Frankenstein and Humanity

Topics: Human, Meaning of life, Religion Pages: 7 (2590 words) Published: December 16, 2012
Monstrous Humanity
The character of Frankenstein has evolved in today’s pop culture to be a giant, green monster that chills the bones of children. Children recognize his zombie-like walk with his arms reaching out as well as the bolts in his neck. They think he grunts and groans to communicate. Nonetheless, these assumptions of the authentic Frankenstein are mistaken. His differences from humanity are diminutive once analyzed. The being Victor Frankenstein created possesses civilized characteristics and actions. The monster is a male who learns to talk, read, interact, and survive in an unfamiliar world by himself. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor’s creation is often referred to as “the monster,” however after analyzing the being deeper than his appearance, the creature is indeed human. This being develops intellectually, emotionally and morally, which should allow him to be considered more than a monstrous species. The basic definition of humanity is under scrutiny when labeling this being as human. In this novel, society labels the being as a monster after they have rejected him from their kind due to his appearance. However, one may not judge a book by its cover. The definition of humanity is, in fact, greater than appearance and deeper than judgments. Humanity is “language, reason, intellect and moral conscience” (Ingold 14). Humanity is what differs our species from any other type of life. Human nature has this adaptation due to our “dramatic increase in brain-size” (Ingold 61). This adaptation has allowed us to evolve differently from animals. Humanity has “broad characteristics” (Ingold 564) and many different aspects that it can be analyzed upon. One aspect of a stable human being is their relationships. The being’s only connection to humanity is Victor who abandons him. With that said, the being lacks the ability to appropriately interact with others. In addition, he reaches an antithesis; society rejects interaction with the being based upon his monstrous appearance. One example of the monsters rejection is “his first experience with humanity he tells us, already demonstrated the hopelessness of the specular relation: the shepherd he discovered in a hut fled shrieking from his sight, the villagers pelted him with stones” (Brooks). No matter where he went, even from his first memory, the creature was not accepted. The threats he received to leave were deliberate and painful. The being quickly realizes his luck of niche in the public and retreats into isolation. Curiosity about his “new” surroundings causes the monster to stray from seclusion to learn about himself though others. In his hopelessness, he observes, “a child deprived of a loving family becomes a monster” (Mellor). After watching different families, the being familiarizes himself with care and love. He learns infants grow up happy with support and love all around – something he has never encountered in his life. With Victor’s abandonment and “inability to sympathize with his child, to care for or even to comprehend its basic needs, soon takes the extreme form of putative infanticide” (Mellor), the lack of parental influence greatly damages the being to becoming a monster. He has received no love or care in his life, which generates room for abhorrence and despair. This causes his actions to reflect his feelings and lose all hope of humanity. Rousseau’s idea of humanity is, “a man left to himself from birth would be more of a monster than the rest” (Mellor), meaning the being is now being compared not to a human raised under normal circumstances, but a person whom grew up in isolation. If the monster were compared to a man who grew up completely rejected from society and love there would likely be little difference in the two. The creature reflects a human’s behavior and instincts under his extreme circumstances. The second aspect of humanity that must be addressed is the soul of the being. The moment that brought...

Cited: Brooks, Peter. What Is a Monster?(According to Frankenstein). Body Work. Harvard
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Haggerty, George E. Frankenstein and the Unnameable. Gothic Fiction| Gothic Form.
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1989
Ingold, Tim. Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology. New York: Taylor & Francis, 1994.
Loveridge, Mark. Another Monster in Frankenstein? Notes and Queries. 1990. Web. 10 Apr.
Mellor, Anne K. Making a Monster. Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters.
Methuen, 1988
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Kaplan, 2011.
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