Impact Of Childhood In Frankenstein

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Of Storge and Agape: Childhood and Its Impact in Frankenstein
Frankenstein, a novel first published in 1818 and revised in 1831 by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, tells the story of a young scientist named Victor Frankenstein who creates a grotesque yet sagacious creature. Not only does Frankenstein raise questions about medical and scientific ethics, it is an exemplary representation of moral idealism versus reality and how actions can have unintended consequences, particularly those that took place during childhood. In the novel, Victor Frankenstein’s childhood is portrayed by himself as joyous and pleasant, compared to the alienated formative years of the Creature. Nonetheless, these characters’ childhoods share a certain similarity – both
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Right after the Creature is created, his jaws opened and “a grin wrinkled his cheeks,” Victor, with “the beauty of the dream [vanishing], and breathless horror and disgust [filling] his heart,” runs and takes refuge in the courtyard – the Creature is simply “ugly then.” Despite the fact that his limbs “were in proportion,” that Victor himself has “selected [the Creature’s] features as beautiful,” Victor hates what he sees and immediately abandons his “child” after its creation. Victor, after bearing the heavy responsibility to produce life, has forsaken the creature that he was originally the father figure to. This abandonment and lack of important formative years have cursed the Creature forever with self-hatred of his own appearance and nature. Yet, while Victor, because of a childhood full of neglection and an unquenched desire for knowledge, has sought seclusion to pursue a mastery of nature, the Creature, due to an abandoned childhood, seeks love and sympathy. Nonetheless, the role of the Creator cannot be blatantly disregarded – without proper guidance from Victor, the Creature cannot overcome his overwhelming sense of isolation, becomes enraged, and commits his first act of violence. Here, Shelley uses the distressing childhood of the Creature to illustrate the disastrous consequences of Victor’s lack of judgment and ethics, which stemmed from his own treatments during
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