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Frankenstein—the bad parent

Well, I must admit, I was one of those who thought that the monster’s name was Frankenstein, and that the scientist was just… some guy. I have been deceived. I also thought that the monster was going to be much more monstrous than he really was in the book. I was actually looking forward to it a little bit, to finally have a monster who is undoubtedly a monster, undoubtedly evil and vicious. But as much as this monster was a murderer, and his namelessness leads him to simply be called ‘Frankenstein’s monster,’ he really wasn’t that truly terrible. Again, we see a creature sadly misunderstood. While his appearance is certainly terrifying, and… unnerving (dead things brought back to life… zombies, anyone?) I can’t help but sympathize with him for being judged so superficially. Especially since the first person to reject him so harshly is his creator, Frankenstein, the closest thing he has to a father. That leads me think Victor would make a fairly bad parent, if you ask me. Again we find ourselves faced with the question of who is the monster. I would be one to lean toward answering this question with neither, as both the monster and Frankenstein do cruel and terrible things, but are also put through cruel and terrible things. I’m not incredibly brave, I would probably run away from something with “watery eyes” and “black lips” as well. But I would also probably be quite cruel if the only thing I knew from the beginning of my life was rejection and loneliness.

If, at the end, the monster had not come and given Victor that final farewell, I would perhaps be more open to calling them both monsters. But the fact that the pain he feels over the terrible things he’s done leads him to tell the people that he’s going to kill himself puts a whole new dimension to him, even so close to the end of the book. He knows his creator wanted him dead, and decides to carry out those wishes, even though he could have simply walked away, free from Frankenstein. He fears for others who he may harm, and says “I shall collect my funeral pile, and consume to ashes this miserable frame” (pg. 224). That one hit me right through the heart. We have on our hands a suicidal monster. Who, I believe, is really no monster. He did monstrous things, he did terrible, tragic things, but no one had ever shown him love or compassion, and so I cannot place the blame entirely on him.

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2 thoughts on “Frankenstein—the bad parent

  1. This is a really interesting post. It’s interesting how our definition of a monster is straying from something that does evil deeds and closer to something that often misunderstood and marginalized by society. This sort of leads us down that road that nature is less responsible for the creation of a monster than nurture. It seems like the monster is formed in reaction to it’s perception of itself and in reaction to the way it believes others perceive it. I think we tend to think of monsters as inherently bad, but this book especially, shows us that monsters are created not born.

    • Yes. I also feel that it was nurture that lead the monster astray as he ended up behaving as a child would when they want their parents to notice or do as they wanted them to. Although there are studies on twins, who get separated at birth or something, and many of them end up in similar situations in terms of IQ scores, names, livelihoods, etc… I only read one article in national geographic or something, but it was interesting to see how much DNA plays a role in who we are. Although I am not sure if Frankenstein would count as he is parts of many people.

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