Student Essay to be Featured in International Research Journal

June 01 2017
Category: Academics

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An essay written by Diandra Alvarado ’17, an English literature major, has been accepted for publication in The Oswald Review, an international journal of undergraduate research and criticism. 

Diandra's essay, “The Monstrosity of Language,” traces how John Milton’s poem, Paradise Lost, corrupts the central characters of Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein. Intensely isolated from other social and educational experiences, the Monster and his creator, Victor Frankenstein, depend on literature to explain society and their relationship to it.  

Diandra argues, “Through his readings and internalization of Paradise Lost, the Monster comes to the conclusion that his only role in this world is that of Lucifer - a fallen creature that was cast out of heaven, destined to cause chaos and pain to others.” In Diandra’s reading, the Monster is not monstrous by nature, but rather reproduces Dr. Frankenstein’s own traumatic development.

“Victor, like the Monster, was introduced to specific texts during a critical period in his childhood: the same time when the mind absorbs vast amounts of knowledge and language that ultimately influence development,” Diandra writes, “this acquisition of metaphysical knowledge and its associated language laid the groundwork for his perception of self and the world.”

Diandra initially wrote the paper in the senior English seminar, then revised it for The Oswald Review. Dr. Matt Seybold, Assistant Professor of American Literature and Mark Twain Studies, who led the seminar and sponsored Diandra’s submission, says, “Diandra’s essay is a careful, compelling close reading of a highly canonical novel which engages a rich body of existing criticism on Frankenstein and complex theories of reception and interpretation. It’s an ambitious argument, well executed.”

Diandra will graduate from Elmira College later this week. She spent 2017 interning with the Center for Mark Twain Studies. She also reviews books and films for The Octagon and works as a resident advisor in Columbia Hall.

Congrats to Diandra and the rest of the Class of 2017.