Thursday, September 15, 2011


Addiction: "the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes sever trauma." (

An addiction is a sickness. An addiction, whether it be to drugs, alcohol, sex, or food, can take over your life. An addiction can force someone to make decisions that will ultimately hurt not only themselves, but the people closest to them.

Victor Frankenstein has an addiction to knowledge. Victor Frankenstein has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Victor Frankenstein will continue working, creating and thinking no matter who will be hurt as an outcome. At first, this may sound like a positive quality to possess however in the case of Victor Frankenstein, it is not.

I knew well, therefore, what would be my father's feelings; but I could not tear my thoughts from my employment, loathsome in itself, but which had taken an irresistible hold of my imagination. I wished, as it were, to procrastinate all that related to my feelings of affection until the great object, which swallowed up every habit of my nature, should be completed. (Shelley 51)

Victor 'knows well' how his behavior, actions and 'employment' will affect his family and the love of his life. He describes his actions as selfish and loathsome, but pursues them without hesitation. An addiction tends to blind a person of rational decisions and thoughts, however Victor seems to aware of his addiction yet allows it to consume him nonetheless. It is here that Victor proves he is untrustworthy. When a person suffers from a severe addiction they, more often than not, deny that there is anything wrong. Addiction is a sickness or disease and when you have it, you cannot see it. Victor clearly sees he has an addiction, knows it's repercussions and still continues down a dangerous and destructive path in order to create his monster.

I can recognize the signs of addiction because it has directly affected my life. One of the closest members of my family suffered from a narcotic addiction and thankfully, overcame it. I directly connect an addiction to sickness or disease. There was denial, avoidance, indecision and heartache. There was a time that he said there was nothing wrong. Never once, while sick, he admitted to having an addiction. It was not until an intervention with his loved ones that he realized he needed to change. Sober for the past couple of years, he finally saw his addiction and changed in order to keep his family and friends in his life. Because he knew, if he continued to follow the same path, he could lose them forever and that was not a risk he was willing to take.

Perhaps only because I experienced the affects of addiction first hand, I can confidently say that I would not want Victor Frankenstein as a part of my life. I cannot fathom how someone could recognize an addiction and not prevent it from ruining their life. Victor's unending desire for knowledge pushed away everyone who was most important to him. Ultimately proving that 'bad knowledge' does exist and that without family and friends, you have nothing. Victor realizes this life lesson after it is too late. He can do nothing else but warn a new friend who shares similar interests, passions and goals to use caution before proceeding forward...

"Unhappy man! Do you share my madness? Have you drank also of the intoxicating draught? Hear me - let me reveal my tale, and you will dash the cup from your lips!" (Shelley 17)


  1. The argument that Victor has an addiction is a strong and valid point to make and has the potential to be a very powerful essay. I think the writer's personal experience provides good insight on the topic, but more emphasis should be placed on Victor (especially because the assigned word count is relatively low). I think there needs to be more textual evidence and support for the argument about Victor instead of simply summarizing it-it needs to be "shown". Also, I thought the term "bad knowledge" was really interesting but I wanted to know more about that. I think that a paragraph dedicated to this idea would be extremely helpful.

  2. First off, I found the opening of this essay startling, in a good way. You don't avoid most of the standard essay crutches, and your writing is bold and clear, at least to start out with. I also find the argument itself interesting and compelling (incidentally, Victor uses narcotics himself - on 211 he discusses his use of laudanum, which is brand infused with opium!!!). This is an exceptionally interesting beginning.

    But Alison is right - you need to show, not tell, to do, not to summarize. The claim is fascinating, but rather than both proving it and showing us why it matters, you stumble off into a critique of Victor's character. That's ok, actually, but it doesn't measure up to the beginning.

    To think back to the prompt - you're framing a way in which Victor is deeply untrustworthy. Now, how should it shape our reading of him *in the text itself*? I'd love, for instance, to have your reading of his speech to the sailors at the end...

    Great beginning, mediocre and abrupt conclusion.