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Frankenstein: Nature V. Nurture Essay

1006 words - 5 pages

Both nature and nurture contribute to the monsters behavior. However Mary Shelley suggests that nurture plays more of a role in the monsters development. The moment the monster opens his eyes he is alone. At first he acts civilized but after being repeatedly scorned by man he becomes spiteful and malicious. Doctor Frankenstein’s monster was not inherently evil or malicious; he was a product of society’s rejection.
The monster is alone from the very beginning. He is confused about his feelings so he sits down and cries. “I was a poor, helpless, miserable wretch; I knew, and could distinguish nothing; but feeling pain invade me on all sides, I sat down and wept.” (Shelley 84). Mary Shelley ...view middle of the document...

This supports Judith Harris’s argument that nurture is not limited to family, but is mainly influenced by “random environmental factors” (1“Nature”).
At this point the monster is still has a benevolent nature. He begins to watch and learn from the De Lacey family. He observed that the two younger ones would give food to their father before themselves. The monster is struck by their actions, and begins to perform anonymous acts of kindness towards the De Lacey family. When he sees that he is harming them by stealing their food, he begins to satisfy his hunger with berries and nuts instead. The monster also sees that Felix has to go out everyday to collect firewood so he begins collecting firewood for the family. After seeing how altruistic his companions are, the monster imitates them and starts becoming more selfless. The monster starts to become attached to the De Lacey’s and he becomes empathetic for them. “…when they were unhappy, I was depressed; when they rejoiced, I sympathized in their joys.” (Shelley 93). The monster learns everything by watching the De Lacey family, from language to being selfless. After a while he starts to see the De Lacey’s as his friends. Because peers have a huge effect on someone’s personality the monster starts to act more like the De Lacey family (2“Nature”).
After learning how to speak and read the monster reads three books that have been in his coat pocket. “I can hardly describe to you the effects of these books. They
produced in an infinity of new images and feelings…” (Shelley 108). He has had little interaction with the world, so he is very impressionable (Powell). He takes the stories very literally and they completely change the ideas he had developed about the world and himself. The monster begins to feel sad and dejected; he goes so far as to compare himself to the devil. With a new, bleak, outlook on life the monster begins to have second thoughts about introducing himself to the De Laceys....

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