Shelly's Monster: a Misrepresentation of the Masses?

Topics: Inuit, Race, Indigenous peoples Pages: 3 (830 words) Published: April 11, 2013
Alexandra Karolidis

Holly McIndoe

English 100

Thursday March 21, 2013.

“Shelley’s Monster: A Misrepresentation of the Masses?” In Karen Piper’s “Inuit Diasporas: Frankenstein and the Inuit in England,” Piper argues that the creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a manifestation of the Northern Arctic inhabitants, specifically Greenlandic Inuits and Eskimos and the risks associated with their arrival in England. The early 19th century marked a time in which England became more involved in exploration, which subsequently fostered a national desire for knowledge. It was documented that upon the Arctic voyages taken, British explorers had come to discover colonies of Northern inhabitants. Fascinated with idea that there existed human races outside of Europe, the British explorers started communicating with these indigenous groups in order to gain knowledge on their language, customs and strategies for survival. On some occasions, indigenous peoples were brought back to Europe by the explorers so that could be exploited for their knowledge and “presented as novelties” to royalty. Shelley would have been readily exposed to the controversy surrounding the introduction of indigenous peoples into the European populace, which is why Piper suggests that Frankenstein was written as a means of illustrating the dangers that this race presented to England upon their arrival.

Piper goes on to justify that Frankenstein’s monster is a representation of the indigenous peoples based on the similarity in the physical description given in various European articles such as the Quarterly Review and Pinkerton’s Collection. Piper also points out that the loneliness and isolation felt by Shelley’s monster exemplifies the types of feelings that the indigenous peoples would have felt upon their arrival in Europe. In addition, these indigenous groups were often described as “primitive” and “naïve,” which is how Shelley’s monster is perceived throughout the novel given how...

Cited: Piper, Karen Lynnea. “Inuit Diasporas: Frankenstein and the Inuit in England.”
Romanticism 13:1. 2007: 63-75. Web.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. London: Penguin Classics, 1818. Print.
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