Family Relations and Alienation in “Frankenstein”
In today’s fast-paced world, it is important to build connections and relationships with people and society. Being able to bond with surroundings, is key for living a healthy and happy life. Family is what helps humans build their foundations and are able to learn and succeed with the support of them. In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, the lack of connection the characters have to either their family or society leads them to murder, hopelessness and tragedy. Specifically Victor and his monster, struggle throughout their lives finding people to help them enjoy the world. Having strong connections and relations with the community are essential for avoiding these acts of violence and despair. These bonds allow people to fully enjoy their lives and have unique experiences.
Surrounded by family and friends, Victor has the chance to have a support system throughout his life, however, he decides to push them away in order to develop a living creature. His strong passion for this, made him isolate himself and focus on one aspiration his entire life. He begins his life with the mindset of how No human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself. My parents were possessed by the very spirit of kindness and indulgence (23). This quote represents irony knowing that Victor realizes how blessed he is and how important it is for a child to grow up with joy and love. His home represents an ideal family, as they live with peace and kindness. Being aware of his own situation, he yet neglects his own child which soon leads to violence. If he nurtured his child just as much as he was, the monster would not have committed as many harmful actions. As he begins to grow and explore the world around him, he was fascinated by science. He gradually is … Ardently desired the acquisition of knowledge (30). Victor becomes so intrigued, his life starts to revolve around science and himself. With his mind so driven, he eventually moves out and away from his family. His contact with them is very minimal and he focuses so much that he never recognizes the pain that will catch up to him later. His mind:
… Was filled with one thought, one conception, one purpose. So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein, — more, far more, will I achieve: treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation. (33)
Victors chooses to become alienated for his creation of a monster and making sure that it is kept a secret. He will do anything to discover the unknown and has big intentions to fulfill his future.
Victor starts off with all his ideas and plans for the creation to himself. After the monster is born, he realizes his hate and disgust for what he created. He begin to question himself and realize … Now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart (43). Once this concern is on him, he has to … absent myself from all I loved while thus employed (141). He has no choice, but to distance himself, unless he will be accused of the tragedy of his loved ones. Having no connections with anyone, he explains how I, who had ever been surrounded by amiable companions, continually engaged in endeavouring to bestow mutual please ““ was now alone (30). This will eventually lead to his downfall and misery. Not being able to care and nurture the monster, leads to the monster destroying Victor’s life. He now will always have a worry in the back of his mind. An important event in life is having a companion. An ideal situation that would please his mother, would be to marry Elizabeth. She is in love with Victor and could give him everything he needs. Victor, also puts the her to the side and is not able to give her his full attention. He also worries about how He had vowed to be with me on my wedding-night (179). On top of the little he has with Elizabeth, he also worries a lot about the monster destroying he and Elizabeth’s wedding night. If he was able to have hesitations about the monster’s actions, he would be able to have a wife and possibly a family of his own. Victor focuses on himself and digging deep into his knowledge and creations. He leaves everything aside and has big aspirations for himself. He had the option of living a normal life and possible creating his own. Once he starts to drift away from his family and hold in his secrets, he becomes a miserable human being.
Although, the monster made Victor be alienated to the next extreme, Victor had the chance to not be as isolated. On the other hand, the monster had a hard time finding anything he could connect with. Victor is surrounded by people, but still chooses to be seperated from them. He was not aware that one day he will not have anyone. He was so desperate to create a life, that he did not spend enough time trying to develop his own. Creating the monster, played a large role in Victor having to hide and maneuver his life so that his family would not think any different of him. One night he explains how:
During the day I was sustained and inspirited by the hope of night, for sleep I saw my friends, my wife, and my beloved country; again I saw the benevolent countenance of my father, heard silver tones of my Elizabeth’s voice, and beheld Clerval enjoying health and youth I persuaded myself that I was dreaming until night should come and that I should then enjoy reality in the arms of my dearest friends. (195)
During the night, in Victor’s deep thoughts he finally comes to the conclusion that everything he had is now dead. There is nothing that he can do in order to reverse what is happening. He realizes all the important things that he lost and knows that he has no power over changing the past now.
Rather than being born, this ordinary creature was brought into the world by Victor. Once he is created, he has no choice, but to navigate his way into a world filled with no one like himself. The monster is appread as a hideous creature that no one wants anything to do with, not even his father. The first experience he faces with contact with another human, he gets rocks thrown at him. When he arrives at the village he … had hardly placed my foot within the door before the children shrieked, and one of the woman fainted. The whole village was roused; some fled, some attacked me (94). Having this be his first interaction with people, he is scared and terrified at the way humans treat him. He realizes he will never be accepted and always be an outcast. From the moment he was brought into the in world, he questioned But where were my friends and relations? No father had watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses (109). The only person who knows about him is his father who neglects him. As if he was a child brought into the world alone, he has no information, guidance or support. With this placed upon him, he longs to find another partner and to feel loved and wanted from. Seeing the love and compassion humans are able to give to each other, he sees that spark and warmth they give off. He watches closely and:
Had admired the perfect forms of my cottagerstheir grace, beauty, and delicate complexions; but how was I terrified when I viewed myself in a transparent pool! At first I started back, unable to believe that it was indeed I who was reflected in the mirror; and when I became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am, I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification. Alas! I did not yet entirely know the fatal effects of this miserable deformity. ‘(101)
He saw such beauty and peace within this family. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible for him to change his features. His confidence deteriorates which leads to him going on a rage, destroying Victor’s life.
Human beings look up to one and another and are able to better their lives because of other people. The monster, discovered the De Lacey family, who sparked his mind and moved his thoughts. Although he was pleased to find a close-knit family, he starts to frown upon himself and come to the realization of how alone he is. This time, he decides to hide himself due to the past experiences he went through. He demands that he finds someone he can create a life with and have that love that every human needs. Without love, it is hard to live lives with excitement or new adventures. Seeing the family bonding and showing affection for each other, brought a feeling of loneliness. The monster starts to pick up on the little things in life and realizes:
What chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people, and I longed to join them, but dared not. I remembered too well the treatment I had suffered the night before from the barbarous villagers, and resolved, whatever course of conduct I might hereafter think it right to pursue, that for the present I would remain quietly in my hovel, watching and endeavoring to discover the motives which influenced their actions. ‘(98)
Unable to be accepted into society, puts the monster into a rage. Seeing the people around him live such a happy life and knowing he will not be able to get anywhere in life, makes the monster angry. He will do anything to have people supporting him and guiding him through life. Unfortunately he is not able to find anything that makes him happy. One day, after he has made many destructions in Victor’s life, he decides to ask him to create companion for him. This is a normal craving that most humans live for. He believes that if he has another companion that he will not make Victor’s life anymore tragic and that the other creature would shape him into a better person. For him to be okay, he believes that he needs love and human connection.
Mary Shelley’s characters portray a real sense of humanity and encounter the essentials of human existence in an abnormal way. Victor, a character raised by a perfect family could not resist in creating life himself. He chooses to isolate himself and overlook his family. On the other hand, his creation begs for people he can associate with, however, he is never able to discover a single soul. Surrounded by people makes humans who they are and help them feel a sense warmth and security in a fast-paced world. It is important to make connections and have a backbone in life. Breaking out of your comfort zone and having people who are humorous and caring is the best way to live a memorable life.