Agriculture In Frankenstein Research Paper

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Representation of Agriculture in Player Piano “My uncle and I conversed a long time last night about what profession Ernest should follow … I proposed that he should be a farmer; which you know, Cousin, is a favorite scheme of mine. A farmer's is a very healthy happy life; and the least hurtful, or rather the most beneficial profession of any.” (Shelley) These lines, spoken by the titular character in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, are something of a curiosity. Victor Frankenstein himself had no involvement with agriculture. He is a scientist – and a passionate one at that. Yet as we see in the quotation, he deeply admires the profession, encouraging others to choose it for themselves. This glorification of agriculture is not unique to Shelley’s…show more content…
At one point in Player Piano, the protagonist Paul Proteus imagines abandoning his life as a member of his society’s elite class of engineers and managers in favor of an agrarian profession: “Farming - now there was a magic word. Like so many words with a little magic from the past still clinging to them, the word ‘farming’ was a reminder of what rugged stock the present generation had come from, of how tough a thing a human being could be if he had to.” Such is Proteus’s admiration for farming that the very word holds magic for him. This reveals a sort of subtle mysticism in his attitude towards agriculture which roughly parallels Jefferson’s overtly religious hyperbole. Proteus also seems to share Jefferson’s view of traditional agrarian life as somehow incorruptible: “With each new inconvenience, the [farm] became more irresistible. It was a completely isolated backwater, cut off from the boiling rapids of history, society, and the economy.” Here, the “boiling rapids of history, society, and the economy” are the corrupting influences – influences that could be avoided by living a traditional farm life. It is the isolation of the farm from these influences that makes it appealing to Proteus. The timeframe is different (Jefferson argues to preserve the agrarian lifestyle, while Proteus laments its all-but-complete passing and longs to engage in it again),…show more content…
Sounds wonderful. … working out there with your hands in the earth, just you and nature.” Harrison, another malcontent, wishes to escape society and begin providing for himself with his own labor. We also see that the desire to be closer to nature and to support oneself by physical labor is shared by a large portion of the population; a book about bargemen on the Erie Canal is mentioned in Player Piano twice – once as a book Proteus is reading, and later as a major bestseller. The ideal of rugged individualism that the Erie Canal book represents to Vonnegut’s characters is closely related to the desires of Proteus and Harrison for farm

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