Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is the monster Human? Yes and No

We as human beings are animals with logical and intelligent minds. We are able to speak sophisticated languages and communicate with our own kind. We have the ability to control our own desires. Human beings are aware of the things we do wrong and learn from mistakes. We are always trying to improve the quality of life as an individual and as a group. Is the monster human? The answer would be yes and no, from the point of view of different time periods.

The monster is human or may be superhuman from our perspective, because we are living in. The world is extremely different from now to when Frankenstein written. As human being we are always pursuing our individual and social rights. The human rights revolutions and movements against hierarchies, tyrannies and discriminations all over the world are caused by one reason and one reason only: we are the human beings, we desire freedom and equal rights as any other human being. A lot of people sacrificed their life fighting for freedom and justice, so their next generation could live a better life. Many years ago, when the slavery events were active, the African people were considered to be inferior creatures, Europeans treated Africans like animals. It was also the darkest history in America until the African American started to fight for their human rights. The monster was like a slave, trying to fight for his equal and human rights.

The monster shows no different desires than human beings do. The monster was trying to let the human beings know that its existence as kind and friendly creature and to appreciate what they done to him, even though the cottagers didn’t know it exists “The winter advanced, and an entire revolution of the seasons had taken place since I awoke into life. My attention, at this time, was solely directed towards my plan of introducing myself into the cottage of my protectors. I revolved many projects; but that on which I finally fixed was, to enter the dwelling when the blind old man should be alone. I had sagacity enough to discover that the unnatural hideousness of my person was the chief object of horror with those who had formerly beheld me.”(Shelley pg 147). A man without friends could be lonely. As the only one of his kind, the monster express its sorrow and lonely gracefully. “God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even form the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and abhorred.”(Shelly pg 145) After the monster spent months observe cottagers’ daily human activities. The monster envies the family and wants to be a part of the family. Its good ego made me wanted to do something for the family. “I discovered also another means through which I was enabled to assist their labours. I found that the youth spent a great part of each day in collecting wood for the family fire; and, during the night, I often took his tools, the use of which I quickly discovered, and brought home firing sufficient for the consumption of several days.”(Shelly pg 121)

Not only that the monster possessed all human personality traits. It also can do things way beyond our limitation. As the new borne creature, the monster survived harsh winter in the wild, compares to a newborn human baby in that kind of harsh environment, the possibility of surviving in very low. At two years of age, the monster mastered human language and speak the language fluently and as well as reading. With enlarged size of the body, the monster running speed was considered to be superhuman speed by Frankenstein, its creator. “As I said this, I suddenly beheld the figure of a man, at some distance, advancing towards me with superhuman speed.”(Shelley pg 105) The strength was also powerful to monster. “Felix darted forward, and with supernatural force tore me from his father, to whose knees I clung: in a transport of fury, he dashed me to the ground and struck me violently with a stick. I could have torn him limb from limb, as the lion rends the antelope. But my heart sunk within me as with bitter sickness, and I refrained.”(Shelley pg151)

The monster possessed everything that human beings have and beyond. That’s why the monster is human. “ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” said the leader of civil movement, Martin Lutheran King Jr, in his “I have a dream” speech. His dream eventually come true in our generation and will last forever. In our generation, we value and judge people by their inner contents not the skin of color and appearance of the people. We would respect him as a smart person in the world.

In the time of the monster been created, it was just impossible to for people to consider the monster was a human beings. Majority people at that time were religions. They believe god created them after his own image. “God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image.”(Shelley, pg 145) The monster’s appearance and skin color are different than the human’s, which mean it’s not a human.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Lynd Ward. Frankenstein: the Lynd Ward Illustrated Edition. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2009. Print.


  1. I really like the way you compared how the different time periods would have accepted the monster. It was a unique twist on a pretty general question. Your quotes were all very relevant to the points you used to make your argument. You may want to elaborate on the superhuman idea in the second paragraph.

  2. Your definition of humanity has so many components that it would be impossible to handle them all in one essay. On the other hand, I find the incorporation of a historical element/component promising. In order to use history effectively, though, you need to do something specific with it. Generalizations about slavery (Shelley wasn't American, which might matter) aren't good enough - going to the details of her views of colonialism is probably what you need.

    Through the rest of the essay, instead of digging into some specific aspect of the text, you get more general - jumping to Martin Luther King, and making the curious claim that because the monster is "more than human" he is therefore human - as if there is no point of view that would understand "human" and "superhuman" as contradictory.

    Certainly the details of your grammar need work. Even more importantly, though, you need to focus on a single, streamlined argument. What do you want to claim about the novel, and how will you prove it? Going to history (say, the colonization of America, the french revolution, etc.) would be effective, but you need to do the right history for that to work.