ENG 110- 01
November 8, 2010
Frankenstein’s Creature & His Emotional Struggle
The monster of Frankenstein has been represented through almost every type of popular media, and depictions of the monster vary anywhere from a mindless killer to a tragic hero. While each depiction is unique, the dominant cultural archetype of the monster is closest to that of a mindless killing machine. Each Halloween, Frankenstein masks are available to wear as costumes, as he remains one of the most popular and “scary” monsters in popular cultural. Before our class read the novel, some of the descriptions of Victor Frankenstein’s creature that came to students’ minds were along ...view middle of the document...
Most impressive is the ability of the creature to teach himself how to read and write. He constantly mentions specific words that he has picked up through observing the communication of the DeLacey family, and he is also able to read books he found because they were “written in the language, the elements I had acquired at the cottage” (116). His words with Mr. DeLacey are expressed so naturally that when he finally approaches the blind man, DeLacey comments, “by your language, stranger, I suppose you are my countryman; are you French” (122)? Humans in the modern era attend years of school to develop literacy, and language is learned through interaction beginning at the earliest stages of life; Frankenstein’s creature is able to learn these skills on his own. Even for a human being, this type of intelligence is amazing, showing us a glimpse into the capabilities of this creature. The ability to learn at the level that Frankenstein’s creature demonstrates is remarkable.
Aside from high intelligence, the main distinguishable human characteristic is the ability to form emotional connections with others. This, along with intelligence, is what ultimately separates humans from all other species, and the creature is desperate to for relationships with anyone. Just from observing the DeLacey family from afar, he becomes emotionally attached to them. He says the “gentle manners and beauty of the cottagers greatly endeared them to me; when they were unhappy, I felt depressed; when they rejoiced, I sympathized in their joys” (100). The thought alone of potentially forming a bond with this family “exhilarated” (103) him. Furthermore, the creature constantly pleads for “greater treasures than a little food or rest,” (120) the basic needs that non-human species are content with; instead, he “required kindness and sympathy,” (120) emotional needs that are unique to humans. However, any hope that the creature has of developing real relationships with those around him are quickly derailed, as humans are repulsed by his appearance. People are appalled when they see him, and he is attacked because the humans he comes into contact with are terrified by him. Eventually, he becomes miserable, a result of the realization that his physical differences will forever hinder his ability to form these connections.
The creature eventually develops an extremely low self-esteem because nobody is willing to accept him or befriend him due to his physical appearance. He deals with this emotional distress during a formative stage in his mental development, one that could be considered his adolescence due to the uniqueness of his life cycle. A study on adolescents showed that “feelings of closeness and intimacy provided through friendships contributed to perceptions of social acceptance, which in turn were related to perceptions of appearance and lack of emotional distress” (Feragen, Kvalem, Rumsey, and Borge 271-279) The creature failed to form any resemblance of “closeness and...