AP Literature and Composition, Yearlong
Secrecy, like many other things in life, should be taken in moderation. Too much and one becomes isolated, distant to all friends and family members. Too little and one discovers that there is no privacy. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein has a problem deciding whether or not to tell his secret. Through Victor, Shelley warns us of the dangers of secrecy, and isolation, as well as the necessity of secrecy. In this classic, Shelley hints at secrecy should not be taken lightly; one must find equilibrium between isolation and publicity.
In Frankenstein, Shelley warns of the dangers of isolation. For example, after Victor fled his own apartment, and meets up with Clerval, Clerval notices “how very ill” Victor appears, (Shelley 52). Clerval picks up on one of the dangers of excessive secrecy: sickness. It could be homesickness or an actual treatable disease. When one is isolated from loved ones, or any kind of human contact, one starts to think and act in a way that is considered unnatural. One begins to become an outcast, ever increasingly distant from the rest of society. Once this has occurred, one’s priorities begin to get disarrayed: Victor “promised [himself] both [exercise and family communication] when [his] creation should be complete,” (Shelley 47). Victor should have been exercising and writing to his family, instead of devoting all his time to his creation. But, the farther he went into his studies, the harder it became for him to stop researching, and experimenting. He was even depriving himself of sleep: when Clerval noticed “how thin and pale” Victor seemed, Victor responded withan explanation of “not allow[ing] [himself] sufficient rest,” (Shelley 52).
Also when the monster became animate, Victor should not have kept his creation a secret. He should have told the authorities, or at least Clerval. When talking about his studies,...