Acceptance is very important in society, and the same perceptions apply just as much today as they did in the 1800’s. It is part of human nature to make instant judgments, and to form first impressions of a person before you know what they are really like, and this is what happened to Frankenstein’s monster in this book. Although it is almost impossible to avoid making these snap decisions, they can almost always be changed later on, and put right once you get to know the person. Everyone wants to be accepted for who they are, regardless of appearances or stature, however this is not always the case.
This can be related to the treatment the monster receives upon meeting other people. He is not “the norm”, and is undoubtedly ugly to look at, but that does not make him a bad person. Shelley manages to show this in such a way that the reader feels sorry for the monster, but we can see that it is something that is unlikely to change, as it is a normal part of society and human nature. Shelley shows her disgust at this harsh treatment through the monster’s feelings, which are shared with Victor later on in the book, and it is as if the author is pouring out her emotions, rather than the monster’s.
The hideous figure, the disfigured stature of this monster is the first thing noticed by Victor Frankenstein. “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles. ” This reference to the monster’s yellow skin depicts the same behaviour conducted in modern day racism. The colour of one’s skin does not dictate the intelligence, attitude and personality of a person. Regardless of the yellow skin of the monster, which would repulse and overwhelm most people, there is no need to carry over that emotion to judge the monster’s intellectual side.
The mind and body are two very different things; human beings have yet to distinguish that fact. Mary Shelley clearly feels very strongly about this unfair prejudice in place in society, and has tried (very successfully) to show her readers just how unjust it really is. However, until people actually do something about it, it is just a part of society which we will probably never be entirely without. We may feel that it is wrong, but it will always be there, and it is something people have learnt to deal with in society. The novel, “Frankenstein”, actually reflects quite badly on the society in which Mary Shelley lived.
It suggests that this type of behaviour was carrying on back then towards “different” people and was accepted as part of every day life. Humans have always and will continue to be scared of the unknown. Some might say that what you don’t know about can’t hurt you, but there is a sense of mystery and darkness behind unidentified things. This fear is ever increasing alongside the amount of horror films and novels, by which the general public is heavily influenced – maybe sometimes too heavily.
The public has always been influenced by the media, which is created by society, and with an increasing amount of stories and films out with the intention of scaring the audience, people are getting more and more prejudiced towards the unknown. Luckily this is counteracted by an increasing knowledge of other cultures and races, but Shelley lived in a society where people were still very ignorant about other people, and automatically assumed the worst. Although it is not shown outright, in “Frankenstein”, the monster actually experiences this fear as well as the villagers when he comes into their town.
Their fears were of the same thing – the unfamiliar; however their reactions were completely different. Some villagers threw rocks, and were trying to drive the monster away as if it was a worthless piece of society; others simply ran away in shock, screaming and scared. This is not justified by anything except his demeanor.
The monster, on the other hand, did not reply in a violent manner at all, he just tried to hide from all people from then on. This just goes to show how much people are affected by small things in their life. One incident such as this could ruin an entire life, and the villagers did not realise just how selfish they were being. They did not think about his feelings, and left him to support himself, poor and defenseless.
The public do not realise how much little things they may pass off as unimportant affect others, and in this case, society ruined the monster’s life. From that moment and for the rest of his existence, the monster knew not to interfere with human beings, for their nature was clearly different to his. The monster, like all human beings, wanted to be accepted for his intellectual abilities and personality, and both him and humans have it in their nature to be afraid of the unknown, yet the villagers had an unmistakable advantage over the monster – the monster was still innocent and nai?? ve, unsure of the world around him and ignorant of human nature.
He was not accepted by anyone, purely because of his appearance. This fact is obvious as no one as yet had even had the chance to get to know the monster’s personality, not even the monster himself had had this opportunity, because he could not speak and did not know anything about society. Therefore human nature plays an incredibly important role in the novel, because without it the villagers would probably have accepted the monster, and he would never have turned out how he did.