How does the Monster in Frankenstein represent the theme of the desire for recognition? How would society or the world in general be if everyone were to respond with violence when being rejected by society for their appearance?

Shelley gives the monster a voice so he can tell his story to his creator, Victor, and plead for his creator to recognize him and his needs.

He attempts to appeal to pathos by recounting his tragic experiences and begging Victor to make a female mate.

The monster's quest for vengeance suggests that if everyone who were denied recognition or love were violent, the world would devolve into chaos.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein is a frame narrative that begins with letters from Robert Walton to his sister. The letters tell the story that Victor narrates to Robert and in the innermost frame, the monster's story as narrated to Victor. It is crucial to Shelley's project that the creature be given his own voice; otherwise, Victor holds all the storytelling power and the reader is persuaded to sympathize with Victor. However, Shelley's novel is critical of Victor's actions in bringing this creature to life to boost his own ego and reputation, and then abandoning it when he discovers he has made a mistake.

The creature's narrative allows us to see how painful Victor's rejection has been for the creature and how necessary his creator's recognition and care is for the creature's stability. Without it, the creature lashes out and vows violent revenge on Victor. The creature desperately wants Victor to acknowledge his needs. As a human-like being, the creature requires love, affection, acceptance, and companionship, none of which Victor has offered him. Therefore, the creature appeals to pathos by relating his entire sad story since being abandoned by Victor. The creature has been repeatedly rejected because of his dreadful appearance, despite being inherently kind-hearted and generous. His experience with the DeLacey family serves as the centerpoint of this account. He provides the family with firewood after seeing how exhausted they are by work and attempts to appeal to the blind father, who cannot see him to judge his appearance. He learns about human emotion and sympathy, and he also acquires language through his observation of them. He learns to read complex texts, and these books have a profound impact on his worldview. His reading of Paradise Lost teaches the creature about the ideal relationship between a maker and his creation, based on the story of God and Adam. God's creation of Eve as Adam's companion, along with his observations of Felix and Safie, teach the creature how important romantic partnership is for survival and happiness. The creature uses these examples to attempt to engage Victor's emotions, namely his pity, and persuade him to make a female creature. The creature promises to go somewhere secluded and remote and never interact with humans again. Victor at first agrees, even though he is angry and disgusted by his creature, but he later abandons the project and destroys the female creature, resulting in his original creature's violent, rage-fueled revenge mission and the subsequent deaths of Victor's loved ones.

The creature's feeling of rejection, due to his creator's lack of recognition of his duty to the creature and the creature's needs, leads to violence and vengeance. Thus, the novel suggests that if if violence were the method most people used to respond to rejection, the world would devolve into utter chaos. The creature wreaks havoc on one man's life, destroying his family and will to live. If this project were pursued on a larger scale, by anyone who felt rejected by society, there would likely not be much left of civilized society.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team