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Quote: "I expected this reception...All men hate the wretched.....to whom thou art...

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brian1218 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 18, 2009 at 1:45 PM via web

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Quote: "I expected this reception...All men hate the wretched.....to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us."

From Chapter10, it is said by the monster when he met Victor at the first time, and while Victor called him "devil", he accepts it. Why? Meaning for the monster?  Any literary terms? Thank you for help...

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

Posted July 18, 2009 at 9:01 PM (Answer #1)

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The quotation shows a couple of things, and I think you will get different readings on this quote.  You might have to assess for your own self which one is the best read.   From my point of view the quote, reflects Shelley's belief that society has little tolerance for those who "don't fit in."  The monster clearly has developed a sense of self and a consciousness, or awareness, about his place in the world and how others perceive it.  Victor's derision or insult to him only proves this.  The monster is aware of his difference, his inability to fit into the accepted social world or assume the correct social norms.  He is aware of this gap between what society accepts and what he represents.  This awareness correctly discerns that Victor would discard and dismiss him as a "devil."  The second part of the quote is more interesting.  The idea of society being "bound by ties" reflects that while society hates outsiders or those who don't "fit in," they actually need these forces.  Shelley, through the monster, seems to be suggesting that society operates by demonizing or targeting individuals that it seeks to obliterate or remove.  It seems to be suggesting that society needs these sad and pathetic creatures as a rallying cry to substantiate its own sense of self, to make itself "feel good."  (It's similar to Mean Girls, where the Plastics actually need all the "lower" groups to prove their own superiority.) When Victor calls the monster "a devil," the monster understands that his purpose is to be "obliterated" by society through derision and scorn.  Society needs him as the representation of what is wrong and how they are right.  There is a twisted sense of need here- society dislikes something, but still needs its presence to prop up its own.  The only way these bonds of twisted symbiosis are ruptured is with the removal of these "lower" elements.  The monster accepts this, not out of happiness, but in a full understanding that he will never be accepted, never be able to conform an be a part of a larger whole.  He understands his own sense of self in a complete manner:  He is to be the object of society's, and his creator's, scorn.  Within this, the monster knows that he and Victor will always be connected, even though he has deemed his own creation as "the devil."  They will forever be linked, until one of them is dead.  I sense an interesting use of the literary term, foreshadowing, in the quote. The monster is giving a view, almost a prediction, that suggests he knows that death is the only way to break these bonds, and the only way that this story can end.

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