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The True Horrors “The Prophetic Voice”

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modern history
Boston College

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  1. Introduction
  2. Kurtz's proclaimation: 'The horror, the horror!'
  3. Can science ultimately triumph over nature?
  4. Shelly's Frankenstein
  5. Conclusion

When Steven King releases a new novel it is bound to be one of the scariest works of literature around. King's books, filled with images of deformed dolls and haunted houses, strike fear in the hearts of his readers. King's writing appeals to our senses, torturing and manipulating them to create a sense of fear. We are horrified immediately following the reading of a scary line, but that sensation only last for a minute until we are brought back to reality. We know that what we just read is not about to happen and is completely fiction so we get on with our lives. While the ?high? we get from this sensual fear alters our senses, it is the horror of reality that strikes true fear into people. Most of the time we can clearly see this horror, but the true horror comes when a nightmare exist right in front of our eyes, yet we are blinded to it until someone comes along and reveals it to us. These prophetic voices, like writers such as William Blake and Mary Shelly, open our eyes to the horrors of reality, but they do so in a subtle way. In neither of their writings do these authors expressly condemn certain aspects of society, but rather make these horrors known, leaving it up to the reader to make their own decisions. Through the readings of Frankenstein and the ?Songs of Innocence and Experience?, the reader must ?bring in their own sense? in order to begin to see the horrors that are hidden from most of society.

[...] In this way Shelly never has Victor renounce his belief in science, thereby not revealing her true opinion of the topic, but rather bringing to light the possibilities of science. Given that both authors keep their true feelings of their subjects hidden to the readers, the task of forming our opinions is left up to ourselves. While reading Blake's poems, it is impossible not to bring in your own experiences into his words. I can remember connecting Blake's description of London to my experiences walking through New York or Boston, seeing the poor and homeless on the street corners. [...]

[...] Her prophetic voice resonates even stronger when you consider the work future scientists such as Alfred Nobel and Albert Einstein.[10] By forcing the reader to interpret and analyze the different situations for themselves, they are able to gain true ?appreciation? and understanding of the horrors.[11] After reading these works, we are now equipped with the knowledge of such horrors which can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, we are now able to recognize and try and correct horrors that were hidden from us before, but on the other, we now are forced to live with the knowledge that these horrors exist in reality, and are not simply confined to our nightmares. [...]

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