William Wordsworth, in his famous poem "My heart leaps up," wrote that the "Child is the father of man." How can this be related to Frankenstein?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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William Wordsworth is a Romantic author, like Mary Shelley. Here is his poem "My heart leaps up."

My heart leaps up when I behold

   A rainbow in the sky:

So was it when my life began;

So is it now I am a man;

So be it when I shall grow old.

   Or let me die!

The Child is the father of the Man;

And I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by natural piety.

This poem could be related to Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein based upon the singular fact that it refers to both man and child.

Looking deeper, one can make far more parallels between Wordsworth's poem and Shelley's novel. First, woman fails to be mentioned in the poem. Likewise, Victor, by creating life, removes the mother from the picture. It is no longer about the mother and child; now, it is all about the father and the child.

Secondly, Victor's "son" does become his master. As the creature's creator, Victor is the father. As the tale moves forward, the power the creature has over Victor is readily evident. Victor initially decides to create a mate for the creature (all because of the power the creature has over him). Also, Victor defines the ending of the creature's life as the most important thing in the world. Again, the power the creature has over Victor is evident.

One from the novel which ties to this idea to the poem is found in chapter 20:

"You are my creator, but I am your master;—obey!”

The creature admits that Victor is his creator (his father). That said, he also defines his power over him as his son.


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