"It was a lovely sight, even to me poor wretch who had never beheld aught beautiful before." (Said by the monster.)From Chapter 11, when the monster watches the cottagers play and have fun...

"It was a lovely sight, even to me poor wretch who had never beheld aught beautiful before." (Said by the monster.)

From Chapter 11, when the monster watches the cottagers play and have fun together. Why did he say that? What does that mean to him? Are there any literary terms? Thanks for the help..

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I cannot help but feel that such an expression for the monster to articulate highlights his desire for companionship and for social connection.  It is interesting to note that while the monster was created in isolation, within the confines of science and scientific inquiry, he expresses a sentimental longing for beauty and happiness.  This reclamation of innocence is a very strong theme in Romantic poetry and thought, which had to have influenced Mary Shelley (being married to a Romantic poet in Percy).  She did understand that Romanticism's emotions and beliefs in the beauty of simple things such as childhood and purity, are a direct response to the cold and calculating world of Neoclassist scientific notions of the good, which advocate dispassionate and unemotional quantification.  It is also interesting to note that the monster is separate from this experience of watching cottagers play, but is longing to be a part of it.  This shows that the monster is gaining awareness of self and growing in being conscious of his identity as a thinking and living being.  Such an expression- especially the imagery of seeing himself as a "poor wretch"- reflects that while the monster was responsible for great damage and horrific acts, there was a side to him sensitive to the joys of others, and wishing for a fraction of this beauty for itself.  The image of someone loathed and despised hoping for a taste from the nectar of happiness is a powerful image, and one that proves that there could have been some redemption in the monster had he been exposed to a voice or face of love, yet again another theme of Romanticism.

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