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How might Frankenstein's rejection of his creature impact the creature in Frankenstein?

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hastyrain | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 20, 2010 at 10:30 AM via web

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How might Frankenstein's rejection of his creature impact the creature in Frankenstein?

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted September 20, 2010 at 11:18 AM (Answer #1)

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When Frankenstein first sees the creature alive he is repelled and disgusted by it.  He coils away in shame and horror at what he has done.  The creature is unfamiliar with what is happening around him.  He is dependent on his surroundings.  When Frankenstein rejects the creature he leaves it to fend for itself.

The creature is able to self-educate and by doing so begins to realize that it is human kindness and compassion that he needs.  To the creature Frankenstein is his father but even he rejects the poor thing.  The creature vows to punish Victor for rejecting him.  Had Victor been involved with the creature, the creature may have felt that he had a being to connect with and one to learn kindness and compassion from.  The creature could have become more like-able and less violent.

The creature states:

"No father had watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses;"(109)

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted September 20, 2010 at 12:54 PM (Answer #2)

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Your question is central to the theme of nature vs. nurture in Shelley's Frankenstein

Left on his own, without any nurturing, the creature becomes a monster.  Without nurturing, he kills a child, Victor's friend, and Victor's wife.  By the conclusion of the novel, he finds meaning only in tormenting Victor.  Victor fails to be responsible and fulfill his role as a nurturing influence for his creation, and the monster is the result.

In contrast, Victor's family is nurturing.  Victor is nurtured and achieves great scientific heights (though he practices irresponsible science by doing so).  And Victor's family takes in an orphan and creates a woman presented as perfect.  Victor's family is nurturing and caring and takes the raising of even an orphan seriously. 

Thus, Victor's rejection of his creation effects virtually everything that follows in the novel.  Clearly, the "natural man" is inferior to the nurtured man.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 20, 2010 at 7:28 PM (Answer #3)

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I have always felt that this particular idea is one of the strongest in Shelley's work.  What happens when a parent shuns a child?  What happens when a parent abandons them?  The profound impacts this has on a child is something that is explored through Victor's abdication of responsibility towards his creation.  His recoiling in horror and then fleeing from it help to create a sense of despondent dissonance in the creature, something that becomes widened when the creature fully understands his own anguish and forlorn condition in the world.  It is through Victor's actions whereby the creature is denied the modeling of nurturing and care, and rather fully grasps the meaning of being betrayed along with the hurt of ruptured bonds.  It is at this point that the reader fully understands that Victor holds some level of responsibility for not nurturing nor showing care to the monster and the actions to follow.

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