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One of the most explored subjects in literary texts is a monstrosity. A monster is a character that is often portrayed as acting in a way that betrays human existence. The monsters' primary motives are evil and bad. Thus, a monster is described as anyone who deviates from typical human behavior and has an unnatural physical appearance. Monsters are portrayed as haggard, filthy, and grotesque. Despite this, there is a connection between monstrosity and medicine. Overall, a person's decisions can be influenced by medically inspired influences. This is due to the fact that monstrosity happens in the subconscious before it manifests. Medicinal science can be said to inspire monstrosity while monstrosity can be said to be a critical element in science.
To begin with, both monstrosity and medicinal science are engaged devoid of emotions. Monsters are often projected to be individuals without emotions. They do not care for the implications of their actions. Monsters often kill without remorse and promote chaos to satisfy their internal desires. Similarly, medicinal science is often aligned towards the discovery of a given truth in the society and may engage painful methods to achieve this goal. In the past, scientists often used human beings as specimens for their experimental procedures.
In Rappaccini’s Daughter, Rappachinni, the monstrous professor uses his medicinal expertise to turn his daughter into a monster. He values science above human life. Upon enquiring from Signor Baglioni on the identity of Dr. Rappaccini, Giovanni is informed that the strange doctor would “sacrifice human life, his own among the rest, or whatever else was dearest to him, for the sake of adding so much as a grain of mustard seed to great heap of his accumulated knowledge” (Hawthorne 447). Similarly, Autobiography of the Face captures the tribulations of the author, Lucy Grealy. At a young age, Lucy is the subject of an infection which renders her in hospital. As a result, her jaw is dislocated and she is forced to contend with unbecoming stares from individuals who do not understand her situation. As a result of the dislocation, Lucy is compelled to undertake chemotherapy sessions which are intended to mitigate her monstrosity. Of these sessions, Lucy predicates that they were excruciatingly painful. She further establishes that “anxiety and anticipation, are the essential ingredients in suffering from pain, as opposed to feeling pure and simple.” (Grealy 90). Principally, medicinal science further her pain in the society. She is forced to contend with severe pain in the chemotherapy sessions. She is also forced to contend with the pain that is extended to her by her peers. Essentially, these quotes represent the pain that results from both medicinal science and monstrosity. In The Ecstatic, LaValle explores monstrosity that is inspired by Schizophrenia. Of his tribulations, the character indicates that he huirt from all the care that he was extended as a result of his mental illness. Essentially, he predicates that “a few days of this (the care) is tenderness, but two weeks seemed more like punishment.” (Grealy 34). Overall, medicinal science may be responsible for monstrosity and the pain that the victims bear in their situations.
Alternatively, the theme of monstrosity and medicine is often laden with a sense of loneliness and isolation. In Rappaccini’s Daughter, the practice of medicine is conducted in an isolated and enclosed setting. It is in isolated areas that monstrosity is inspired. Beatrice’s evil inclinations are developed in a garden within Rappaccini’s compound. Within the garden, Dr. Rappaccini creates shrubs which are poisonous to further his scientific dealings. He produces “new varieties of poison, more horribly deleterious than Nature” (Hawthorne 447). Beatrice’s evil inclinations are nurtured further in such isolation. Similarly, The Ecstatic documents the isolation that Anthony was subjected to as a result of Schizophrenia and instability. Anthony determines that he was “kept in a basement. When I (he) tried to go outside alone they discouraged it.”. (LaValle 5). Anthony, given his assumed “monstrosity” is kept away from human contact. The schizophrenic diagnosis limits the main character’s movements and he is thus forced to thrive in seclusion. This act further inspires feelings of loathe and desperation which are synonymous with monsters. The Autobiography of Lucy further documents the seclusion of a character projected to be a monster as a result of a facial surgery. Lucy, given the loathe that she inspires in others, is kept away from the constant interactions with her peers. On her solitude and loneliness, Lucy indicates that she “knew without a doubt that I was living in a story Kafka would have been proud to write” (Grealy 27). Seclusion is also seen when her parents choose to get her a horse. She would spend the major parts of her day as a kid playing with the horse in solitude since she felt that “the horses accepted me unconditionally” (Grealy 52).
Still, there is a difference in the nature and sources of monstrosity in the literary texts. There is a disparity between the projection monstrosity in Rappaccini’s Daughter and the same in the other two texts. In the former, Beatrice’ monstrosity is a direct result of her father’s scientific expeditions. She had been “nourished with poisons from her birth upward” (Hawthorne 454). Essentially, her monstrosity is contrived. This is not the same for Anthony in The Ecstatic and Lucy in the Autography of the Face. Anthony’s monstrosity is a culmination of schizophrenia which is a genetic condition and cannot be influenced by human scientific escapades. He determines that his “mother tobogganed through Flushing Meadow Park in 1983” (LaValle 5). Similarly, Lucy’s experiences are a culmination of an infection which inspired the disfigurement of her jaw and the subsequent operations intended to mitigate the situation. On the other hand, whereas Lucy’s and Anthony’s monstrosities are not detrimental to the health of the people that surround them, Beatrice’ condition causes impairment to any individual that they come into contact with. For instance, on his way out, after throwing the flowers to Beatrice, Giovanni notices that the flowers are already wilting in her hands. These quotes serve to indicate that medicinal science may not always be responsible for the monstrosity that is projected by the victims.
Monstrosity and medicine are closely interlinked. In isolated cases, medicinal science can influence the manifestation of monstrosity. For instance, in Beatrice’ case, her monstrosity is a culmination of her father’s evil scientific desires. Still, in other cases, medicinal science can be used to try and alleviate an individual’s monstrosity. The novels Autobiography of the Face, The Ecstatic and Rappaccini’s Daughter succinctly capture the relationship between monstrosity, medicinal sciences and social integrations. Monstrosity is projected to be a non-reversible element in all the stories. From the texts, one is brought to the understanding that monstrosity is not necessarily evil and that the victims may not always be in a position to influence their fates.
Grealy, Lucy. Autobiography of the Face . Mariner Books , 2016.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Rappaccini's Daughter . CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform , 2017.
LaValle, Victor. The Ecstatic . Vintage , 2003.
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