Nature vs. Nurture in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein Essay

Nature vs. Nurture in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein Essay

Length: 1850 words (5.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a comparison of Nature vs. Nurture. Some critics argue that the Being is a monster from birth, while others claim that it cannot be limited to such a narrow category. The argument lies in the education of the Being. He is not a born killer, but is created by the rejection of society. The Being is born an innocent creature with ability to appreciate the sublime, but after learning about human emotions, he is transformed into a monster through the emotional rejection he receives from a human family.

The Being is ignorant about the world around him for the first half of his life. He does not harm or attack another human being. He moves and reacts in similar fashions to that of an infant, however, due his size and appearance humans, including the Being’s creator, run away in fear. The Creator exclaims to a friend:

His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken, but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped, and rushed down stairs. I took refuge in the courtyard belonging to the house which I inhabited; where I remained during the rest of the night… (Shelley 35)
The Being here shows actions that mimic those of an infant. The extended arms and the inarticulate sounds are the only way infants have to communicate. The wrinkled grin is the closest expression a newborn can get to a smile and the reaching arm is a gesture that says "I want to be held," not "I’m going to hurt you." The Creator does not see this, and instead of showing love and affection towards his child, he runs away to the other end of the house. His Creator’s response forces the Being to depart from the building and survive on i...


... middle of paper ...


...s character for the rest of the story. The creature that started life as an innocent individual is now a ruthless killer because of the rejection by the family he desires.

The Being in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is not born a murderer. The De Lacys transform him into a monster by their rejection. This denial of affection ultimately leads to his transition from innocent child to heartless killer. The knowledge he gains in the forest shows his innocence but the false sense of acceptance he gains from mimicking the De Lacy family is the main influence leading to his transformation. His desire to be accepted and his obsession with affection are the main forces that lead to his change in character. Ruthless monsters are not born monsters, they are made into mosters.



Works Cited
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Ed. J. Paul Hunter, New York: Norton & Company, 1996

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Nature And Nurture In Victor Frankenstein By Mary Shelley Essay

- Throughout history, many have debated whether an individual's behavior is a result of DNA inheritance or developed through the environment they have grown to experience. One side believes that an individual inherits their behavior through nature which is DNA just like how it determines the child’s eye color, type of hair and the possibility of diseases. The other side argued behavior is developed through the environment in which they have experienced through the years. John Locke explains that at birth, a child is born with a blank slate and as they grow their mind is filled with experiences....   [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley]

Strong Essays
1744 words (5 pages)

Nature vs Nurture in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Essay

- Philosophers and scientists alike have debated for centuries whether a person’s character is the result of nature or nurture. In the writings of Thomas Hobbes, it is expressed that humans are endowed with character from birth, and that they are innately evil in nature. John Locke’s response to this theory is that everyone is born with a tabula rasa, or blank slate, and then develops character after a series of formative experiences. The idea that true character is the result of experiences and societal interaction is a theme deeply explored throughout Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein....   [tags: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein]

Strong Essays
2037 words (5.8 pages)

Nature vs. Nurture in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Essay

- Nature (our genes) and nurture (our environment) affect our individual differences in behavior and personality. In the novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley addresses the conflict of nature vs. nurture. Victor Frankenstein creates a "child" whom he abandons upon birth. This brings up questions such as, was the creature genetically inclined to be evil, or did the hostility he encountered turn him evil. Are one's surroundings determined by who they become later in life. Does nurture form one's characteristics that will determine who someone is later in life....   [tags: monter, behavior, personality]

Strong Essays
892 words (2.5 pages)

Nature and Nurture in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Essays

- The nature vs. nurture discussion is extremely vital in Blessed Virgin Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein and so the creature he creates every have academic degree innate nature that factors into each of their personalities. Frankenstein and so the creature unit of measurement subjected to 2 really totally different nurturing styles. although every nature and nurture unit of measurement necessary throughout the novel, the character argument is guilty for the season of Victor Frankenstein, whereas the nurture argument is guilty for the season of the creature....   [tags: victor, creature, monster]

Strong Essays
1135 words (3.2 pages)

Nature vs. Nurture in Mary Shelley's Monster, Frankenstein. Essay

- For nearly 2 centuries Mary Shelleys Frankenstein has been considered by many to be the ultimate human vs monster conflict. However what makes someone a “monster”. Appearance. Character traits. Since the creature was born as an outsider humans neglected him and he becomes malicious. In the beginning an overly ambitious victor creates an imperfect creature. Since he is neglected by his creator as he is born an outsider he faces societies shunning. This causes him to take his wrath out on victors family....   [tags: creature, shunned, humanity]

Strong Essays
672 words (1.9 pages)

Nurture vs. Nature in the Novel "Frankenstein" Essay

- In Frankenstein, various themes are introduced. There are dangerous knowledge, sublime nature, nature versus nurture, monstrosity, and secrecy and guilt. I chose a main theme as nature versus nurture. Nature is some traits that a person is born with, and nurture is an environment that surrounds a person. The novel indirectly debates whether the development of individual is affected more by nature or by nurture through Victor and the Monster. In the novel, Victor is raised up by two happy parents in caring and indulgence....   [tags: Mary Shelley, nature vs nurture]

Free Essays
415 words (1.2 pages)

Essay about Nurture Argument In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

- While many scientists contributed to the nature versus nurture argument in the past, it is a topic greatly debated today. Modern scientists agree that a mixture of nature and nurture contributes to growth and development. However, scientists in generations past agreed that nurture was the most important factor in growth. Likewise, the effect of nurture on nature argument is prevalent to describe the fall of the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where the monster’s growth results from the hostile environment he lived in, the fact that he was forced to teach himself the ways of life, and the base nature provided for a combination of the factors mentioned before which all contributed and b...   [tags: Nature versus nurture, Human nature, Twin study]

Strong Essays
939 words (2.7 pages)

Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein - A Man 's Thirst For Knowledge And The Consequences Of His Actions

- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein depicts a man’s thirst for knowledge and the consequences of his actions. The main character Victor Frankenstein embraces an act of monstrous proportions and creates his own being, known as the creature. A passage from the text is spoken in the voice of the beast and discusses his distress of being considered an atrocity. It explores the theme of humanity’s natural attraction for monstrosity. The prose alludes to the debate as to whether malicious behaviour is due to a person’s nature, or to how they are nurtured....   [tags: Nature versus nurture, Human nature, Frankenstein]

Strong Essays
1024 words (2.9 pages)

Discussion And Nurture In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay

- In the story Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Shelley uses obsession, nurture, and nature as a theme for the good and also the bad things occurring throughout the story. The “monster” who is thought to be the evil one through the story is thought otherwise when Victor is the father figure who did not care for the monster when it was little. Mary Shelley was an English novelist who was born in Somers Town, London on August 30th, 1797 (Scribner, 466). Shelley's mother had died just a couple of days after her birth so Mary never actually got to meet her mother but instead she was forced to live with her father and his wife....   [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Life, Family, Father]

Strong Essays
1000 words (2.9 pages)

Nature Vs. Nurture : The Monster 's Constant Rejection From Society Essay

- American psychologist and well renowned author Jerome Kagan states “Genes and family may determine the foundation of the house, but time and place determine its form.” The topic of nature vs. nurture is highly known to the English literature community and is classified as a major aspect of gothic works. In the novel Frankenstein the author Mary Shelley uses the monster’s constant rejection from society to demonstrate that an individual’s traits are affected more by their environment and their surroundings than by nature....   [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley]

Strong Essays
1100 words (3.1 pages)