At its heart, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is interested in the question of nature vs. nurture: are people blank slates that are formed by experiences and environment, or are we born with certain traits—like being evil? What does the book seem to suggest? How do you know?  

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It seems that Frankenstein's creation is a tabula rasa, a blank slate, when he is born. The philosopher, John Locke, first created this term and the theory that, when we are born, we do not have any ideas of our own but can only take in information via our senses. From that sensory data, we begin to make sense of the world and develop the ability to think critically. When the creature describes his early life, he says that

all the events of that period appear confused and indistinct. A strange multiplicity of sensations seized me, and I saw, felt, heard, and smelt at the same time; and it was, indeed, a long time before I learned to distinguish between the operations of my various senses.

He describes what it must feel like to be a blank slate, to have no ability to distinguish one sense from another or to catalog or contextualize the sensory information he receives. Further, he describes his immediate needs: he is hungry and thirsty, and—once he satisfies those needs—he "was overcome by...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 772 words.)

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