Thursday, September 15, 2011

Monster or Human-Christina White

Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley, is a novel about Victor Frankenstein and his artificial life experiment. After his experiment goes terribly wrong, a "monster" is produced. Victor is ashamed of his creation and initially believes that the monster is far from human. One of the questions this literation raises, however, is whether or not the monster is actually human or not. Aside from the monster-like physical attributions of Victor's creation, when one takes a closer look at its' human-like qualities, it is evident that this monster is indeed human.

It is first necessary to define what a human is. A human being is a living, breathing organism who can understand the difference between right and wrong, can recognize his or her thoughts, emotions, and actions, and desires a sense of belonging. With this definition, one is able to prove that Frankenstein's monster is, in deed, human.

Soon after readers are introduced to the monster in Frankenstein, they learn that he, like most humans, understands the difference between good and evil, more specifically God and Satan. In today's world, whether one is religious or not, it is a common understanding that the devil is a representation of pure evil. If one compares him or herself to the devil, he or she is essentially declaring that they are evil. The monster believes everyone around him sees him as evil because of his monster-like appearance and states, "I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence...Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition" (Shelley 105). At this moment, the monster expresses that because of other's perceptions and beliefs, he ultimately thinks that he is related to Satan. This proves that he comprehends the extremities of good and bad, of God and Satan. If he was an actual monster, these thoughts would not enter his mind. He would be carefree of other's opinions and he would embrace the evilness within him.

At this same moment in the novel, the monster also discloses how he feels due to his association with the devil: "I was wretched, helpless, and alone" (Shelley 105). These feelings of sadness and loneliness confirm the human quality of recognizing one's thoughts and emotions. Human beings have a sense of feel that essentially allows them to experience hundreds of emotions. The monster, after being abandoned and ignored, feels dismal and desolate. These are feelings that any human being would experience during such times as abandonment. Once again, readers are able to make the connection between the monster's feelings with human feelings.

The last part of the definition of a human is the desire to belong. Humans obtain personal satisfaction by relating to and interacting with others. Experiences in life are most remembered when one is able to share them with friends and family. The monster realizes that he alone; he does not belong with anyone else. Because of this, he spends his time in isolation. Although he does not have anyone he can experience life with, the monster understands that he will not be able to survive without the company of a friend. He expresses these thoughts to Victor, his creator with the hope of obtaining someone he can share his life with: "You must create a female for me with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being...My creator, make me happy...Let me see that I excite the sympathy of some existing thing; do not deny me my request" (Shelley 118-120). Evidently, the monster acknowledges that in order to survive he needs association and interaction with a significant other. It is nearly impossible for humans to continue life's journey without the presence of others. Personal happiness and satisfaction strives from personal relationships, and the monster demands that this human right be granted to him for his survival.

Essentially, Victor's monster demonstrates human tendencies that suggest he is far from a monster. After revealing that he does not want to be associated with evil, he admits his feelings of grief and demands a significant other in order to satisfy the empty space in his life. In each of the three situations, it is evident that the monster is portraying human like characteristics. Because of this, it is proven that the so-called-monster is much more human than what one may initially think.


  1. Hey!! So We're supposed to comment on the post of the previous person's by Saturday night according to him.. But I'm not really sure what we're supposed to do. SO yeah. Your Blog was really good and stayed focused on what you wanted to prove in your argument. According to me, you did justice to the prompt and I can't think of anything else you can do to modify it. Keep up the good work! :)

  2. Thank you, I really appreciate it!

  3. The first paragraph does nothing - it's pure filler.

    The second paragraph gives your definition - while a little on the complicated side, it's more careful (less full of obvious problems) than most of the other definitions kicking around. It might be too complicated to handle in a short essay, though. We'll see. Let me point out, though, that some people (especially the severely mentally ill) would be excluded by your definition.

    Your discussion of belonging is competent, although that's also the weakest part of the definition (dogs want to belong; gorillas want to belong; etc.).

    Your discussion of the devil is much weaker, though, and it's the heart of the essay. Here's why: in class, we talked in detail about the novel's origins in Romanticism, and how a central idea in British Romanticism was to take Satan (the way he is portrayed in Milton, in particular), and turn him into a hero instead of the villain.

    In other words: Satan is *not* a straightforward representative of evil here, or in romanticism in general. You needed to remember and use our class discussion to write this part of the essay effectively.