A modern reader feels more pity than fear for Frankenstein’s monster. To what extent do you agree? Any pointers for an essay?

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bmadnick's profile pic

bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

We are more sympathetic to the creature than we are fearful of him. I'll highlight what you might include in your essay, and then  go to the enotes link below, where you'll find anything you need to know about the book. Ask yourself why the modern reader feels such pity for the creature.

One reason is Frankenstein's treatment of his "baby". Seeing his creation for the first time, he's so appalled by his appearance that he disowns and abandons him. Victor refuses to take responsibility for the monster, to teach him how to survive and  socially interact with the world. He's left alone, isolated from a society who sees him as a horrible creature who should be feared.

Shelley's description of the monster also causes us to pity him. He's kind, gentle, and loving, all the things Victor isn't. This is seen in his behavior toward the De Lacey family, envying their respect and love for one another. He also saves a girl from drowning.

Shelley's contrast of the monster and Victor serves to show us the real monster of the novel is Victor. The creature is torn between his natural nature of kindness and his unnatural one of revenge toward his creator. He feels guilt over the deaths he causes, but Victor blames the monster instead of himself for his acts.

Be sure to include quotes from the book to support your theme of how we pity the creature, and tie it to how the modern reader sees him. Good luck!

brendawm's profile pic

brendawm | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

You are absolutely right, at least in my opinion, that the modern reader feels more pity that fear for Frankenstein's monster.  Think about it; how do we treat those who are different today? We sometimes treat them with disdain, or fear that manifests itself in the form of cruelty and indifference to the person or people.  The "monster" escapes on the night of his "birth," only to find himself cold, hungry, and friendless in the mountains outside Ingolstadt, "a poor, helpless, miserable wretch." You ask about pointers for an essay; how about a comparison/contrast essay in which you compare/contrast the "monster" with homeless people, after all, doesn't he sort of fit that kind of stereotype?  Another thought is special needs students or special needs people you meet every day; people with Down's Syndrome deal with a lot of cruelty from others, often due to their different appearances.  These are many of the reasons that I feel that modern readers observe the "monster" with more pity than fear.  Hopefully there is something in here that has struck a cord and given you an idea for your essay.  Hope this helps.  BTW I love your question. Brenda

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