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Frankenstein and Heart of a Dog

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  1. Introduction
  2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  3. Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov
  4. Actual motivations
  5. Conclusion

As test tube babies and embryonic manipulation take both the science lab and the realm of nature by storm in a technological world, the limits to which science can be pursued grow to heights unparalleled day by day. A world where creation of life exists within the genius of a single mind is not an uninvestigated idea by any means. The novels Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov are science fiction classics that take the concept of the artificial creation of life to its full potential. In Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious scientist who dares venture into the darkest of arts, creates a monster from the remains of the deceased. His efforts are rewarded with the destruction of all he loves in the world by the hands of his own creation.

In Heart of a Dog, a Russian professor named Philip Philipovich transplants the testes and hypothalamus of a starving dog from the streets, Sharik, with those of a deceased man who lived an uncouth life. As the dog soon takes on the form of a man in the likeness of whom the deceased once was, the professor discovers the folly of corrupting the pure heart of a dog with the vagaries of human nature. Both these novels attest to a simple and clear cut belief: human dabbling in the creation of entirely new forms of life and manipulation of nature through unnatural and scientific methods are a result of human arrogance and misguided curiosity that can only result in disastrous consequences.

[...] However, the most powerful examples of these traits exist not in their actions or words, but in the lamentable plights of their creations. Their very creation was nonconsensual and doomed them from the start, and they let their creators know. The human Sharik, Polygraph Polygraphovich, asks the all important question ?Maybe I never gave you no permission to operate?? to the now wearied professor (Bulgakov 70). Though the professor responds he saved the dog from a hard life on the streets, Polygraph poses an even more cogent question in response: if I'd died under you knife?? (70). [...]


[...] As the dog soon takes on the form of a man in the likeness of whom the deceased once was, the professor discovers the folly of corrupting the pure heart of a dog with the vagaries of human nature. Both these novels attest to a simple and clear cut belief: human dabbling in the creation of entirely new forms of life and manipulation of nature through unnatural and scientific methods are a result of human arrogance and misguided curiosity that can only result in disastrous consequences. The actual motivations behind the protagonists of both stories are particularly instrumental in conveying the core messages of the novels. Science in itself does not discover anything. [...]


[...] New York: Grove Print. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Literature.org. Knowledge Matters Ltd. [...]

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