Give a literary analysis of the theme nature versus nurture in the novel Frankenstein.

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The novel comes down on the side of nurture over nature. Victor himself ironically points to the immense value the loving nurture of his parents offered him growing up. In contrast, he is so repulsed by his own "child," the ungainly creature he creates, that he flees from it in...

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The novel comes down on the side of nurture over nature. Victor himself ironically points to the immense value the loving nurture of his parents offered him growing up. In contrast, he is so repulsed by his own "child," the ungainly creature he creates, that he flees from it in horror. This leaves the creature to wander, homeless and unloved.

The strong implication in the novel is that if Victor could have looked past his creature's ugly outer appearance and to his pure soul and inner being, he could have found a way to nurture him. This kind of loving behavior would have averted the disaster that befell Victor's family and friends when the angry, rejected creature took revenge.

It's worth noting that the Romantics, of which Mary Shelley was one, did not think that children were born with original sin. They believed children were born innocent and corrupted by an evil society. This certainly seems to be the case with the creature. He innocently seeks love and community, and he wants to be in the presence of goodness. It is only when society turns on him that he commits evil acts.

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The Creature in Shelley's Frankenstein is not nurtured and, thus, becomes a Monster. 

Victor rejects his creation immediately due to the Creature's appearance.  His rejection is due to the superficial.  The creature, left alone to progress on his own, becomes hideous.  This is what becomes of natural man. 

Contrast this, for instance, with Elizabeth.  She, too, is orphaned (as the Creature is, for all practical purposes), but she is accepted and loved and taken care of.  And she becomes an almost ideal person. 

Victor bears responsibility for the Creature becoming a Monster, because he fails to nurture his creation. 

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In order to analyze the theme of nature versus nurture in Frankenstein, consider the conditions under which the monster becomes distraught and destructive.  On the one hand, Victor believes that the monster may be inherently evil, and he thinks that the monster's destructive nature has come from the manner in which Victor created him.  However, Victor has shunned the monster; and as a result, the monster feels lonely and rejected by his creator.  So, is the monster evil by nature of creation, or has he been nurtured (or not nurtured enough) by Victor to act in these evil ways?  A question like this might be posed to a group of learners to allow them to explore the possibilities of this theme in Frankenstein.

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