Social Geography and Monstrosity
Social geography plays a big role in a person's life. Social geography includes segregation, economics, class, and race. All of these factors play a part in how a person lives and the way they are treated in society. Another factor that affects a person's society is the way that a person looks. Monstrosity can affect a person's entire life as far as where they live and even their class. In the novels Frankenstein, The Monster and Native Son, there is a relationship between social geography and monstrosity. The characters in the novels were victims of the relationship between monstrosity and social geography.
In the novel Frankenstein, the monster was singled out because of his monstrous looks. The reason he had such looks was because of the unnatural manner of his creation. The monster was created with a mix of stolen body parts and chemicals. One look at the monster would make anyone want to get out of his path. Once the monster came to life he was abandoned by his creator without any direction. He was left to fend for himself and deal with the prejudices that people had without getting to know his situation. The monster also didn't know how to react to the reactions from people which made him start to commit crimes. The monster said, "I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on" (Shelley 19). This eruption of angry self-pity as the monster questions the injustice of how he has been treated compellingly captures his inner life, giving Walton and the reader a glimpse into the suffering that has motivated his crimes. While the monster was wandering the town he encountered a family, and he learned how to speak by watching them. The monster decided to introduce himself to the family. He decided to do this because the family never turned anyone away that needed assistance. The monster thought, "I dared not think that they would turn them from me with disdain and horror (Shelley 106)." Unfortunately, the monster was wrong. When he finally did go to their home he was greeted with looks of horror and shrieks. This is an example of how monstrosity and social geography have a relationship because the monster's looks affect his social life. The monster was segregated from the rest of the townspeople because he was different. Not only was he different but he was a monster. The Monster was turned away from people that have been segregated because of their class. The family and the Monster were tied together because they were both on the bottom of the totem pole when it came to class. Even though, they had that relationship the family still found themselves to be better than the Monster because of his grotesque looks.
In addition to the novel, Rewriting the Family: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein' in its Biographical/Textual Context discusses the relationship between monstrosity and social geography. In the article, Elisabeth Bronfen writes "the creature's revenge was on his creator and on the unjust human society that had rejected him" (Bronfen). This excerpt reiterates the fact that being rejected by society can have negative effects on the person being affected. Bronfen says that the misery brought about by rejection and injustice produced the creature's desire for evil. The creature desires evil because he has been hurt by civilization. He was continuously rejected which quickly changed his attitude of wanting to belong. He gave up on wanting to belong because he was an outcast. The journal also brought up the idea of Victor being more monstrous than the monster. Bronfen felt this way because of the way Victor showed no sense of compassion or empathy. She writes, "Victor has no sense of empathy or compassion, whereas the monster, although hideous and rejected by society as an outcast, has a warm heart and learns the value of love" (Bronfen). In The Monster, Henry, a black man, also experienced segregation and class discrimination. In the...
Cited: Bann, Stephen. Frankenstein, Creation and Monstrosity. Bronfen, Elisabeth. Rewriting Family: Mary Shelley 's ‘Frankenstein ' in its Biological/Textual Context. Journal 1, Volume 1. Reaktion Books. 1994
Howe, Irving. "Black Boys and Native Sons". http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/howe-blackboys.html
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