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In Shelley’s “Frankenstein” the monster that Victor created was perceived as being dangerous due to his outer appearance. He was continuously rejected by the humans that he came in contact with, despite trying to show that he was a kind being. He is only accepted by a blind man, named DeLacey. Prejudice has been part of our everyday lives for decades; however does outer appearance indicate inner character and one’s acceptance into society?
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Our society, just as the society of Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is judgmental on appearance. Often in life we pass judgment on a person before getting to know them and experience their character. This is shown in “Frankenstein” when Victor’s creation was brought to life as this quote stated in the book, “I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room and continued a long time traversing my bed-chamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep”. (5:3) This quote shows that Victor, the monster’s creator, is judging his very own creation on looks alone despite spending countless days creating it. When the monster tries to reach out to Victor and show that he is not a monster and is peaceful as stated in this quote “His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks” Victor runs away in fear and disgust of his creation. The monster had not seen his own reflection yet and perhaps was puzzled at why his creator was rejecting him. Victor’s immediate reaction of wanting to escape from his creation immediately gave the monster the feeling of rejection. Perhaps if Victor would have taken the time to try to communicate in some way with his creation and see that just because his appearance was hideous, his character was not. Due to this immediate reaction the monster only knew the feelings of rejection. The monster had started his life with rejection and only in the very end when Walton met the monster and talked with him did the monster have some sort of feeling of acceptance. Had Victor’s response in the very beginning been positive and not negative the horrible murders that were committed by the monster would not have happened.
Feeling rejected by his creator the monster finds refuge in the forest where he comes across a shack attached to a cottage. He observes the cottagers daily routines and sees how hard they each work for what they have. He longs to introduce himself to the cottagers but is fearful of how they will perceive him. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter pass and an opportunity arises for the monster to make contact. The children of the blind man DeLacey have left the cottage and DeLacey is alone. The quote “My heart beat quick; this was the hour and moment of trial, which would decide my hopes or realize my fears” (15.15) expresses the monsters feelings on revealing himself. He is trying to stay positive but has negative feelings also, due to the rejection he has felt from every other human he has came in contact with. The conversation seems to be going well and DeLacey seems to be showing acceptance to the monster but then the children arrive home and “At that instant the cottage door was opened, and Felix, Safie, and Agatha entered. Who can describe their horror and consternation on beholding me?” (15.36) The monster left the cottage and returned to his shack. The children of DeLacey had passed judgment on appearance alone and not personality. After being rejected by the cottagers the monster asks for Victor to create a companion for him to share his life with; someone who would also understand the rejection and the feeling of being an outcast. Human beings have a family that they were born into; a family to share their ambitions and every day experiences with. We all want companionship in our lives, whether it is someone who is close and special to you are even just an acquaintance. The monster had no one, no family, no friends and no companion. He had no friendship throughout the entire novel. Being alone
only built hatred in the monster and destroyed the kindness and compassion he once may have had. Loneliness and isolation are what motivates the monster to murder and cause destruction.
Racism is evident in the society of Frankenstein just as it is in modern day society. The phrase “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles” (5:2) references the monster’s yellow skin, which is similar to the same racism in modern society. Racism isn’t near the problem that it used to be like in the 1960’s but it is still evident. People in today’s society are given the same opportunities no matter race, color or origin as stated in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
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Appearance continuously determines how we are accepted into society. Whether it is our weight, height or how beautiful we are or are not it affects our everyday lives. We do not choose our body, race or family we are born into. Acceptance is a major part of our lives and relationships. Most tragic is when youth are being compared, ridiculed and rejected but long to be accepted among their peers. People of all time periods have been and are prejudice.
Judging someone solely on appearance seems to be natural. In modern day, we may see teen wearing designer clothes and driving a new car; we assume the teen is spoiled and get whatever they want without having to work for it. Under that appearance we are seeing, is a human being that has their own ideas and dreams, possibly the very same ideas and dreams that you have.
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