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Lack of Knowledge Thesis Examination

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Lack of Knowledge Thesis Examination

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  • October 1999
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Lack of Knowledge

Jay Stuckey

"Knowledge is power." This is a famous phrase that has a lot of truth to it. What if the knowledge is incomplete? Is it still powerful or just a burden? Frankenstein and his creature are a prime example of the burden brought on one's life through incomplete knowledge. Frankenstein has a great grasp of knowledge of the physical world but lacks that grasp of knowledge of the emotional world. He creates a creature with the mind of a human but with a body that is severely disformed. I will discuss how the creature can be viewed as a symbol of Frankenstein's lack of knowledge and how that can be a burden on life, through an examination of their experiences, formal and informal. In some ways, the creature's gain in knowledge can be seen to resemble Frankenstein's gain in knowledge, as in when the creature starts learning from books. In other ways, their experiences are very much different.

As the novel progresses, it is very apparent that the word "world" for Frankenstein, is very much narrow-minded and limited. Frankenstein speaks of childhood and points out that he would rather seek knowledge of the "world" though investigation, instead of following the creations of the poets. (Shelly 87)[5] He thirsts for knowledge of the material world. If he notices an idea that is not yet realized in the material world, he attempts to work on the idea to get it realized, or give it a worldly existence. He creates the creature and rejects it because its worldly form did not reflect the brilliance of his original idea. The unlearned creature is thrown out into the world and is forced to discover the hidden meanings behind human life and society, on his own. Frankenstein speaks fondly of his youth because his parents were lenient and his companions were pleasant. (21)[5] His parents' believed that when bringing up their children there should not be punishment or a strict hold telling their children what to do. (21) Instead, they...

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