The Blank Slate of Frankenstein’s Mind

The Blank Slate of Frankenstein’s Mind

Length: 476 words (1.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The philosophical root of Frankenstein seems to be the empiricist theory first promoted by John Locke in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In that essay, the mind is concieved as beginning as a blank slate or tabula rasa, upon which the various impressions gained by the outside world shape the personality. According to this strict empiricism, the mind contains no innate basis for the basic prerequisites for human socialization: a social code and/or morality with empathetic roots. As a result of the monster's isolation, he is unable to sympathize with human beings and loses respect for other intelligent life. Even though the monster has good intentions, his beneficence is subverted by the negative and anti-social reactions he receives from the people he encounters.

The most blatent passages in support of the tabula rasa can be found in the monster's account of the impressions of his early life at the beginning of Chapter IX (pg 70 Dover Edition). The relevant portion starts at the beginning of the chapter, but the passage of most interest is reproduced below:

"Several changes of day and night passed, and the orb of night had greatly lessened, when I began to distinguish my sensations from each other. I gradually saw plainly the clear stream that supplied me with drink, and the trees that shaded me with their foliage. I was delighted when I first discovered that a pleasant sound, which often saluted my ears, proceeded from the throats of the little winged animals who had often intercepted the light from my eyes. I began also to observe, with greater accuracy, the forms that surrounded me, and the boundaries of the radient roof of light which canopied me. Sometimes I tried to imitate the pleasant sounds of the birds, but was unable. Sometimes I wished to express my sensations in my own mode, but the uncouth and inarticulate sounds which broke from me frightened me back into silence."

While this account is probably a poor model of how an actual entity would behave upon being thrust into a brand new world of sensations with sufficient cognitive apparati to comprehend the impressions (categories and systemization are utilized almost immediately, although there would be no reason for the monster to arrange things in this way, "light from my eyes" is a physical principal [an incorrect one at that] and would not likely be used in a naive description.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Blank Slate of Frankenstein’s Mind." 28 Mar 2020

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Analysis Of Mary Shelley 's ' Frankenstein ' Essay examples

- Born Good. A timeless question that continues to stump psychologists. Are humans born good. Do we learn evil traits or are they imprinted into mind as we come into the world. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, written in the early 1800’s, this same question comes into play. Shelley presents two completely different beings, one brought up with a family in a happy setting, the other in solitude hated by everyone. Both human in nature brought up completely different. Frankenstein and the Monster show traits of both good and evil, however, they are both born good....   [tags: Good and evil, Evil, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley]

Research Papers
913 words (2.6 pages)

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]

Research Papers
1744 words (5 pages)

Rejection And Alienation Of Mary Shelley 's Frankenstein Essay

- Within Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein the theme of rejection and alienation shows how cruel treatment can make anyone a monster. Through the creature 's journey from a childlike kind being to a lonely a suffering being Shelley explores the feelings that accompany having a parental figure and society reject the creature. the novel shows how when someone is rejected and alienated by society they come to hate and curse it. Shelley was able to creature a deep and real character using her own past experiences with losses and loneliness....   [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Tabula rasa, Novel]

Research Papers
716 words (2 pages)

Essay on Human Nature And The Blank Slate

- Hsun Tzu, Chinese philosopher, argued Man’s nature is evil; goodness is the result of conscious activity. As Tzu writes, “Man is born with the desires of the eyes and ears, with a fondness for beautiful sights and sounds”(100-101). Through life though, one is able to decide what path to take; continue to be evil or become a better person. In a Ted Talk, Stephen Pinker discussed ‘Human Nature and the Blank Slate.’ Pinker made several strong reasons why one should doubt “Blank Slate”: one being children and another being people being born with certain instincts....   [tags: Human, Good and evil, The Blank Slate, Religion]

Research Papers
1074 words (3.1 pages)

Frankenstein: Philosophizing on the Nature Human Essay

- In her author’s note, Mary Shelley tells of the motivation that lit the spark for what would become one of the most famous novels of all time. Interestingly enough, Frankenstein was the result of a bet between four noted writers of the time: Mary (of course), her husband Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori. They all agreed to write a ghost story, and of the four Mary was the only one to finish. She writes that she wanted a story that would rival all other ghost stories. She said that she wanted to write a story that would, “…speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror…” (Shelley, xxiii)....   [tags: Mary Shelley, philosophy, ghost story]

Research Papers
1394 words (4 pages)

Essay about The Life Of Shelley : A Brief Biography Of Mary Shelley

- Biography of Mary Shelley: On August 30th, 1797, Mary Shelley who was originally Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, was born in Somers Town, London. She was the second child of educator and writer, Mary Wollstonecraft, and the first child of the philosopher and novelist William Godwin. Sadly for Shelley, she never got to know her mother that well, because her mom had died shortly after her birth. This had then left her father to care for her and her older half-sister Fanny Imlay (“Mary Shelley”). Mary Shelley was privileged in a literary sense because her father was a writer and because her dad had an extensive library (“Mary Shelley”)....   [tags: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft]

Research Papers
840 words (2.4 pages)

The Clean Slate By Mary Shelley Essay

- When Al Capone was born on January 17, 1899, nobody thought he would grow up to be one of the most notorious mobsters in all of crime history. Not many assumptions are made towards newborn babies, but the parenting that lies ahead determines its place in society. There are also many brilliant minds that grew up to be known for hard work and dedication. For example, the famous Steve Jobs was born an unknown man, but made himself known with the company Apple. His parents always supported his adventures in technology, especially his mom....   [tags: Frankenstein, Paradise Lost, Mary Shelley]

Research Papers
1096 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on John Locke and Metaphysics

- ... The distinction between primary and secondary qualities. Locke argues the crucial difference between two kinds of simple ideas we receive from sensation. Some of the ideas we receive resemble their causes out in the world, while others do not. The ideas which resemble their causes are the ideas of primary qualities: solidity, extension, figure, motion, and number. The ideas which do not resemble their causes are the ideas of secondary qualities: color, sound, taste, texture, and odor. Locke than states there is a real world out there beyond our comprehension....   [tags: philosophy, ideas, blank, slate, realism]

Research Papers
584 words (1.7 pages)

Analysis of Dickinson’s Pain has an Element of Blank Essay

- Analysis of Dickinson’s Pain has an Element of Blank    Although cryptic in language and structure, Dickinson gives her work an instinctually vivid sense of emotion.  Her examination of the feeling of pain focuses in on only a few of the subtler nuances of pain that are integral parts of the experience.  She draws in on an "Element of Blank" that she introduces in her opening line.  In exploring pain, she proposes that this "blankness" is a self-propagating force that is subject to the dynamic forces of time, history and perception, but only to an extent....   [tags: Element Blank]

Free Essays
1238 words (3.5 pages)

Frankestein Essay

- Once landing on shore, evening has fallen. Light is transitory, and the wind is rising violently. The narrator becomes exceedingly anxious, and resolves that either the creature or he will die tonight. Elizabeth observes his agitation and questions him; Victor gives her a vague answer, saying that the night is dreadful. Believing that he can spare Elizabeth a grisly combat scene, he bids her to retire before him, that he might gain knowledge of the creature's whereabouts. He walks up and down, waiting....   [tags: Elizabeth Frankestein]

Free Essays
400 words (1.1 pages)

Related Searches

Also, there is almost no way to know that the sounds of birds come from their throat, and little way for the monster to know this as birds are apt to adopt a flight response to a large imposing figure.), this passage nevertheless gives the reader of the early eighteenth century a intuitively correct model of how things might be perceived slowly by a newly existent mind.

Return to