This report presents an interview with the main characters of four books written in different periods (romantic, realistic, and modern). The characters are a famous scientist Victor Frankenstein and his monster for Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, Philip Pirrip from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins from Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and Albus Dumbledore with his best pupil Harry Potter for J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
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All these characters are the participants of the talk show The Best of Days Today Show that I am hosting. All these characters were brought to life with the help of modern technologies to discuss the main theme of the show, the meaning of life. The characters present different époques, thus they have different points of view concerning this question. During the show, they will provide their arguments and try to assert their positions by providing quotations from the books.
Me: I am glad to welcome you to our show The Best of Days Today Show. As usual, today, we will discuss one of the questions that bother the mind of every individual. Have you ever think about what is the meaning of life? Why we come to this world? And what principles we should follow? In fact, why should we follow some purposes and who is responsible for our actions? Yes, the meaning of life is an internal question that was answered in different ways in different époques.
Today, we shall do another try to answer it and great characters from different époques will assist us. With the help of modern technologies, we brought to life characters of famous stories by Mary Shelly, Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, and J. K. Rowling. Please, meet our guests: Victor Frankenstein and his creature…
Victor Frankenstein: My greetings.
Me: Pip from Great Expectations.
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Me: Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins.
Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins: Good evening.
Me: And well known Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter…
Albus Dumbledore: Nice to meet you.
Me: As you have heard, the question that we discuss today is the meaning of life. Victor, you are genuine scientists that “created life”, you probably know the answer to our question?
Victor: It was an unpleasant experience in my life and I will always regret it. I was seeking for knowledge, “one of the phenomena which had peculiarity attracted my attention was the structure of the human frame, and indeed, any animal endued in life” (Shelly 72). You know, when I was working on my evil creation, I thought that the meaning of life is just to live, “Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through…. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe they’re being to me” (Shelley 51). Nature is a great creator, but man is a part of nature, why then we cannot create everything we want? Science and seek for knowledge should be the core ideas of every individual. We should know the natural world as we are its children. So, the meaning of life is to join nature and cognize it.
Eliza Doolittle: Can I ask you a question then?
Eliza Doolittle: You say that we are the children of nature and we should come to know it. But, don’t you think that you went against it when created that monster? Human is not God. Weren’t you afraid that you had no right to create that “artificial human” and that he was not a monster, but the one who was a part of a different world? You did not let him have his life, similar to people around him, and you deprived him of his sense of life.
Victor: You quite right, I made a mistake. But I intended to create a perfect version of a living being and a perfect society for him. But you judge from your own experience. I know that your story is similar to the story of my creature. But, once you are created, you have your way in life, gain new knowledge and you become experienced. You know, I have understood that no matter who you are and what is your experience, your life is valued by the knowledge you acquire.
Me: And you, a creature of doctor Frankenstein, how can you comment on your life? What is life meaning for you?
Monster: I was a part of the experiment. To justify me, I can say that I wanted to live and love as other people did, but I was surrounded by circumstances and events that attacked me. I had to deal with the hard reality, I could not accommodate myself to these circumstances. I was engaged in the struggle with my nature and with the society that did not accept me.
Eliza Doolittle: I understand. My creator did not need me, just as my father did not need me (Shaw 136). I was out of the society, but you know, the meaning of life is achieved through obeying the rules and norms that guide society (Shaw 48). What are you if you cannot live whiting a social structure?
Me: So, Eliza, you think that the meaning of life is to be accepted by society.
Eliza: Yes, I do.
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Me: Mr. Higgins, what did you want to achieve inviting Eliza to your house.
Higgins: Actually, I wanted to show that one can change his/her life and it is wrong to say that one is limited by the social environment he/she was born in. Everybody can improve himself. If you ask me, what is the meaning of life, I can answer that the meaning of life is to improve oneself. Eliza got many benefits and she had an opportunity for self-improvement.
Me: Pip, what do you think about Eliza’s and Mr. Higgins’ statements? You came from workers to gentlemen. Do you think that the meaning of life is to be a part of society?
Pip: You right, I became a gentleman, but my expectations were ruined. The truth that I support is that one cannot be safe in society unless he is very rich and connected (Dickens 124). I believe that the meaning of life is to the one who you are. I desired self-improvement, I educated myself and wanted to follow the laws of morality, but I learned my lesson, the society is cruel, you should have your own “ego” and, if necessary, contradict the social structure if you want to achieve something. You see, living in a harsh world, it is very simple to become an evil person. I have seen many examples of this, money and all social benefits spoil people’s souls. So, one should be very attentive to differentiate good and evil and not to fall into “hands of temptation”. I believe that the meaning of life is in self-improvement and readiness to preserve one’s life position.
Me: So, you think that the meaning of life is in self-improvement?
Pip: Certainly, the personality is higher than society.
Me: But maybe somebody can contradict this statement?
Monster: I would like to object. How can one be happy if he is an outsider? Look at me, I was supposed to be a perfect human. From my point of view, a perfect human is the one who is pleased with his social position and experiences all benefits of life. And me, I do not have even a name, society does not need me, moreover, people are afraid of me. I would be much happier if I could have friends and family. If people are the children of nature, as opposed to them, I am a child of imagination and Frankenstein’s evil joke, “I know not, despair has yet taken possession of me, my feelings were those of rage and revenge” (Shelley 91-92).
Me: Interesting. It makes me think that the concept “meaning of life” revolves around the role of the personality in the society.
Victor: And the connection with nature, knowledge, and feelings.
Me: Of course. So, professor Dumbledore, you have heard our heroes, but you did not say a word. What do you think, knowledge, social position, and self-improvement, do they so important for realizing the meaning of life?
Dumbledore: Well, I believe that our heroes looked for the senses of their own life and I can assume that a majority of people from their époques share their ideas. As for me, I have been living in this world for a very long time and I have heard many points of view about the sense of life. The example of my best student Harry is a perfect example of how one should look for meaning in life.
Me: Maybe you will share your experience?
Dumbledore: If you wish. But my interpretation is a bit different. We all were born to bring something good in life. One should try to be “very logical, upright and good” (Rowling, 74). But people are too superstitious about their past and it does not let them move into the future. Eliza, why do you hesitate to take steps into the new world? Why your past as the flower seller keeps you. Let it go and live your new life. Do you remember the story of my pupil Harry? He was bound with memories about his parents and it made him weak and vulnerable. As soon as he ruptured with his past, was able to move forward.
Pip: But if your past can influence your future? How can one forget about it?
Victor: Professor, I guess I understand. We should not forget it, we should learn our lessons and gain experience. But we should understand that we cannot change anything, we should accept it as it is.
Harry: My professor is a very wise person. He met many people on his way and he knows the truth. I can say that he helped me in a difficult situation. First of all, I understood that one can choose his/her way of life. I have chosen the way of justice and honesty and my friend helps me. Also, I believe that friendship is one of the most important things in our life and mutual support in one of the components of life meaning. And the last point, I could not let my parents go, those memories made me vulnerable Thank you, professor, to teach me to look into the future and do not look back. The meaning of life is to follow your purposes in life, but you should not destroy the dreams of other people. We should live in peace.
Me: You quite right, Harry. Our society needs more love, friendship, and peace. Thank you for your speeches, but I have another question. What do you think about personal choice? Professor…
Dumbledore: The one who is alive always has a choice. Why do you think I let Harry join Gryffindor? The answer is simple: he just chose it.
Victor: So, you think that I chose my life and all evils I survived are my personal choice?
Dumbledore: Certainly. Pip, for example, chose well being and other life. Eliza is still hesitating, but I hope that after this conversation, she will let her pass away. Mr. Higgins played a cruel joke on her. But she has the right to choose her path in life. Reality can be cruel but do not have to feel this cruelness, we can reject it and open our hearts to the future.
Me: Thank you. We do not have much time, but could you say in a few words. Can love be a sense of life?
Eliza: I guess that love is a rushing force in our life. I hope that love will help me overcome the disaster that happened to me.
Me: Yes, we also hope for this. Good luck Eliza.
Victor: From my own experience, I can say that love can make us do unpredictable actions. What do you think, my creature?
Monster: You did not give me a chance to feel what love is. But still, I think that love can change us for the better. I would never kill your bride if you did not kill mine. I wish everybody to meet his/her love.
Pip: Love can give you the inspiration to move forward and achieve your goals. It is great when you have love in your heart. It gives you forces for self-improvement.
Me: Wonderful words, thank you.
Dumbledore: Love is the thing that should guide our life, it can make our world better.
Harry: Yes, life is a rushing point. One should live people around him/her: his parents and friends.
Me: So, thank you for this conversation and valuable advice. All of you expressed the attitude to life meaning from the perspective of his/her époque and personal life experience. Thus, everybody has his point of view about the meaning of life. Certainly, the “atmosphere of the époque” makes its contribution, but each of us should learn to have an independent point of view. I guess after this conversation people will be able to find solutions to many problems and change their attitude to life. Thank you for your attention and goodbye!
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. London: Bizarro Press, 2009.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Scholastic, 1998.
Shaw, George Bernard. Pygmalion. Forgotten Books, 1953.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Echo Library, 2006.