to be rescued from the Prussian army. Maupassant explains the characteristic of greed and selfishness among people in the real world. This is the realistic view of human nature as corrupting and arrogant, which does not also assume the ground of high morality. Boule de Suif’s promiscuous state leads to confusion when she is confronted with possessing moral codes of ethics. He has rules set for her and stands up for what she believes in. Her profession, on the one hand, is to bring the pleasure of utilitarianism to a large number of people, but on the other hand, she refuses to lie with an enemy and serve him in order to free herself and her companions. Here, she seems to be morally concerned.
In many stages of this story, realism is expressed in terms of manipulation and emotional danger. There is a comparison between the acts of low morality and the acts of increasing morality of all social classes. Maupassant wants to alarm readers into recognizing the ostentation of society using a convoluted realistic methodology. Maupassant uses language as a symbol of emotions, characterization and piety.
Boule de Suif also takes great emotional damage when he satisfies the enemy’s needs by pushing his teammates, but still receives nothing in return except shame and ridicule for being immoral. She is the antihero of the story, the weakest and not at all powerful. The author coined the name “Boule de Suif” for her being a soft, fat, short, but marginal prostitute.