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Frankenstein Appearance Essay

Frankenstein: Appearance and Acceptance

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One of the main themes in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is the importance of appearance and acceptance in modern society. In today’s society, and also in the society of Frankenstein, people judge one often solely on their looks. Social prejudice is often based on looks, whether it be the color of someone’s skin, the clothes that a person wears, the facial features that one has and even the way one stands.

People make snap judgments based on these and other considerations and they affect the way that they present themselves to one, and also the way that the treat the judged person. In Frankenstein the society of that time is much like our own today. It is an appearance based society, and this is brought to the forefront by the extreme ugliness of Victor Frankenstein’s monster to a common human being. <br> <br>On of the most blatant parallels in Frankenstein and today’s modern world is that of racism. These parallels are shown from the very first moments of Frankenstein’s creature life.

One of the first things Victor says about his newly alive creation is that “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath;” (Shelley 42) and he viewed his creation with “breathless horror and disgust… ” (Shelley 42). Here one finds that like the vast majority of people then and today, Victor notices the color of his creatures skin first and judges it to be horrible. Also in this novel, the example of racism is again brought to our attention with the history of the cottagers. Safie’s father, a Turkish merchant living in Paris, was sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit.

The reason for this injustice is clear, the reason for it is “… that his [the Turkish merchant] religion and wealth rather than the crime alleged against him had been the cause of his condemnation. ” (Shelley 107). Obviously, if this foreign merchant had been a good Catholic Frenchman he would not have been sentenced to death. We today can see numerous examples today of racism in the justice system, think of Louis Riel being hung because he was a Metis, and also think of the modern classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird in which a black man is unjustly sentenced in a acist southern town. However, in one of the biggest acts of hypocrisy and treachery, the same Turkish merchant shows his true racist self when he plans to leave Italy with the daughter he had promised in marriage to the Frenchman that saved his life. It seems that although some progress has been made throughout the centuries, racism still exists and “colors” our vision of other people. Another similarity in the novel Frankenstein and today’s society is that of snap judgments based solely on appearances.

Doctor Frankenstein himself does this throughout the book. He shows this when he “… selected his [the creature’s] features as beautiful. ” (Shelley 46). This shallowness is shown again when he accuses the monster of the murder of William’s murder, rightfully of course, but the point is that he accused the monster of a horrible deed just because of his horrible appearance. Even the monster makes snap judgments, in the case of the cottagers he viewed the old man as a man with “… a countenance beaming with benevolence and love,” (Shelley 93).

This was not a negative opinion, but yet it shows the creature’s use of appearance to judge people. Even the blind old man would use looks to judge people, if he could. He seems like a nice man who would think of a person’s true nature to judge them when he says to the monster “… there is something in your words which persuades me that you are sincere. ” (Shelley 119). His true nature is shown when he say to the creature “I am blind and cannot judge of your countenance… ” (Shelley 119). Perhaps the worst reactions and judgments produced is those of people who initially saw the creature.

The old man in the hut when “… perceiving me[the creature], shrieked loudly, and quitting the hut, ran across the fields with a speed of which his debilitated form hardly seemed capable. ” (Shelley 90). Numerous accounts of hate of the monster just because of his frightful appearance follow this, including the villagers throwing rocks and driving away the monster (Shelley 91), the crushing blow to the creatures emotions when Felix drove him away (Shelley 119-120) and final straw before the creature turned against humanity, when the man shot the monster after he had saved a girl’s life (Shelley 126).

How very little has changed since then! Today when one is driving in our own fair city, Prince George, one sees a native man late at night and automatically assumes that he is a drunk. Or perhaps on seeing an older woman in high fashion dresses, one soon thinks he stuck up solely on her looks. In a more extreme example, think of the movie The Elephant Man where an extremely disfigured man tried to fit into mainstream society and ends up in a carnival, and later as a medical showcase. But deep inside Jerry Merrick, as the elephant man was then called, is an ideal citizen, caring and virtuous.

Lastly closer to home, in any given public high school, one instantly and almost unknowingly classifies students into separate categories of Prep, Pothead, Jock, Cowboy, Skater, Slut, Goth, and other classifications as well. If one tries getting acquainted with these people, it is often find that they are, like Frankenstein’s monster, are very nice people. One more need that unites our society with that in the novel Frankenstein is that of one’s, whether that one be human, wolf, or monster, need for acceptance into society. I draw the cliche of the lone wolf as our first example.

Wolves thrive in packs, much like human beings, and being a lone wolf means a hard and often short life for that animal. After being driven for the main pack, the lone wolf will often lock the strength of a pack to kill big game such as moose and caribou, and soon the lone wolf will die, usually in 1-6 months (National Geographic, September 1994 Issue). People, and monsters are just like wolves in this way. In Frankenstein, the monster seeks acceptance from humans almost immediately upon getting his senses. He seeks the acceptance of the cottagers company and is envious of their happiness.

The creature imagined that upon presenting himself to the cottagers “… that they would be disgusted, until, by my gentle demeanor and conciliating words, I should first win the favor and afterwards their love. ” (Shelley 99-100). After the total rejection of the monster by Felix and his family, the creature then seeks the of another of his kind. He demands that the Doctor must “create a female for me, with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. ” (Shelley 130). Yes, the finest desire that the monster wishes is someone like him that he can talk to, and share his time.

Today, I believe that nothing has changed, if something has, it is toward more dependence on other for acceptance. People today rarely go out by themselves on hikes, to the movies or the like. No, they crave the company of a group like themselves, even if it is a group of only themselves, and one other. Indeed, acceptance is a major motivation in any person’s life. <br> <br>Interwoven in societies threads are these basic principals, be they good are bad have always been evident to some extent in our daily lives, racism, prejudice, appearance, and the strong desire for acceptance.

Throughout history down to today we are moved by these things, and perhaps nowhere is this nature of humans present and brought to one’s attention like in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Works Cited

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, New York, New York, Bantam Books, 1991

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Boston, Mass. , Chelsea House Publishers, 1998

Harold Bloom, National Geographic, Sept. 1994, Washington, D. C. , National Geographic Society, 1994

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David Lynch, The Elephant Man, Los Angles, California, Paramount Home Video, 1980

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Frankenstein: Appearance and Acceptance

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Physical Appearance in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein Essay

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Physical Appearance in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein we are introduced early in the story to one of the main characters Victor Frankenstein and subsequently to his creation referred to as the monster. The monster comes to life after being constructed by Victor using body parts from corpses. As gruesome as this sounds initially we are soon caught up in the tale of the living monster. Victor the creator becomes immediately remorseful of his decision to bring the monstrous creation to life and abandons the borne creature. Victor describes his emotions and physical description of his creation as follows:

“How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite…show more content…

In this essay I will examine how the monster’s looks and actions reflect the predominant cultural feelings that those who look different are bad, evil or incapable of normal feelings. That somehow because one may look different from the rest of us there must be something emotionally as well as physically wrong with them.

As I struggled to grab on to a thesis for this essay, it finally occurred to me that my empathy for the monster really was fundamental in my reading of this text. In further examining why I would feel this way, and by comments made in class on this subject, I soon realized that I had a parallel to the monster’s experience right in front of me – literally. My brother, borne with a severe cleft pallet and lip he has endured twenty-three years of surgeries and therapies to repair the structure of his face. The first surgeries focused primarily on function of his basic needs: eating, breathing, speaking etc. without emphasis on how he looked. However, these past few years, as he approached his early twenties, the surgeries have focused primarily on his appearance. Like the monster, he experiences many prejudices based on his appearance. He is frequently looked upon suspiciously in stores while shopping and has been approached by security on occasion. Strangers tend to shy away from him and often look away and do not respond if he directly address’ them. He

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