Assessment Task 2: Module A
1. Our understanding of context shapes the meaning of texts. Discuss with reference to the texts you have studied in Module A. 2. Our understanding of context shapes the meaning of texts. Discuss with reference to the texts you have studied in Module A. A Comparative Study of Texts and Context
Through the use of context, composers can enrich one’s understanding of texts and explore the deeper intricate nature of the human spirit. Context refers to the set of circumstances that surround a particular item. The context of a text often represents the greatest influence on its meaning as it provides a reflection of the social values and beliefs held at the time. Mary Shelley’s epistolary novel Frankenstein conveys meaning through its context of Romanticism, the Enlightenment, Galvanism, Gothicism and the Industrial Revolution, in a time of scientific development and discovery. Similarly, Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner expresses significance through a genre of science fiction depicted in film noir. Although both texts were composed in two different periods of time, their inherent ideas and values remain relevant across their contexts. Therefore, to a large extent, our understanding of the contexts of texts shapes their meaning.
The onset of scientific discovery and the age of Enlightenment that defines the context of Frankenstein is reinforced in Scott’s depiction of society in Blade Runner. The idea of a transcendence of society through the embodiment of the ideals of Enlightenment represents a key motif throughout both texts. Shelley depicts Victor as fervent and passionate in his scientific pursuits to create a being from lifeless matter. In the quote “Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world”, Shelley utilises juxtaposition in the words ‘light’ to symbolise the value of scientific progression and ‘dark world’ in reference to the natural...
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