Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the Development of the Monster

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Knowledge comes from experience. Since birth, Mary Shelley’s Monster from her acclaimed epistolary novel, Frankenstein, has been assaulted by all of the difficulties of life, yet he has faced them completely alone. The Tabula Rasa concept is completely applicable to him. The Monster begins as a child, learning from mimicking and watching others. He then educates himself by reading a few books which help shape his personality and give him an identity. Following Maslow’s hierarchy of needs the Monster searches for and accomplishes the basic human necessities but feels alone, and needs human interaction and companionship. “My heart was fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy, and when wrenched by misery to vice and hatred, it did not endure the violence of the change without torture such as you cannot even imagine,” (Shelley 115). As the book progresses, the Monster ceases to be a one-dimensional and flat watcher of humanity. Through his numerous experiences and education, the monster instead morphs into a participator of humanity with the ability to achieve goals, broaden his personality and create himself an identity.

The Monster, created by Victor Frankenstein out of carefully selected corpses, is a round, dynamic character. Born as a tabula rasa, the creature is accosted by all the natural elements of our ordinary physical world as an adult with no guidance. He experiences light and sight, cold and hunger and immediate rejection by his creator. His mind is intellectually capable of this awareness very quickly. In the beginning of Chapter 11, the Monster recounts the ‘oppressive light’, insatiable thirst and extreme tiredness which he experienced shortly after becoming alive. “I was a poor, helpless, miserable wretch; ...

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...ces and the reactions he chose to have. The book serves as a moral, if the monster had been given proper attention and guidance he could have been accepted and become ‘good’ but since society chose to outcast him and treat him cruelly, he mimicked those behaviors and likewise in turn treated humanity with cruelty. The development of the monster was extensive in the emotional, psychological and intellectual areas, the dualism of his personality gives him a double-identity which leaves us to question whether he truly became like Adam or Satan.

Works Cited:

Lancaster, Ashley Craig. "From Frankenstein's Monster To Lester Ballard: The Evolving Gothic Monster." Midwest Quarterly 49.2 (2008): 132-148. Literary Reference Center. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft.Frankenstein. Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia Library, 1996. Print.
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