Family and Education in Frankenstein Mary Shelley Research Paper

Pages: 8 (2250 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage

Family and Education in Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's 1818 novel "Frankenstein" has generated much controversy for the fact that it dealt with some of the most intriguing topics that humanity produced until the time. Whereas most readers might have been initially inclined to believe that Shelley intended to put across an episode involving a monster and the terror that it provokes, the writer actually wanted to present her readers with a complex philosophical and psychological account. It is difficult to determine who the true monster in the novel is, as even though the creature apparently has all the attributes of a typical monster, it is gradually revealed that society and its creator are in reality responsible for the wrongdoings that it commits. The moments that the monster spends near the De Lacey family's cottage are essential for it, considering that it is there that he becomes educated and better prepared to deal with life's difficulties.

Victor Frankenstein, the monster's creator, is primarily recognized for the fact that he continuously attempts to motivate his behavior through relating to the unfortunate events in his life. The individual appears to be determined to consider others responsible for his faults and it is not until his encounter with Captain Robert Walton that he declares that it was his ambition that influenced his behavior and that caused the tragedies in his life.

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Although Frankenstein seems to be the novel's protagonist, the monster's story and the fact that the action appears to revolve around it make it difficult to focus on the scientist as being the central character. This actually contributes to supporting the uncertainty regarding who the real monster is and who is the individual responsible for the misfortunes happening throughout the novel. At times, readers can actually identify with the monster, considering that virtually everyone has come across moments when they felt that they were misunderstood or when society seemed to believe that their convictions were abnormal. Similarly, people can also identify with Frankenstein himself, as it is natural to make mistakes and for the respective mistakes to evolve into something greater when individuals are unwilling to accept their fault.

Research Paper on Family and Education in Frankenstein Mary Shelley's Assignment

The book generally concentrates on knowledge, as both Frankenstein and the monster gain important knowledge as they evolve. However, whereas the monster learns some of the most important values from the family that he watches, Frankenstein learns from his mistakes and realizes that it was essentially himself who was accountable for most of the wrongdoings in the novel.

Knowledge and education in general were key motifs that writers used during the Romantic period. "Frankenstein" in particular can be recognized for the educational elements that it puts across, with Frankenstein being devoted to study anatomy and physiology without receiving outside assistance. Also, the monster's dedication to learn as much as he possibly could from the human community teaches him that humans can be monstrous in character and that knowledge can sometimes equal suffering.

In spite of the fact that she emphasized the importance of education in making individuals understand the surrounding environment, Shelley intention in presenting the concept is surely debatable. The writer actually has her readers learn that it was because of their devotement to gain knowledge that Frankenstein and the monster eventually came to experience distress. It is very probable that Shelley wanted to show education as a pharmakon, as she considered that it produces both pleasure and torment to those who undergo the process (Chao, 224).

From the very first moments of its life, the monster appears to be willing to learn more in regard to itself and to society. His mind is initially blank and he can only rely on observation to assist him in discovering more. By becoming accustomed with human tradition, the monster came to perceive itself as actually being a monstrous creature. Although it knows that it is perfectly able to replicate the behavior it sees in the De Lacey family, it is also aware that it will never be capable of replicating their perfect forms.

In comparison to Frankenstein, the monster cannot be held responsible for its behavior, given that it was treated horribly from the very first moments of its life, when the scientist expressed his disgust as a consequence of realizing that his creation was nothing as he expected it to be. Even with that, it puts across hope by wanting to befriend the De Lacey family.

The pharmakon concept is once again revealed as "the better he masters human language, the more knowledge he is able to gain, and the sharper his awareness of his deformity and of his friendless life" (Chao, 224). The monster's hope vanished as a result of the fact that he learnt more in regard to language and about what society considered normal. He learnt that he was an outcast and that it was very improbable for him to ever be able to integrate the human community. Taking into account that the monster eventually loses hope regarding its connection with humans and proceeds to get revenge through using ingenious methods, one can actually consider that it actually managed to take on one of the most recognized human attributes -- the determination to get revenge.

The monster considers the De Lacey family very different from Frankenstein and from the hostile humans that it had come across until the time. However, their real nature is revealed at the moment when it presents itself before them and realizes that it is practically impossible for them to abandon their prejudice. It is difficult for some to gain a complete understanding regarding the monster's true nature.

Readers are typically known for dividing themselves into two groups when discussing its personality. A group believes that it is not actually evil and that humans are responsible for his situation while the other considers that it is wicked and that the experiences that it undergoes simply facilitate his evolution into an actual monster (Bissonete, 108). The second group is likely to also focus on their initial encounter with the monster, as they are concentrated on behaving similar to the De Lacey family upon seeing a monster. They are virtually unable to associate the traditional image of a monster with a benevolent creature and are thus inclined to act primarily on account of their teachings. Prejudice is (in this case and in the ones following it) more important than impartiality and the reason for which the monster comes to be treated with cruelty by everyone that it interacts with.

A creature cannot be called a monster only because of its appearance, as one first has to become familiar with it and with its nature in order to categorize it. It is probably not wrong to relate to the creature in Frankenstein by using the term monster, as its behavior and its crimes explain its personality. Even with that, it is society that should actually be held accountable for its behavior, considering that it was the one who denied him the right to integrate it and to join others in performing social tasks that make people human. Most readers are uncertain whether they should relate to the creature as being a monster or not, as the actions that it performs across the novel induce a series of states into readers. According to Bissonete, however, "the ideal isn't to find the proper moral stance or to move from sympathy to condemnation, but to engage both" (Bissonete, 109).

The monster is essentially an abandoned child who is devoted to be reunited with its father. Because it constantly encounters difficulty in doing this, it tries to assume the role of a child by attempting to connect with the De Lacey family. Although Shelly's devotement to romanticism is recognized, this book contains a great deal of realist elements, most notably those concerning the monster's failure to integrate society.

It eventually seems futile for the creature to continue expressing his desire in regard to joining the human community, as everyone in it is apparently unwilling to sympathize with it, regardless of their social status or age. Walton is the only one who becomes acquainted with the monster's true nature and intentions, but not even he is capable to ignore his repugnance at the moment when he sees the creature. Walton's situation demonstrates that people are generally inclined to yield to prejudice, especially when coming across something that they are not familiar with. Even when the Captain learns more about the creature, he cannot abandon his convictions and continues to think and act in accordance with his beliefs. In order to be able to fully comprehend the monster and its situation, one must abandon prejudice and embrace the paradox that the creature stands for.

In trying to understand the creature, individuals have to comprehend that one of the novel's most important characteristics is its diversity and that the complex nature of the monster makes it impossible for it to be categorized by using conventional methods. Instead of choosing a category for the monster, readers should actually focus… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Family and Education in Frankenstein Mary Shelley.  (2011, April 11).  Retrieved February 25, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Family and Education in Frankenstein Mary Shelley."  11 April 2011.  Web.  25 February 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Family and Education in Frankenstein Mary Shelley."  April 11, 2011.  Accessed February 25, 2021.