2799: Frankenstein Claim Permutations

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Frankenstein Claim Permutations
When I began trying to form a new claim by stitching together these parts in such an unnatural way, some called me mad.
Title text: When I began trying to form a new claim by stitching together these parts in such an unnatural way, some called me mad.

Explanation

Frankenstein is an 1818 novel by Mary Shelley about a young scientist named Victor Frankenstein who creates a sapient, humanoid lifeform through an unorthodox experiment, and then rejects his creation, which eventually turns on him. The novel is a classic in both the horror and speculative fiction genres, and has been argued to represent the first major example of true science fiction in literature. The lifeform he creates is never named in the original novel, only being referred to as "the Creature".

In the two centuries since the novel's publication, the story and its characters have been adapted and reused in various forms, and the term "Frankenstein" has come to be commonly used to refer to the creature, rather than the scientist who created him. Literary didacts are often quick to point out this error, but are generally ignored, as the name has become accepted, common usage. The debate has become something of a meme. The Creature himself, at one point, refers to himself as effectively being Frankenstein's son, which could imply he wishes to carry the same name; at the same time, Doctor Frankenstein does not treat his creation with such a level of humanity and speaks as if the Creature is completely nameless. To this day the debate continues among literary analysts whether the Creature should remain nameless for these reasons. These disputes have previously been touched upon in 1589: Frankenstein and 2604: Frankenstein Captcha

The title text points out that he's "stitching together" various claims to create something new, and people consider him mad as a result. This refers to the notion of Frankenstein's creation having been stitched together from dead bodies, and Dr. Frankenstein himself being denounced as a madman. It should be noted that these perceptions come from later adaptations (most notably the 1931 film) rather than the original novel, but have become closely associated with the Frankenstein mythos. Following similar meta-textual logic, the title "Frankenstein Claim Permutations" is a double entendre, meaning both (1) permutations of claims regarding the novel Frankenstein and (2) permutations of claims of a Frankenstein nature (i.e. a franken-claim) in that they are formed by haphazardly joining together different parts.

This comic explores the possible permutations that can be made by matching the names of Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, and '?' (for the unnamed monster) to the positions of author, creator, and monster. The positions are indicated in the drawing by a circle to the left of the book for the author, a box on the left-hand page for the creator, and a labeled picture of the monster lying under a sheet (the traditional image of the monster before being animated) for the monster. Three elements can be arranged in six different ways, as the first element can be placed in any of the three positions, the second in either of the two remaining, and the last in the only remaining space, giving 3 x 2 x 1 options. The same concept was used in 1613: The Three Laws of Robotics, where Randall depicted six possible permutations of the Three Laws of Robotics.

Claim Notes Permutation Explanation
"No, the monster in Mary Shelley's book is unnamed. Frankenstein is the doctor who created him." This is the normal claim MS-F-? This is the claim that is generally considered correct. The POV character of the novel is, in fact, Victor Frankenstein. The monster is never given a name, although some fans name him Adam because of a line he speaks to Victor: "'I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy". The only error in this claim is referring to Victor as a doctor. (In the novel, Victor has not finished his schooling, returning home before finishing his education at the University of Ingolstadt.)
"No, the monster in Mary Shelley's novel is named Frankenstein." Also common, and not worth getting mad about IMO MS-?-F This is a common misconception, but Randall believes it's not something to get upset about, either because he has decided it's not a hill worth dying on or that, since everyone calls the monster "Frankenstein", it is de facto for all intents and purposes his name.

Randall has previously touched upon this in comics 1589: Frankenstein and 2604: Frankenstein Captcha. This permutation places the '?' in the creator position, and so avoids talking about the doctor's name at all. Alternatively, the statement could be taken as an argument that Frankenstein should be considered the "monster" because he created and then abandoned a sentient being.

"No, Frankenstein is the name of the author. The monster Mary Shelley created is unnamed." At a glance this could pass for one of the normal claims F-MS-? This statement, Randall says, is so much like the first two that he says it could pass for one of the normal claims. He could also mean that while slightly stretching the meaning of those words, Mary Shelley did "create" the monster (as it's a character in the book she wrote) and Frankenstein is the "author" (creator) of the monster. Alternately, one can consider the story a mostly first hand account of Victor's exploits, as it is initially told to the book's opening narrator (the otherwise sidelined Captain Robert Walton), with Mary having created Monster, Victor, the Captain and all others within the novel (of the Captain's tale of Victor's tale of the apparent nature of the Monster).

This could also be a reference to a tweet[1] featuring a photo of a collection of classic books[2] in which "Frankenstein" is printed in the position and format of the author's name for the other books of the collection, while "Mary Shelley" is printed in the title position.

"No one knows who wrote the novel about Doctor Mary Shelley creating the monster Frankenstein." I would read this book ?-MS-F This statement combines the second claim (that Frankenstein is the monster's name) with the third claim (that Mary Shelley created the monster). This time, however, it is claimed that the author is unknown, while the monster is named. A novel about author Mary Shelley getting a doctorate and actually creating the creature she wrote about could be an interesting twist on the story, hence Randall's comment that he would read this book.
"No, Frankenstein is the name of the doctor. The monster he created is Mary Shelley." Fully chaotic ?-F-MS This claim is similar to the others, in that it twists the ordering of the components (author, doctor, monster), but this time it gets the doctor's name correct whilst insinuating that Mary Shelley was the monster he created. This is described as "fully chaotic", likely because the idea of the real-life human author being created by a doctor in the story that was written by her is much more absurd and much further from any solid literary footing than the others.
"No, the doctor who creates Mary Shelley in Frankenstein's novel doesn't have a name." F-?-MS Possible Doctor Who reference.

Transcript

[A two-column table.]

Claim Notes
[Open book. Left page says "F", right page shows the monster labeled "?". Arrow pointing to book says "by MS".]

"No, the monster in Mary Shelley's book is unnamed. Frankenstein is the doctor who created him."
This is the normal claim
[Open book. Left page says "?", right page shows the monster labeled "F". Arrow pointing to book says "by MS".]

"No, the monster in Mary Shelley's novel is named Frankenstein."
Also common, and not worth getting mad about IMO
[Open book. Left page says "MS", right page shows the monster labeled "?". Arrow pointing to book says "by F".]

"No, Frankenstein is the name of the author. The monster Mary Shelley created is unnamed."
At a glance this could pass for one of the normal claims
[Open book. Left page says "MS", right page shows the monster labeled "F". Arrow pointing to book says "by ?".]

"No one knows who wrote the novel about Doctor Mary Shelley creating the monster Frankenstein."
I would read this book
[Open book. Left page says "F", right page shows the monster (with longer hair) labeled "MS". Arrow pointing to book says "by ?".]

"No, Frankenstein is the name of the doctor. The monster he created is Mary Shelley."
Fully chaotic
[Open book. Left page says "?", right page shows the monster (with longer hair) labeled "MS". Arrow pointing to book says "by F".]

"No, the doctor who creates Mary Shelley in Frankenstein's novel doesn't have a name."
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Discussion

Expanding on 1589: Frankenstein, clearly. Trimeta (talk) 03:17, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

The last permutation is a garden path sentence that starts off talking about the TV show Doctor Who. 162.158.62.175 03:21, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

"The [unnamed] Doctor Who [Dr. Who might be a function title like Q and M in the James Bond Franchises] [whom] creates Mary Shelly in Frankenstein's novel". Does this mean Frankenstein is the original creator of the Dr. Who universe? IIVQ (talk) 12:49, 8 July 2023 (UTC)


The title text seems straightforward enough to me, anyways: "No, the doctor (who creates Mary Shelley (in Frankenstein's novel)) doesn't have a name." Not much of a garden path sentence at all. 172.70.34.187 03:43, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

The best part of this comic is that every last one of these claims is wrong. In the original novel, Victor Frankenstein is an obsessive undergrad, notably with no medical degree. 172.71.151.35 03:54, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

You could argue rather that Walton and Saville were the names of the authors. The monster Shelly created was named Victor von Frankenstein. The tragic hero was unnamed. EebstertheGreat (talk) 04:02, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

Pretty sure that Randall saw the image of the misprinted book where the title is Mary Shelly, and the author is Frankenstein. 172.71.151.35 06:54, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

See here: https://twitter.com/MedCrisis/status/1511644464544104452?t=B23sq4iftXXWPdSKYCqOyg&s=19

Svízel přítula (talk) 08:46, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

I doubt that's an actual misprint, probably photoshopped as a joke, which then inspired this comic that explores all the permutations. Barmar (talk) 14:03, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

No, Frankenstein is the name of the novel created by the monster (according to her sleepless readers) Mary Shelley. 172.68.34.38 08:12, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

The second permutation could be read in the "the scientist who abandoned his creation is the real monster" sense. --172.69.62.28 11:19, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

The Doctor joined the Who and married Shelley, the inventor of Monster energy drinks. 108.162.237.102 12:28, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

Very funny (I'd like to read that book myself) but ironic to be so aware of this controversy of detail without ever acknowledging that *Frankenstein is actually a student not a doctor.*

Correct: Victor was not yet a doctor of any sort. Never underestimate the motivated ABD. MolochHamovis (talk) 06:55, 23 July 2023 (UTC)

Should the title text explanation be after the table? —Purah126 (talk) 13:38, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

I think the "I would read this book" permutation is because it's a "meta" novel, and Randall loves meta stuff. Barmar (talk) 14:05, 8 July 2023 (UTC)

I swear, ever since I read 1589: Frankenstein I've WANTED it to come up, to say "THIS is my canon", LOL! It's rather inconvenient that the monster is unnamed, and if he were it wouldn't be the more logical TITULAR name. I mean, at Hallowe'en kids tend to dress as the monster - though I've seen at least one thing (I want to guess Young Sheldon, or perhaps Old Sheldon, i.e. Big Bang Theory) where someone dressed as Victor and was like "I SAID I was dressing as Frankenstein!". :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:38, 9 July 2023 (UTC)

"Intelligence is knowing that Frankenstein is not the monster. Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein *is* the monster." Fittingly, History and Investigation are Intelligence-based, while Insight is Wisdom-based. --Coconut Galaxy (talk) 08:59, 9 July 2023 (UTC)

The unanswered question is, who is the victor?172.70.85.131 11:27, 10 July 2023 (UTC)

Name of the monster

(cut and pasted from Main page Talk, where it was erroneously added)

It's worth pointing out, that although the Monster didn't have a name in Mary Shelly's original book, a derivative work did give the monster a name.

Specifically, Herman.

Further, it's worth pointing out that although the monster was not a begotten son of Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Frankenstein was the only parent the monster had, so by tradition, his last name would also be Frankenstein.

So the monster's name is, by reason, "Herman Frankenstein"...

at least until he changes his name, such as getting married and taking his spouse's name. 172.71.142.29 (talk) ...02:44, 9 July 2023 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

It's a throwaway comment, and one which most readers seem to overlook, but the Creature IS named, exactly ONCE in the book: his name is Adam. It comes up in a conversation where the Creature says (I'm paraphrasing), "You called me Adam, I'd rather be called Satan now." The names are chosen by Shelley quite deliberately - Adam is mythologically the 'first' man, while 'satan' means 'enemy'. It marks the shift in their relationship to the adversarial one which will result in both their deaths. 172.69.79.147 04:45, 10 July 2023 (UTC)

I believe the phrase goes "I ought to be thy Adam" (my emphasis), and it's in reported speech as conveyed by Victor (as further conveyed by the Captain) so it might even be a matter of Unreliable Narrator(s) being more poetic than accurate, anyway. But the self-claiming in the full phrase is more solidly for that of deciding to take on the name of Satan than for Adam (which is given as a prior option, but maybe one not actually previously adopted). There's no real idea what Victor might have ever dubbed his 'newborn' (if indeed he did have any intent to do so), nor what name the pre-Creature being may have gone by before he became Victor's experiments – which could be considered technically valid, even if his conscious identity was indeed wiped/reset by the death-and-revival(-and-'improvement'?) phase of his existence. 172.71.178.169 09:42, 10 July 2023 (UTC)

The oft-forgotten subtitle of the book was The Modern Prometheus, which, being that Prometheus gave fire and Victor gave life, means that the title is clearly about Victor and the "intelligence/wisdom" stuff is just an observation, though not a wrong one. AndrewXKCD (talk) 18:43, 12 July 2023 (UTC)

Two levels of cleverness. Level One—you know that Frankenstein is not the monster. Level Two—you know that, actually, Frankenstein is the monster.198.41.238.36 13:11, 29 July 2023 (UTC)

Chaos itself: "No one knows the name of the Doctor Mary Shelley, who is the monster that created the author of the novel titled 'Frankenstein'." Ben (talk) 22:04, 16 August 2023 (UTC)