Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: "Self education plays a critical role in shaping the subjectivity of Victor Frankenstein's monster." Do you agree? 

Expert Answers info

Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write4,625 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein offers readers a critical look at the question of "nature versus nurture." Since abandoned by his "father" upon his "birth," Victor's creature must rely upon his own intuition and self-education to survive. Therefore, it is true that "self education plays a critical role in shaping the subjectivity of Victor Frankenstein's monster." 

Victor flees his "son" as soon as it lives. He, mortified by the appearance of the creature, flees from his flat in order to escape both his creature and the reality of what he has done. The creature, therefore, is left to educate himself upon both survival and life. 

The creature, unfamiliar with anything at all, must learn to depend upon his sense in order to survive. Once he masters his senses, he must learn how to communicate. This he teaches himself through mimicking the DeLaceys and reading different papers and books. He comes to understand how the world works through his interactions with other beings, learns about love through watching Felix and Safie, and learns about his own existence through Paradise Lost and Victor's papers. Everything that the creature know he does so because of his own questioning and actions. No one teaches him anything about life (with the exception that he is not like other humans which he comes to realize because of the way they treat him). 

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

ivana | Student

Yes, I agree. The creature ( I would feel bad if I called him monster) could have turned out differently had he not be abandoned. Because the creature had no parenting, education, mentoring or social relationship of any kind it is impossible for him to develop normally. If he had some social contact and education he would probably be less subjective and more able to understand someone else. We could say he is unsympathetic and cruel because he never known anything else. However, I think the creature feels that what he is doing is wrong ( killing innocent people and embarking on a road of revenge and hate) but he has been so badly hurt that he cannot rise above his feeling of resentment. He sees the situation from a subjective view and is under influence of emotional consequences of Victor's abandonment.

Children cannot develop normally if they do not have the right conditions (secure and loving relationship with their parents) and it is the same with the creature. The creature is different from other people but if he had been accepted by his creator Victor (or someone else) and raised with love he could perhaps accept himself.

Loneliness and isolation certainly play important part in the creature's actions. The rage he feels is understandable. For example when the cottages attack him just because he is ugly we can certainly feel sorry for him and identify the reason for his hate and the fact he sees world in a subjective view, trough his pain and I think that reason is loneliness, being forced into self-isolation and self-education.

"CURSED, CURSED CREATOR! Why did I live? " is what the creature asks at one point and when he is ignored  he is beginning to become desperate. Finding Victor and finding no sympathy in him makes thing even worse.




check Approved by eNotes Editorial