Frankensrein Essay, Research Paper

Maria Loren October 15, 2000 Professor Green English 220 The

relationship between an individual and society in Mary Shelley?s novel

?Frankenstein? The relationship between an individual and society is always

difficult. It becomes even more difficult when that individual is a monster.

Society has certain standards and those standards include our physical

appearance. When those standards are not met, then the society starts

reacting to it. Usually the reactions are the refusal of ?normal? members of

society to communicate with a person who doesn?t meet the criteria of

acceptable physical appearance. No matter how good of personality that

monster possesses, people will still be scared of it. However, I believe if

given a chance and some period of time, people can get over the physical

abhorrence of an individual and accept that being as an equal. But it is a fact,

that people first judge by the appearance at first when they have met the

person.(clothes, manner in which that person behaves). It might seem

shallow, but that?s the way human beings behave and react to each other.

The effect of social disownment on that ?monster? can be catastrophic. The

?monster? doesn?t know that these people despise his appearance, not his

personality, so he reacts angrily to this society. The true identity of his cannot

be seen to people, however he will believe that they hate him for him, for true

him, which is not true at all. In Mary Shelley?s ?Frankenstein? relationship

between an individual and society is very important. The appearance of the

monster, created by Frankenstein, is the biggest problem that monster had.

He realized that the society would never accept him for who he is because of

his awful appearance. Even the master himself, Frankenstein, is abhorred by

his creation. After all, Frankenstein was the one that sewed the monster up

from all the body parts that he was digging up. After all, he was supposed to

help the monster live and function. That wasn?t the case. Frankenstein himself

was absolutely mortified when he saw the monster running to him. ? I

trembled with rage and horror?He (monster) approached; his countenance

bespoke bitter anguish, combined with disdain and malignity, while its

unearthly ugliness rendered it too horrible for human eyes.? (65) The

description of the monster is truly horrible. That is why he will never be

accepted into human society, no matter how he tried to please those

members of society. The passage from the novel that clearly illustrated the

relationship between the society and an individual was when Frankenstein?s

monster was observing the family of three: young man, his wife and an old

man. The monster was astonished by how beautiful these strangers were.

Even the old man was beautiful to him. ?Old man, taking up an instrument,

began to play, and to produce sounds, sweeter than the voice of the

thrush?It was a lovely sight, even to me, poor wretch! who had never

beheld aught beautiful before?(72) The monster never saw anything before

that capture him so. The sight of these people gave him pleasure. He was

amazed how caring the people in the cottage were to each other. Poor

wretch only was treated badly by people and this caring way of dealing with

each other was new and fresh to him. He became gentler, in a way. As he

kept observing the people in the cottage, he realized that he has to learn more

about them, that he has to learn how to speak and be able to express himself,

his emotions, maybe even his gentler side. So he continues to observe the

family. ?What chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people; and I

longed to join them, but dared not. I remembered too well the treatment I

had suffered the night before from the barbarous villagers.? (73) The monster

saw that family was poor. That a lot of times the young man and woman

would put food in front of the old man, and reserve none for themselves. The

monster started feeling bad about stealing food from them, he abstained and

ate what he found in the forest. This act of kindness from the side of

Frankenstein?s creation, shows that he has a consciousness, not completely

spoiled by society?s violent reaction to him. The monster didn?t stop there.

He realized that the young man spends a lot of time gathering wood in the

forest, so what the monster proceeded to do was taking the man?s tools and

gathering the woods for them. The young woman and the young man were

happy to see the wood in front of their house, and also it brought pleasure of

satisfaction to the monster to see them happy. Frankenstein?s monster

wanted to get accepted by people. That is obvious when he will start studying

the language to be able to communicate with people better . For him it was a

godlike science, and he wanted to learn it. First he learned the basics of it,

but when he finally got to reading he learned his entire new vocabulary and

greatly expanded his knowledge of the language. He now was able to

express himself. He learned of the ways of society, and that helped him in

understanding the people better. ?The strange system of human society was

explained to me. I heard of the division of property, of immense wealth and

squalid poverty; of rank, descent, noble blood. (80) The monster now

wanted to introduce himself to the family(society). He felt that he needed their

love and their protection. He also felt, that with time, he feels outcast more

and more. Finally monster decided to introduce himself to the father; the old ,

blind man. The old man was kind to, he advised him not to lose his hope,

since there is brotherly love out there for him. However, monster?s hopes

were crushed when Felix and Agatha entered the cottage. They were

abhorred by monster?s looks. Agatha fainted and Felix hit the monster with a

stick. Even though the monster could have easily hurt Felix, he didn?t do it

because there was still love for them in his heart. Soon afterwards De Lacy?s

left the cottage. In this instance, we can clearly see what have happened. The

family (society) was prejudiced against the monster because of his outer

features. They judged him by the way he looked, but not by the way he was.

At that time, Frankenstein?s creature, made an impression of a very kind,

open, and intelligent individual and the unfairness of the family really hurt him.

?I continued for the remainder of the day in my hovel in a state of utter and

stupid despair. My protectors had departed, and had broken the only link

that held me to the world. For the first time the feelings o revenge and hatred

filled my bosom.? (93) The emotional reaction of the monster to this kind of

treatment was normal. It would have been not normal to have him be

indifferent to the cruelties of people. He was angry at them, and his creator.

However these feelings turned him on the path of anger and revenge. First he

set the cottage on fire and then ?danced with fury? around it. (94) It brought

him pleasure to cause destruction, because his life was destroyed, and his fate

miserable. The theme of the relationship between an individual and society is

present throughout the whole novel. There is a relationship between Victor

and outside world, the way the world viewed his obsessions, and how people

viewed each other through the lens of social correctness. However the

prejudice the society has towards individuals is clearly seen throughout the

novel. The society judges people by certain acceptable standards and when

those standards are not met members that person gets disowned. It is a sad

but true practice that existed throughout the ages. People who have been

born with certain defects in their appearance or speech have to go through a

lot in their lifetimes to achieve anything at all. It is an impossible task for a

person to solely judge the other one by their personality only. However, I

believe that it is worth the shot. People would avoid many problems if they

didn?t accent their looks and looks of the other people. There is something

Darwinian about the exclusion of the individual by the society. He believed

that people affiliated, contacted only with individuals who possess a healthy

gene pool, so it could be an another explanation for the way people behave

themselves. Frankenstein?s monster was not only abandoned by society, but

by his creator himself. I believe if his master accepted him for who he was,

then there wouldn?t be so much anger and resentment in the monster.

However, the monster didn?t have anybody who would understand and

understandingly he sought revenge against Frankenstein and the rest of the

society. He declared war on humankind.

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