Frankenstein p.107 – end

After Frankenstein’s meeting with his creation, he knows he must create a female creature as well or suffer the loss of everyone he loves. He journeys to England to get the information he needs to create a second creature, and brings Clerval as his companion. They travel across England and eventually visit Scotland. Frankenstein, knowing he can’t postpone his task any longer, leaves Clerval and finds a solitary island to complete his work. However, he has a sudden realization that his second creation might refuse to fulfill the promise of the first, and that she may in fact destroy all of mankind. Therefore, when he is visited by his creation, he destroys all of his work. Frankenstein’s creation tells Frankenstein that he will visit him on his wedding night and make his life miserable. The creature then kills Clerval and Frankenstein, washing up on the shores of Ireland, is imprisoned for the crime. He falls ill and his father comes to see him. After his recovery he is found innocent and travels home with his father to marry Elizabeth. He believes his creation will come to kill him on his wedding night, so he takes every precaution against this, but instead the creation kills Elizabeth. Frankenstein returns home, grief-stricken, only to see his father die of shock. Then there is nothing left for him to do but pursue and kill his creation. It is in this pursuit that he found himself on Walton’s ship and recounted his story. Unfortunately, he weakened and died before he was able to get his revenge. Walton’s crew forces him to turn back from his journey so that they can go home to their families rather than pursuing glory with the danger of death. On the return journey, Walton enters the room where Frankenstein lies dead to find the creation standing over him. The creation says that he was driven to kill by an impulse he could not control, and that he feels great remorse, and will now go far north to burn himself and leave no trace that he ever existed.


I was particularly interested in this phrase from the reading:

“‘…Are you then so easily turned from your design? Did you not call this a glorious expedition? And wherefore was it glorious? Not because the way was smooth and placid as a southern sea, but because it was full of dangers and terror; because, at every new incident, your fortitude was to be called forth, and your courage exhibited; because danger and death surrounded it, and these you were brave to overcome. For this was it a glorious, for this was it an honourable undertaking. You were hereafter to be hailed as the benefactors of your species; your names adored, as belonging to brave men who encountered death for honour, and the benefit of mankind.’”

This intrigued me because it is spoken by Frankenstein, who claims to have learned the folly of ambition, but encourages these men to seek glory despite the dangers. I am not sure what to make of it. There is clearly a difference between men who seek to explore an arctic region and a man who tries to create life, but both have similar motivations. I don’t think Shelley would discourage all forms of innovation and courage, but she does show the dangers of how far humans will go to be honored and remembered. Even after all he has been through, Frankenstein can’t relinquish his ideas about glory. Soon after giving this speech it is decided that the ship will indeed turn back, and Frankenstein dies.

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Final Essay Proposal

I want to research how alienation from the natural world contributes to the range of human action in response to anthropogenic climate change and environmental destruction. In most societies, people are physically, psychologically, and spiritually removed from the environment in which they live. This alienation makes people less likely to react to the increasing threat of climate change because they do not feel its effects as directly, and emotion is an important part of the process of converting moral thought to action. This is the most important issue of the twenty-first century because humans must act to mitigate climate change or the entire planet will be at risk.



I want to research how alienation from the natural world contributes to the range of human action in response to anthropogenic climate change and environmental destruction. Many indigenous cultures are deeply attached to the specific environments in which they live. Religious and spiritual beliefs incorporate specific landmarks and parts of the environment as deities or significant places, and members of the culture utilize an in-depth understanding of the ecosystem in which they live in order to obtain resources for survival. Therefore, if a dramatic change occurs in the environment, this culture will notice it and have a vested interest in rectifying it. In contrast, a culture whose religious beliefs are not strongly identified with a physical area (such as Christianity or Hinduism, which are practiced around the world) may have less reason to notice or care when their surrounding environment is degraded.

Similarly, people who depend on specific environmental conditions for survival (farmers, hunters, craftsmen who rely on natural materials) and obtain resources directly from their surrounding environment will experience environmental change much more quickly than people who rely on wages and commerce in order to get the basic necessities of life.

Lastly, people who are physically removed from the natural world because they live in cities, climate-controlled housing, and/or environmentally degraded areas are less likely to notice changes in the environment because they are physically removed from it, and they are less likely to care as long as their quality of life is sustained.

In order to test this hypothesis I will look at case studies of indigenous cultures, their relation to their physical environment, and the effects climate change has had on them. I will look at the correlation between connection to the natural world and environmentalist action to determine what causes people to “speak up” on this issue. I will research the meaning of alienation from the natural world, and the implications of this. I will also look at psychological research to determine what causes people to react to certain issues in certain ways, and what personal damage comes from being alienated from the natural world.



The connection between alienation, human psychology, and environmental action is the greatest issue of the twenty-first century because the way humans handle climate change will define the future of the planet. We are on track to destroy our planet, but in the United States, more people consider cyberattacks and tensions with Russia to be the greatest threat facing our planet than consider climate change to be the greatest threat, according to a PEW Research poll. In 2011, the United States was the world’s second greatest contributor of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. According to the same poll, African and Latin American countries are the most concerned about climate change.

Why are people in some countries more concerned about climate change than others? What factors influence individual perceptions of the dangers of climate change? What role does industrialization and alienation from the environment play in people’s perception of the dangers of climate change? How do individual perceptions of climate change affect a person’s likelihood to take action? It is possible that alienation from the natural world contributes to psychological issues, and changes the way that humans relate to each other or how they understand their place in the world. It is important that humans understand the possible effects of their continued separation from the natural world, especially in regards to anthropogenic climate change and environmental destruction.



In my research I only found one article that specifically dealt with the effects of alienation on climate change. “‘Wellbeing’: A Collateral Casualty of Modernity?” by Sandra Carlisle, Gregor Henderson, and Phil W. Hanlon discusses how alienation from the environment as well as the self and society leads people to identify more with self-serving and materialistic values than moral values, which lead people to care less about climate change. There is a greater wealth of research on the connection between modernity and alienation in general. Some articles discuss this link in philosophical terms, such as “The Rift in the Modern Mind: Tocqueville and Percy on the Rise of the Cartesian Self,” by Matthew Sitman and Brian Smith. I found an introduction to a book discussing how many thinkers reject the idea of alienation for various reasons (the book itself supports the idea of alienation and I am going to try and find it).

I found a variety of articles with differing opinions on the psychology and sociology of environmental action, some of which support my hypothesis that alienation from the natural world plays an important part and some of which don’t. I will use both, because I want to make sure not to cherry-pick sources or oversimplify the issue.

Overall, not many people have dealt with spiritual alienation specifically, although many have dealt with surrounding issues, especially the connection between indigenous cultures and the environment. I would gain greater originality by focusing specifically on spiritual alienation, but it is difficult to draw the line between spiritual connection to the environment and other connections, since most cultures that rely on the environment directly for survival necessarily weave this importance into their religious beliefs. I have also struggled to find empirical research on spiritual connection to the environment, though there is available information on emotional and psychological connections. Therefore, I decided to focus on alienation as a whole. My research will be original because it will combine philosophical and psychological ways of thinking about alienation, and it will connect specifically to environmental action.



There is enough evidence to make my claims and answer my questions. I have already found several journal articles that are available through the Dickinson library that address the idea of alienation, and one that specifically addresses alienation and climate change. I know of at least one case study of an indigenous culture adapting to climate change. There is a wealth of existing data on the effects of climate change, and people’s reactions to climate change around the world. I can access enough articles and books through the Dickinson library to gather the information that I need.


Secondary Sources

Aswani, Shankar and Matthew Lauer. “Indigenous People’s Detection of Rapid Ecological Change.” Conservation Biology 28, no. 3 (2014), 820-828.


Bolin, Inge. “The Glaciers of the Andes are Melting: Indigenous and Anthropological Knowledge Merge in Restoring Water Resource.” In Classic Readings in Cultural Anthropology, edited by Gary Ferraro, 118-126. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2015.

This source discusses how effects of anthropogenic climate change put extreme pressure on an indigenous Mayan community by threatening their source of water. Glaciers provide this community with water and also serve an important religious purpose, and their disappearance has a huge impact on their survival and spiritual understanding of the world, motivating them to find new solutions and mitigate their own environmental impact. This source illustrates how a profound connection to the natural world influences people’s reactions to climate change and provides an example of a culture whose greater connection to the natural world creates a greater understanding of the importance of climate change.


Carle, Jill. “Climate Change Seen as Top Global Threat.” Pew Research Center,  14 July 2015,


Carlisle, Sandra, Gregor Henderson, and Phil W. Hanlon. “‘Wellbeing’: A Collateral Casualty of Modernity?” Social Science and Medicine 69, no. 10 (2009): 1556-1560.


Durkalec, Agata, Chris Furgal, Mark W. Skinner, and Tom Sheldon. “Climate Change Influences on Environment As a Determinant of Indigenous Health: Relationships to Place, Sea Ice, and Health in an Inuit Community.” Social Science and Medicine 136-137, (2015), 17-26


Kelly, Ryan P., Sarah R. Cooley, Terrie Klinger. “Narratives Can Motivate Environmental Action: The Whiskey Creek Ocean Acidification Story.” AMBIO – A Journal of the Human Environment 43, no. 5 (2014), 592-599.


Moskell, Christine and Shorna Allred. “Integrating Human and Natural Systems in Community Psychology: An Ecological Model of Stewardship Behavior.” American Journal of Community Psychology 51, no. 1 (2013), 1-14.


“Nomads of the Rainforest PBS NOVA 1984.” YouTube video, 1:00:42, posted by “The Documentary Network,” August 7, 2013,


Sparks, Paul; Donna Jessop; James Chapman; and Katherine Holmes. “Pro-Environmental Actions, Climate Change, and Defensiveness: Do Self-Affirmations Make a Difference to People’s Motives and Beliefs About Making a Difference?” British Journal of Social Psychology 49, no. 3 (2010), 553-568.


Stokols, Daniel; Shalini Misra; Miryha Gould Runnerstrom; and Aaron J. Hipp. “Psychology in an Age of Ecological Crisis : From Personal Angst to Collective Action.” The American Psychologist 64, no. 3 (2009), 181-193.


Van den Noortgaete, Francis and Johan De Tavernier. “Affected by Nature: A Hermeneutical Transformation of Environmental Ethics.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 49, no. 3 (2014), 572-592.


This source discusses the gap between people’s moral positions on climate change and their action in response to it. One portion of its argument states that the transition from moral thought to action is facilitated by emotion, and that people do not act in situations where they do not feel an emotional connection to the issue at hand. Additionally, it shows that a majority of people who do take action against climate change are influenced by emotional factors such as a childhood connection to the natural world. This source shows how emotional and psychological connections to the environment that are lost through alienation are imperative in the mitigation of climate change.


Wright, Rachel and Hilary Schaffer Boudet. “To Act or Not to Act: Context, Capability, and Community Response to Environmental Risk.” American Journal of Sociology 118, no. 3 (2012), 728-777.


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Marx in Soho Response

Karl Marx saw private property as the root of power inequality, and, in his play Marx in Soho, author Howard Zinn brings this message to contemporary society. However, the play also deepens the idea of a power struggle by challenging the concept of a utopia and analyzing Marx’s own power relationships.

In the play Marx in Soho, Marx claims he staged a protest in Heaven so the powers that be would allow him to return to earth for the performance. Much of the play focuses on Marx’s personal relationships, and Marx as a character expounds upon the need for all workers to unite and change society in order to alleviate the issues that characterize a capitalist system. When viewed in the context of Marx’s belief in a historical power struggle between two economic classes, Marx in Soho raises several questions about the nature of power in human life. The play begins with the idea that even Heaven, a utopia, needs agitators to keep power in check and create space for the people’s needs. A perfect human society does not exist, so citizens must be constantly active and aware. This implies that even in a society which separates power from material wealth and creates true equality for all people, citizens must fight against potential tyrants.

Additionally, the play illustrates the power dynamics in many of Marx’s personal relationships. Marx espoused ideas of gender equality but left all childcare and home responsibilities to his wife. The play gave no practical reason for this arrangement other than Marx’s tacit acceptance of societal gender roles. Thus Marx simultaneously exercised an oppressive power over someone he loved and fought for the furtherance and eventual elimination of a larger and more visible power division. Power divisions exist in the most basic human relationships, meaning that even with the elimination of material wealth, inequality can continue, perhaps perpetuated by the very revolutionaries that eliminate other forms of oppression.

Marx’s communism seeks to eliminate inequality in society by eliminating the structures that create it, yet Marx himself exercised power over people in his life based on his status as a man, and Marx in Soho implies that no society can be beyond the possibility of tyranny. Eliminating power structures does not inherently eliminate power struggles. Ultimately, this play asks us if humans can escape their desire to accumulate power, or must maintain constant vigilance against it.

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Farmer’s Market (Group: Jacob, Kayleigh, Naji, Ali, and Thomas)

At the Farmer’s Market, we talked to three different vendors and asked them questions about their farming practices and the way that the Farmer’s Market impacts them and the Carlisle community. First we talked to a vendor who sold us cherry tomatoes. They were from the farm Prescott’s Patch, and they were selling a wide variety of produce. We asked them where their farm is located, and how long of a drive it was for them to come to Carlisle. Their farm is located in Bainbridge, Pennsylvania, which is a 45 minute drive away. They come that distance just to sell at the Farmer’s Market, showing that it is an important event for people in the surrounding area, not just in Carlisle. Even though this farmer’s market isn’t very large, it is a staple of the Carlisle community. According to the Farmer’s Market website, a version of this market was held in the same location from 1751-1952, showing a strong tradition of the buying and selling of local food.

Next, we talked to a vendor selling different varieties of meat. We asked him about his farming practices and how he transports his meat from his farm to the Farmer’s Market. He told us that he freezes the meat in order to keep it fresh. He didn’t completely answer the question, but he also seemed confused about why we were questioning him. We bought ground beef from him, but he was also selling some more unusual products like rabbit and quails eggs, things that would be very hard to find at a grocery store.

Last we talked to Peter’s Orchard, a large vendor selling a variety of fruits. We bought a bag of peaches from them, and asked them if they do all of their selling through farmer’s markets. They said no, and that there is a location near Gettysburg where they sell a large amount of their produce. We found it interesting that a larger orchard like this would choose to sell their produce in such a small venue when they have other options, but perhaps it is profitable for them to sell in a variety of small venues.

Overall, it was very interesting to talk to the different vendors at the Farmer’s Market and see what local farmers had to offer. This market is a valuable resource for the Carlisle community and various other locations in Pennsylvania as it draws in farmer’s from the surrounding area to provide fresh, local food for the people of Carlisle.