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Discuss whether or not the 19th century was a period of progress - Essay Example

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Progress is almost always equated with advancement because it implies a transition from one state of things to another of a better state, a departure from the…
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Discuss whether or not the 19th century was a period of progress
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Download file to see previous pages A perusal of the writings of various 19th century authors like Mary Shelley, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Rudyard Kipling, John Stuart Mill and Stéphane Mallarmé was made to ascertain the answer to the problem being posed. The result of the inquiry into the aforesaid writers’ works supports the hypothesis that the 19th century was a period of progress not only in the realm of sciences and research but also in the areas of human and social outlook.
The 19th century was a period of growth in the field of sciences, research and industry. This is the implication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) which is a Gothic novel about a scientist who discovered how to give life to inanimate objects such as a corpse. It is evident from this work that at the time Shelley wrote this novel, the industrial revolution already exploded at least in Europe which became her basis for her descriptions of the mechanical contraptions used by her primary character to create his ‘monster.’ The miserable musings of Frankenstein who is both guilt-ridden for having stepped into the shoes of God and loathing of the ugly creature, which is human but not human, he created represent Shelley’s caveat against engaging too much in insatiable scientific quests and exploration to the extent of overstepping on God’s jurisdiction. This is evident in the following lines by Frankenstein: “Learn from me, if not by my precepts, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, then he who aspires to be greater than his nature will allow” (33). This passage implies that at the time Shelley wrote this novel in 1818, there was a stream of scientific movements going on quite different and more advanced and bolder in scope than what the world was used to that it alarmed the mind of the then young Shelley who must have thought these developments were bordering on blasphemy. To this extent, Shelley ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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