The novel Frankenstein Essay
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“Agatha fainted; and Safie, rushed out of the cottage. Felix darted forward, and dashed me to the ground. ” Again Shelley is reminding the reader that society judges people on their appearance and that the monster was rejected because of the way he looked. Only the blind man was kind to the monster, because he could not see how he looked. The monster’s reaction to this rejection was to run away rather than strike back at Felix “I could have torn him limb from limb.
But my heart sunk within me as with bitter sickness, and I refrained. Overcome by pain and anguish, I escaped”.
The reader is impressed that the monster realises how physically powerful he is, and that he decides not to use this power in a negative way. In chapter 16 the monster is very angry and depressed that mankind keeps rejecting him when they do not know the real him. He wants to destroy humans because of what they have done to him. “I could with pleasure have destroyed the cottage and its inhabitants, and have glutted myself with their shrieks and misery. ” The monster is in “a state of utter despair” and flees from the cottage after first setting fire to it. He decides to make for Geneva where he believes Victor to be living.
The reader is still full of sympathy for all that the monster has suffered and continued to suffer as he travels to Geneva. “My travels were long, and the sufferings I endured intense”. On the way he saves a young girl from drowning but when a man approaches he takes the girl from the monster and shoots him. The reader contrasts the restraint the monster has shown towards other people with the harsh treatment he has received. Eventually on his travels he meets a small boy who he finds out is one of the Frankenstein family. He kills the boy. “I gazed on my victim, and my heart swelled with hellish triumph”.
Although he has now committed a murder, the reader understands that the monster is now acting this way not because he is a bad person but because of the way humans have treated him. We can understand his actions. Shelly does not describe the murder in an overdramatic way, merely stating the facts. She wants us to feel sympathy for him and realise why he has acted this way. In chapters 11-16 the reader’s feelings towards the monster undergoes several changes – from initially bad because of the way Victor describes him as grotesque, they begin to feel sorry for him and warm to him, and feel empathy towards him.
As the reader gains understanding of the monster’s own thoughts and feelings, they are helped to feel sympathetic towards him. Then towards the end of chapter 16, when he kills a small boy, the reader’s emotions swing in the opposite direction again and the monster is perceived as bad. But this does not last as we realise that he has only done this because he is desperate, and because of the way people have treated him. This is where the true horror of the story is shown – the fact that a decent being can behave in such a terrible way because of his own experiences.
Shelly had recently read the book ‘Emile’ by Rousseau when she wrote Frankenstein. Rousseau felt strongly that childhood is a time of innocence and that a child is like a blank page, which will be filled by their experiences, good or bad, and make them into the person they finally become. Shelly was obviously influenced by this, as the monster is portrayed as being like a child, and the bad things which happen to him lead him to commit the actions he takes.
Shelly’s view of society as shown in these chapters is that people are judged initially by how they look and not what type of person they are, even though this is unfair. She also shows that people are treated differently depending on what class and religion they are, again unfairly. The book was written just after the French revolution, when the peasants overthrew the monarchy and triumphed over the upper classes. As Mary was from an upper class family she may have feared that the same would happen in this country to her own family.
There is also a strong theme of injustice in the story – both in the treatment Safie’s father receives in being imprisoned and also in the way that the monster is treated by other people, and also similarities in the way Safie’s father treats her and Felix, and the rejection of the monster by his creator. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.