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Sruthi Sundaram 4/8/2013 IP Two 1.

What is the most interesting interpretive insight that you gained into this literary text through the process of writing this essay? And why is this interesting? (1 long paragraph) The most interesting interpretive insight I gained into the short story Mortal Immortal was the overall theme that the author, Mary Shelley, conveyed through Winzys life story which was that immortality, while appealing at its surface, bears horrible consequences that can ruin a persons psyche. While my essay was not actually about this theme, my interpretive question, which dealt with the dual nature of the elixir that brought about immortality, relates closely to this theme as it causes Winzys psychological degradation through life. The single quote from the story which my interpretive question is centered around is stated by Cornelius to Winzy: Winzy, my boy [] do not touch the vessel -- do not put it to your lips; it is a philtre -- a philtre to cure love; you would not cease to love your Bertha -- beware to drink! Corneliuss words introduce the elixirs dual nature, which I tackled in my essay. My conclusion after my analysis of the story was that the elixirs first purpose was to make its drinker immortal, but as a direct consequence, it also rendered that person psychologically paralyzed through a gradual degradation of his empathy as all that he knows dies while he lives on eternally. Winzy experiences this degradation of his love for Bertha throughout his life, for while he remains dedicated to her by duty, he develops increasing disdain throughout his life with her as her jealousy makes her insufferable. By the end of the story, Winzy wants nothing more than some way to die; his life is filled only with loneliness. This brings us back to Shelleys theme regarding the consequences of immortality. The subject is very interesting because immortality is a motif that has been analyzed in many cultures for centuries, mostly as desirable, but in Mortal Immortal, Shelley takes a new approach to the concept, presenting immortality as a curse, something to be hated. The contrast between cultural beliefs and Shelleys new insights makes the subject of immortality very interesting to analyze. 2. Now that youve gone ahead and finished this essay, in a polished form, what is the main thing that you have gained, in a positive way, from that experience? This thing should be different from the most interesting insight that you described above and should relate more to your own experience on working on this essay or reflecting back on that work. (1 short paragraph) Looking back to my essay, I believe that I mainly gained an experience into a new approach of writing through this interpretive problem process. This essay is very different from the thesis/analysis style essays that I wrote repeatedly in years past. Through the writing process, I was able to gain insight into an interpretive problem through a short story that presented many opportunities for deep analysis, which was definitely an educational experience for me. Before I started this IP Two assignment, I reread my essay and am very pleased with the result. The essay allowed me to explore different viewpoints on a subject, decide on which one I agreed with the most, and then refute opposing viewpoints with my own analysis backed by evidence.

3. Now that youve gone ahead and finished this essay, in a polished form, what is the most difficult challenge that you faced during that process? This challenge might relate to either (or both) of your answers above, or it might raise completely different issues. (1 short paragraph) The most difficult challenge I faced in the essay process was relating to the IP One assignment more so than the essay. This was because the IP One assignment is where I came up with all of the content of the essay. After I had completed IP One, it was very easy to write the essay, as most of the analysis and argument building was already done. Regarding IP One, the most difficult challenge I had to overcome was building up possible opposing arguments and then writing a firm defense for my conclusions. This part was particularly challenging because of the nature of the story itself, which lends for a convincing counterargument that the consequences of Winzys actions were brought upon him by his own weak mind and not by the elixir. I believe that I successfully defended my conclusion about the dual nature of the elixir by presenting evidence that pointed toward the elixirs purpose stated by Cornelius, the creator of the elixir. However, another reader might have interpreted the story differently and could possibly present further arguments against my conclusion, which would be even more difficult to tackle. 4. After reading your finished and polished essay, what is at least one thing about which your reader might now want to learn more, something that would require further research beyond just the scope of this one short story? This thing should be a subject that could actually be researched somewhere and that would be promising as a way to learn more about the ideas and insights in the essay. So you should suggest how that research might help to extend and clarify the essays ideas. (1 long paragraph) A beneficial aspect to analyze in any story is authors intent, which oftentimes requires research into the authors history and the culture of the time period. Mary Shelley lived in the 19th century, a time when science was a very new concept. Her most famous work, the novel Frankenstein, largely deals with science. In a way, Mortal Immortal also deals with science, particularly chemistry, as Shelley takes the known arena of chemistry during the time potionsand relates it to a supernatural concept such as immortality. Further research into Shelleys life and the beliefs of the time period would help to clarify where her viewpoints might be coming from. Shelley could be showcasing the viewpoints of society in her time or she could be creating a satire, criticizing the societal norms of the time. The answer to this type of inquiry cannot be gained by reading just the text. Another good way to read further into authors intent is to compare his or her different works. One obvious similarity between Frankenstein and Mortal Immortal is the concept of immortality, albeit approached in different ways in the two works. In Frankenstein, immortality is presented in a different lightthrough mans potential to actually create life. In Mortal Immortal immortality is presented by mans potential to extend existing life eternally. In both works, the consequences of these innovations are negative. Further research into comparisons between the two works, perhaps through research papers written by literary scholars, can help clarify authors intent in writing the two works and perhaps explain her fascination with immortality and scientific innovation.

5. If you had taken a completely different approach to the analysis and discussion of this literary text (including the possibility of an approach that wasnt built around an IP), what might that approach have looked like? (1 long paragraph) Mortal Immortal is a story that contains many themes that one could analyze with an interpretive problem or some other method. In my IP essay, I chose to focus on the motif of immortality and Winzys psychological journey through life after his impulsive decision to drink the elixir. However, there are many other motifs through which Shelley conveys a message to the reader. One particularly prominent motif is love, which is probably the one I would have focused on had I decided against analyzing the dual nature of the elixir in relation to immortality. Winzys obsession with Bertha as a young man, the near loss he experiences when she becomes engaged to another man, and his married life with Bertha makes a story of its own even without the elixir involved and presents many themes regarding young love and the conflicts that arise in married life. If I was writing an essay about the love motif in Shelleys Mortal Immortal, I would probably take another interpretive problem approach and perhaps compare and contrast Winzys and Berthas relationship while both of them are young with their relationship near the end of Berthas life. I would relate the differences I find to the changes in Winzys psychological state throughout his married life and compare those changes with Berthas increasing jealousy and disgust at Winzys frozen physical form. 6. On the basis of this whole exercise and project, what is one aspect of reading and thinking about literary texts that might continue to prove beneficial for you in the future, after this course has ended? If there is no such benefit, why do you think that was the case? (1 long paragraph) There are skills that one gains from analyzing literature which can be useful to almost any field. I am a Biology major and hope to continue on to medical school after my undergraduate studies. Analyzing literature gives a person the skills to look at different viewpoints, read into themes and life lessons, and extrapolate meaning from written texts. All of these skills will be very useful for me as a diagnostician, because oftentimes diagnosing what is wrong with a patient can be a very indirect and tricky practice, which requires apt analytical skills. Another arena of my more immediate future toward which the analytical skills gained from a literature course contributes immensely is scientific research. I am already working in a lab, where every day I am required to think about scientific inquiry in a variety of different ways. The skills I use to solve these problems are very similar to the interpretive problem approach used in analyzing literature, where one takes on a concept in the reading and approaches it from different angles in an attempt to understand the authors intent in introducing that concept and the theme that he or she conveys through it. Although I will probably not be taking many more English courses in my undergraduate studies due to the more narrowed structure of my higher level, major-related courses, the skills I gained from reading literature will definitely prove useful to me in my future endeavors. In particular, the interpretive problem approach will be very applicable to any research or clinical experience that I gain as I move forward in my career goals.