The Importance of Parental Figures in Human Development
The importance of parental figures in human development throughout childhood and adolescence is fundamental; parents provide their children with a foundation on which to lead their lives. Parents are expected to provide their children with food, shelter and other necessities for survival along with love and kindness which helps to develop the child’s personality. In the novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley explores the roles in which a parental figure can affect the development of a person as a whole. There are many different ways to raise a child and each way has its own implications, whether a child is over nurtured or rejected will influence the way they behave as adults. Shelley explores the different styles of parenting through the relationships of Victor and his parents, Justine and her parents, and Victor and his monster. Each of the various relationships utilizes a different model of parenting and the effect is shown through the behavior and attitudes of each character.
The first parent-child relationship that is shown in the novel is that of Victor and his parents. As a child Victor grew up with two caring and affectionate parents. His parents, Mr. Frankenstein and Caroline provided him and his siblings with love and compassion. They allowed their children to excel in their educational pursuits without pressuring them into a specific area of study. Victor commenting on his childhood remarks, “When my father became a husband and a parent he found his time so occupied by the duties of his new situation he relinquished many of his public employments, and devoted himself to the education of his children […] No creature could have more tender parents than mine.” (64, vol.1ch.1)His parents appeared to be the perfect parents. Unfortunately Victor’s mother, Caroline, died of scarlet fever when he was only 17 and about to go off to school in Ingolstadt. The death of his mother left him with a feeling of great loss and contempt. After his mothers death Victor felt that there was something missing in his life and tried to fill the void with his studies. While Victor was away at school he began to become detached from his family and engrossed himself in his studies. After his mother’s death he turned to the ancient studies of science and developed the idea that he could create life from death. He hid himself away from society and discontinued all communications with his family. Not only did he devote himself to his work but he neglected himself and as a result his health deteriorated not just physically but mentally as well. This detachment from his family and the support system that he had relied on in his earlier years led him into a mental downward spiral where is ability to think clearly was diminished. It was while he was in this state of mind that he defied the laws of science and nature and created his Monster.
From the time Victor was a child he was always interested in the general field of science. At the age of thirteen he found some books written by the author Cornelius Agrippa relating to the field of Natural Philosophy. These books soon changed his ways of thinking. He once approached his father regarding the topic of the books and his father responded by saying “Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash.”(68, vol.1ch.1) However this response did not dissuade Victor from pursuing these works, if anything it encouraged him to read further into them. Victor’s father took no care to explain to his son why the works were “sad trash” but rather dismissed him as though he had more important things to attend to. Victor comments, “If, instead of this remark, my father had taken the pains to explain to me, that the principles of Agrippa had been entirely exploded, and that a modern system of science had been introduced […] I should have certainly thrown Agrippa aside […] applied myself to the more rational theory of...
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