Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, sheds light on the importance of appearance through the tale of an unwanted creation that is never given a chance by society. Ironically, the supposed beast was initially much more compassionate and thoughtful than his creator, until his romantic and innocent view of the human race was diminished by the cruelty and injustice he unduly bore. Not only does the creature suffer the prejudice of an appearance-based society, but other situations and characters in the novel force the reader to reflect their own hasty judgment. The semi- gothic novel includes several instances of societal prejudice that include the isolation and outcast of Frankenstein's creation, the creature's biased opinion of the cottagers, and the unbalanced and inappropriate classification of Victor.
Throughout the course of the creature's isolated and pathetic journey, he is never given the opportunity to participate in human interaction, as he so deeply deserves. Upon his creation, the reaction of Victor, his maker, is so vividly appalling; one forgets that this is actually the birth of a human being. His 'father', Victor, is so selfish and has such a lack of responsibility and foresight, that he creates a human being for the simple purpose of recreation, intellectual stimulation, and the thrill of 'the chase'. Frankenstein himself refers to his own creation as, "...the life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed" (88; ch.1; vol. 2). Victor is solely interested in the beneficial aspects on the surface of creating, just as his interest in the exterior 'monster' is superficial. Not only is Victor's quest selfish, but his goal is frivolous as well. Victor's initial opinion of...
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...rs, and even condone the labeling of Victor's benevolent 'child' as 'monster'. Had the image-obsessed society paused for one moment to introspect the personality that they feared, a multitude of lives could have been saved.
Works Cited and Consulted
Bloom, Harold. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. New York: Chelsea, 1987.
Botting, Fred. Making monstrous. Frankenstein, criticism, theory. Manchester University Press, 1991.
Boyd, Stephen. York Notes on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Longman York Press, 1992.
Mellor, Anne K. Mary Shelley. Her Life, her Fiction, her Monsters. Methuen. New York, London, 1988.
Patterson, Arthur Paul. A Frankenstein Study. http://www.watershed.winnipeg.mb.ca/Frankenstein.html
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. Edited with an Introduction and notes by Maurice Hindle. Longman York Press, 1998.
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