Nature and Nurture in Frankenstein and Rappaccini's Daughter

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Nature and Nurture in Frankenstein and Rappaccini's Daughter One of the most popular disputes in the history of philosophy regards whether nurture of a human being plays a more important role in the formation of its character than the genetic heritage that it bears. As a natural result, the dispute echoes in many literary works, not always directly, but sometimes taking the form of a pretext or a motif in a larger context. Such examples are "Frankenstein" by Marry Shelley and "Rappaccini's Daughter", by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Their authors relate the evolution of at least two characters, the monster and Beatrice, throughout both writings, with the way those characters were nurtured. Both authors use innocence as a common starting point for the evolution of these characters. The monster is the creation of Victor Frankenstein, a highly educated scientist. It is the result of a long time search for the miracle of life; the result of this search is not a human being, but merely a horrid-looking humanoid imitation of a man. The monster is not responsible for his hideous physical appearance; yet, he will have to face the consequences of his creator's lack of design capabilities. The reader is presented with the steps of the monster's modeling and creation. Victor Frankenstein devotes his entire attention and energy into this process, until the moment when the monster is brought to life. At this point, Victor recognizes the horrid looks of the newborn life form and in a moment of panic, abandons his creation. This is a turning point for both characters; the shock is too much for both to handle. The monster escapes and becomes a runaway child, seemingly helpless to communicate with other human beings due to the... ... middle of paper ... ...Reader." ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 35 (1989): 43-69. Levine, George. The Endurance of Frankenstein. Los Angeles: Moers, 1974. Male, Roy R. Hawthorne's Tragic Vision. Austin: Texas University Press, 1957. Marder, Daniel. Exiles at Home: A Story of Literature in Nineteenth Century America. Lanham: University Press of America, Inc., 1984. Patterson, Arthur Paul. A Frankenstein Study. http://www.watershed.winnipeg.mb.ca/Frankenstein.html Smith, Christopher. Frankenstein as Prometheus. http://www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/class/sf/books/frank/pap ers/FrankCS.html Spark, Muriel. Mary Shelly. New York: Dutton, 1987. Spark and Stanford. My Best Mary. New York: Roy,1944. Williams, Bill. On Shelley's Use of Nature Imagery. http://www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/class/sf/books/frank/papers/FrankWJW.html

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