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May 14, 2009

Frankenstein Essay

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Mary Shelley brings up topics that are still an issue today. Even though the novel Frankenstein is over a hundred years old, there are still lessons that can be learned from the novel. Some of the issues that are brought up in the novel are the importance of family, disliking a person because they are different, and accountability for ones actions.

Society has always judged people on their physical appearance. If a person is something out of the ordinary then that person is automatically thought of as being weird. Society now, although more lenient than in Mary Shelley’s day, does not do well with things that are “different”. For example, in Mary Shelley’s time a guy having an earring or a women working were something’s that certain people did not do. While society as a whole has gotten more lenient there is always a set of standards that are considered “normal”. Sometimes society does not give a person time to prove him/herself before judging them. All to often in society a person gets judged by the way he/she talks, the clothing he/she wears or in what part of the city a person lives in. These are just a few examples.

For example, in Frankenstein when the monster entered town “[monster] had hardly placed [a] foot within the door” children shrieked, and “a woman fainted” (74). From that moment on the monster realized that, because of his appearance, he was not part of society.
In all respect, the monster had a gentle side to him but was never fully given the opportunity to show it.

As luck would have it the monster crossed paths with the De Lacey family. The De Lacey family was the family that he secretly cared for. The elder of the family was blind, what a perfect way to try to make a friend. The monster closely watched the family and thought that they were kind people who would be unafraid of his abnormal exterior. It took the monster months to get up the courage to go talk to the blind man, unfortunately it was all for naught. When the children came home from a walk to find the monster conversing with the blind man, “Felix darted forward, and with supernatural force tore [the creature] from his father” (96). After that the monster lost all hope of having any friendships.

In a way there should be pity for the monster. The monster’s hatred originates from his first encounter with human beings. The monster started out with a child-like innocence that was shattered by being rejected by society over and over again. His first encounter with human life was when he opened his yellow eyes to Dr. Frankenstein, his creator, as he, “rush out of the room” (37). If society was not so hung up on appearance maybe Dr. Frankenstein would have had a sense of accomplishment instead of failure.

In Frankenstein there is also a lack of accountability on Dr. Frankenstein’s part. While Dr. Frankenstein was molding his creation nothing else mattered, friends and family took a back seat to his selfishness. Dr. Frankenstein does not ponder what life will be like with the creation, nor does he take into consideration that the creation might turn out wrong.

Finally, when the creation comes to life he denies all responsibility to the monster and just up and leaves. Dr. Frankenstein meant well, but was very irresponsible when it came time to own up to his responsibilities to the monster. As the creator of this monster, Dr. Frankenstein owed a debt to be there for him. Dr. Frankenstein was in many ways supposed to be a father to the monster. He owed it to the monster to be there for him and to accept him like family, after all that was all the monster wanted in return. Instead all he got was betrayal.

Frankenstein, in many ways can relate to family. For example, When a couple has a child, they owe it to their child to be there for them. The monster could be compared to a child in many ways. The monster knows nothing when he is first created, but in a very short time the monster learns how to read and talk just from watching and listening to the De Lacey family. The monster needed that emotional support of family to pull him through a tough time and Frankenstein was not there. The monster is also a logical thinker throughout the novel, especially when the monster makes Frankenstein feel his solitude. The creation spent so many nights alone that he wanted some kind of human companionship. That is only being human.

Moreover, the monster had so much pent up anger towards Frankenstein that when William (Frankenstein’s brother) told the monster who he was the monster responded “Frankenstein! “You belong to the enemy- to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim” (101). When William was killed, the monster had so much rage against Frankenstein that he just lost it.

The monster tried to reason with Frankenstein, all he wanted in return was a woman, “I swear,” by the sun, and the blue sky Heaven, and by the fire of love that burns in my heart, that if you grant me my prayer, while they exist you shall never behold me again”. (106). It is funny that the monster shows more emotion than Frankenstein does throughout the novel.

Frankenstein goes months on end without a word to his family and the monster is pleading for one, it is just ironic, who’s the monster? Frankenstein agrees and then refuses to make a companion for the monster, even though the monster agreed “With the companion you bestow I quit the neighborhood of man” (105). It is like Frankenstein faults the monster for not wanting to be alone and live a life of solitude. Here the monster agrees to leave Frankenstein alone forever at the price of a companion and he won’t do it. Even after his creation kills William, frames Justine (family friend), and eventually take the life of his wife, Frankenstein still won’t change his attitude.

As human beings, people need interaction, it is a healthy part of human nature. Most people need to feel wanted and that is exactly why the monster always followed Frankenstein. The monster, under the right circumstances, would have been a helpful part of society. Frankenstein let his emotions get the best of him and for that he, as well as society, shunned the creation.


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