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"Originally perceived as a ghost story, Frankenstein is much more - it is a study of alienation." Examine Shelley's portrayal of the Creature in the light of this argument.

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Introduction

Helen Williams "Originally perceived as a ghost story, Frankenstein is much more - it is a study of alienation." Examine Shelley's portrayal of the Creature in the light of this argument. Alienation is indeed a major theme in the novel. It is not only the creature who is alienated. Shelley produces a number of parallels in the isolation of the daemon to the alienation of other characters, such as Walton and Frankenstein himself. This to me proves that the novel is a very significant rumination on the theme of isolation. Although the novel is classified under the genre of Gothic Horror, it includes no ghosts or supernatural occurrences. Each gory event or horrific idea displayed in the novel is possible: that is what makes it truly fearful. The real terror in the book is the fact that mankind will never cease to isolate individuals, any person for any insignificant reason. The novel covers each possibility of this, frightfully conveying the human capacity to hurt what or who we don't know. The daunting thing is that it could be any one of us who is alienated; everybody must possess at least one characteristic that makes them unique - it is the fact that it could be turned against us at any point to isolate us from the world. ...read more.

Middle

He also lashes out and destroys the only people he has ever cared for because they do not return his affection - they turn him away with disgust: "When I reflected that they had spurned and deserted me, anger returned, a rage of anger." Shelley had very open religious beliefs, and it is notable that alienation happens in society because of religion. At the time the novel was written Catholicism was a very oppressive faith, and Shelley was very strongly opposed to the idea. I think that Shelley is making an important point about oppressive faiths: Victor plays God, and as a result, his 'people' (the creature) are miserable and unfortunate. Also, as ideas such as the principle of life were arising at the time, Shelley is voicing a remarkable argument: Because technology was fast approaching before humans had developed enough to know how use it, it was extremely worrying that any faith or religion which survives the mechanization of the world, provides no moral code for science. The creature is isolated by his behaviour. He is alone in the world and lives like primitive man. He eats berries from the trees and seeks shelter from trees and caves, and other natural forms. ...read more.

Conclusion

The creature's development is very rapid, yet he is cut off from society whilst learning this difficult task: "I easily perceived that, although I eagerly longed to discover myself to the cottagers, I ought not to make the attempt until I had first become master of their language." He realises that he must be able to communicate with the family fluently for him to have a chance of describing his feelings, and this urges him to push on with his learning. I agree that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is indeed a study of alienation; the concept is reflected in all characters and with all problems described in the book. I think the gothic typicality in the novel made her aim acceptable at the time: it fitted in with the literary requirements. The gothic descriptions also compliment the real fear of alienation - it makes Shelley's point more terrifyingly real. I think Frankenstein is a very moralistic novel. Shelley has made her point very clear and we must be more aware that no matter how scientifically advanced society gets, there will always be those who are left behind and alienated from the rest because of the ignorance of others; whether because of social class, religion, behaviour, learning abilities or looks - some things will never change. 1 ...read more.

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