Frankenstein: An Analysis of Perseverance and a Child's Mind

Published: 04th May 2009
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Perseverance, sometimes is thought of as a constant human nature, a 'steadied and continued action or belief, usually over a long period and especially despite difficulties and setbacks,' as said in the North American Encarta Dictionary. In this paper, I plan on relating Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" to the definition of perseverance and how a child's mind develops on the theory of perseverance without parental ideas, morals and teachings. I plan on showing the impact to a parentless child's mind when he finds himself truly alone. How jealousy and rejection brought on vengeance and the pursuing of revenge to his estranged 'father.' Also to show the perseverance of the 'Monster'; while showing the mental reactions to having been rejected turned the 'child' into a 'monster' and destroyed Victor and Victor's happiness.

Mary Shelley writes of the 'Frankenstein Monster' as a motherless child, and a fatherless man. He was born of science, and the love of knowledge for creation of life;

He [M. Waldman] then took me into his laboratory and explained to me the uses of his various machines; instructing me as to what I ought to procure, and promising me the use of his own when I should have advanced far enough ... not to derange the mechanism. He also gave me the list of books I had requested. Thus ended a day memorable to me: it decided my future destiny. (Shelley 50) From this day natural philosophy, and particularly chemistry, in the most comprehensive sense of the term, became nearly my sole occupation. (Shelley 51)

The essay titled The "Birth" of a Monster; by Kim A. Woodbridge calls upon the ideas of 'Frankenstein' having an underlying plot "The story of Frankenstein is the first articulation of a woman's experience of pregnancy and related fears." "...when a man tries to create a child without a woman." (Woodbridge Para 1). I believe K. Woodbridge to be correct in her theories; of the fears of a writer coming out in their writing to be an advisory way of coping. When Victor decided to create life, I believe Mary Shelley to be using Victor to live out a possibility of the life of a child after being neglected by their family and learning to live on their own while trying to seek vengeance, thus creating the 'Monster'.

The road to becoming the 'Monster' was obviously a hard one; Victor had the childhood that most would love to have. "I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one of the most distinguished of the republic." "... and my father had filled several public situations with honor and reputation." (Shelley 33). Victor's family showed the love that a family should have toward each other and others around them. Even Victor's mother, Caroline, who had taken care of her father when sick and dying, "...tended him with the greatest of tenderness... [she] possessed a mind of uncommon mould, and her courage rose to support her in her advisory. [sic]" (Shelley 34) showed the love of life in her heart overcame all hardships. Caroline then showed Victor again when she adopted Elizabeth for him to love and devote life to.

In the essay 'Frankenstein' - A Cautionary Tale of Bad Parenting,

...could be seen to be saying ... that parent's love alone is not enough for a child's healthy development. Unless love is given together with discipline and guidance, the child is unable to develop into a well rounded adult who can be assimilated into the wider society ..." (Coulter Para 8).

But Victor did not take this love and devotion to family into that of his creation. "How can I describe the emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form [sic]" (Shelley 58).

Victor turned his back on his 'child', on the life he had created. This creation was not a monster, not yet; but with this rejection, Victor set in motion the first of many reasons the 'Monster' came to be. A child is a child within the mind at birth, no matter the size or nature of its' own creation. Victor's pursuit of the science to create this 'child' went unrewarding to the life that was created.

I beheld the wretch - the miserable monster whom I had created. His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped, and rushed down stairs. I took refuge in the courtyard belonging to the house I inhabited; where I remained during the rest of the night ... fearing each sound as if it were to announce the approach of the demonical corpse to which I had so miserably given life. (Shelley 59).

This first betrayal sent the child's mind that inhabited the 'Monster' into frenzy of its own search for knowledge and companionship. A child turns into a man, grows into his skin, with no praise to aide the ascending into adulthood.

I learned and applied the words, "fire", "milk", "bread", and "wood". I learned also the names of the cottagers themselves. The girl was called "sister", or "Agatha", and the youth "Felix", "brother", or "son". I cannot describe the delight I felt when I learned the ideas appropriated to each of these sounds, and was able to pronounce them. (Monster to Victor, Shelley 115).

But, the betrayal of De Lacey, the blind man, and his family hurt more now that the 'child's' intellect had progressed to understanding. "My thoughts now became more active, and I longed to discover the motives and feelings of these lovely creatures..." They did not know of the 'Monster' but first look is what repels.

These amiable people to whom I go have never seen me, and know little of me. I am full of fears, for if I fail there, I am an outcast in the world forever. (Monster to De Lacey, Shelley 136). At that instant the cottage door opened ... Who can describe their horror and consternation on beholding me? Felix darted forward, and with supernatural force tore me from his father ... (Monster to Frankenstein, Shelley 137). Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why in that instant did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had wantonly bestowed? I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me [sic]. (Monster to Victor, Shelley 138)

The 'Monster', over all the time that passed since his creation, tormented Victor for a companion. If only Victor had not turned his back on his 'child', if only he had been there as a father figure; maybe none of the horrors would have happened. "I cannot guess how many days have passed since then; but I have endured misery, which nothing but the eternal sentiment of a just retribution burning within my heart could have enabled me to support." (Victor to Walton, Shelley 210). Then again, should Frankenstein have meddled with the laws of nature? Should he have played God? Should he have expanded his knowledge further with science and psychology before taking it upon himself to create unnatural life without the help of a woman; giving an unstable 'child' no mother.

Victor Frankenstein, on his dying day knew of his own wrongs in life. I ask, if it is in the name of progressing and pursuing science is it ever wrong? Yes. Victor toyed with death to create life; he took the final absolution of living and gave it a whole new nightmare. "But it is true that I am a wretch. I have murdered the lovely and the helpless; I have strangled the innocent as they slept ... I have devoted my creator ... to misery; I have pursued him even to that irremediable ruin." (Monster to Walton, Shelley 224).

According to G. Raslaviciene, a Lithuanian Biomedical Doctor, "... social relations between parents and children strongly damaged. A parting causes an enormous trauma. Breaking of a social relation is a loss. A child feels helpless, his (her) feelings become numb, symptoms of depression appear, the child suffers an emaciation of his (her) feelings and emotions." (Raslaviciene web article). This Doctor's ideas prove the relation that Victor pushed on his creation, had a direct effect on the 'child's' mentality in turning to monstrous actions. With no support for the child's mind, the monster came out of hiding; the strong protecting the weak.

The final hurt of a dying and desperate man is to have pursued life without acceptance of his actions to his child. Perseverance is the monster inside all of us, you and your surroundings will decide if that monster is to be let loose. There is no bond like that of creator and creation, of parent and child.

Works Sited

"Encarta Encyclopedia." MSN. 2009. Web. 20 Mar. 2009.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1818. New York: Penguin Books, 1992.

"Raslaviciene." A Loss of a Tutelage of Parents. 2008. Web. 22 Mar. 2009.

"Woodbridge." 'Frankenstein' - A Cautinary Tale of Bad Parenting. 2001. Web. 20 Mar 2009.

"Woodbridge." 'The 'Birth' of a Monster. 2001. Web. 20 Mar. 2009.

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