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The themes of Sickness Essay

Mary Shelley’s infamous literary piece, Frankenstein, is a name that anyone who has ever read a book would be familiar with. Several themes appear throughout the novel, some obvious, some subtle. One of the overlooked but nevertheless significant themes is society’s duty to help the poor, the sick, and the ostracized. Multiple imperative events which occurred throughout the piece emphasizes on this theme: Victor Frankenstein’s mother aiding the poor and sick; Henry Clerval’s intense care of Victor; and Captain Robert Walton taking Victor aboard and nursing him back to health.

Firstly, Victor Frankenstein’s mother powerfully demonstrates this theme when she regularly visits the poor and performs good deeds on behalf of the impoverished and downtrodden. She further exemplifies her kindness when she and her husband adopt Elizabeth into their family, and take in Justine, the servant girl. Moreover, when Elizabeth catches scarlet fever, a deadly and contagious disease, Mrs. Frankenstein throws her safety away to focus on nursing Elizabeth back to health.

Secondly, when Victor becomes ill from troubling events, Henry Clerval tends to him for over several months, helping Victor get through his difficult times. “During all that time Henry was my only nurse. [… ] He knew that I could not have a more kind and attentive nurse than himself; and… instead of doing harm, he performed the kindest action that he could towards [me] (Shelley ). ” When one compares Clerval with Victor, one can see that Clerval understands the importance of caring for his fellow human beings, while Victor selfishly ignores others to conduct his own experiment, which he in the end, abandons.

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There had been no events in which Victor was the one nursing somebody else, yet there were numerous cases of the reverse; where somebody was nursing him. Lastly, not only does Henry tend to Victor, but after Victor tracks the monster to the Arctic regions, he falls deathly ill. When Captain Robert Walton spots a sick, dying man, he takes him aboard and selflessly nurses him-just as Ms. Frankenstein nursed Elizabeth.

To put it briefly, one of the most overlooked yet important themes that most characters are contributing in is the theme of society’s duty to support and care for the poor, the neglected, and the unhealthy. This theme can be noted by various events which occurs throughout the novel, such as Ms. Frankenstein’s care for Elizabeth and both Henry and Walton’s care for Victor. Each character in the novel can be indirectly-if not directly-connected to Frankenstein’s theme of tending to the sick. Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus. Minneapolis: Stone Arch, 2008. Print.

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