Undergraduate English major, Jacob Gerald Ring was recently accepted to attend the Bicentennial Undergraduate Conference Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , sponsored by the English Department at the University of South Dakota for his paper titled, “Frankenstein in Film: A Critical Analysis of Complimenting Perspectives,” In this paper, Ring discusses James Whale’s 1931 adaptation of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, which Ring claims spearheaded Hollywood horror through its original presentation of Frankenstein’s monster, whose image continues to reverberate in popular culture. Despite that Whale’s creative decisions were by no means an “objective” analysis of the original text, they served to critically elucidate Shelly’s marvel. Quite simply, Whale’s adaptation, which relies heavily on German expressionism, assisted in importing Shelly’s Gothic mood into film and served to underscore the foundational sociopsychological themes addressed in the novel apropos the nature of the abject, the Other, “Man” and his pathological superiority complex, and the failings of technological exceptionalism. Collectively these decisions amount to mise en scene of augmented anxiety provocation in which lighting, set design, framing, camera angle/shot, acting, and sound effects illustrate subliminal, repressed psychical disturbances natural to modernity and oppressive masculinity.
The Frankenstein Bicentennial Undergraduate Conference features panels of undergraduate students presenting critical papers on Frankenstein and related topics. The University of South Dakota held a Frankenstein 200! Symposium in February, and this upcoming conference, which is scheduled to occur in October, is part of Frankenreads, an ongoing international celebration of the 200th anniversary of Shelley’s novel organized by the Keats-Shelley Association of America.
Jacob Ring is majoring in English, Philosophy, Psychology, and Economics with a minor in Interdisciplinary Studies. With respect to English, he is interested in literary analysis and theory – more specifically, Gothic literature, African American literature, and Postmodernist literature. After graduating with his B.A., Ring plans to enroll in a Ph.D. program in English, Philosophy, or Psychology.