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The novel Frankenstein was written by Mary Shelley in 1816

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Introduction

Frankenstein essay Focusing on chapter 11-16 of Frankenstein how does this section reshape the readers response to the monster? To what extent do these chapters reflect Mary Shelley's view of society? The novel Frankenstein is a gothic horror story and was written by Mary Shelley in 1816, based on a nightmare she had while on holiday in Geneva. It was influenced by the social and historical events that were happening during the period in which it is written. It also draws heavily on events that had occurred in her past and were happening in her life at the time of writing the novel. Her mother died in childbirth so she grew up without a maternal influence, and her father was either absent from her life or was often surrounded by his friends, so she did not have ideal parental figures to look up to. Similarly, in the story the monster has no mother as he was man-made, and his 'father figure', Victor, who is his creator, rejects him when he realises what he has done. When Shelley wrote the novel she was only eighteen and had already suffered many deaths in her family. Her half sister had committed suicide and she had lost a baby just before she wrote the novel. She was very depressed after these events and we can see how this could have influenced the way in which she wrote the novel and the events which happened to the monster, which are mainly bad experiences. ...read more.

Middle

Shelley is trying to show that the monster's mind is like a blank sheet waiting to be filled with experiences of life. In chapter 13 the monster is beginning to realise, as he learns about society through the conversations of the people around him, that there are many differences in his own existence and those of the family he lives with. This emphasises his innocence. "Every conversation of the cottagers now opened new wonders to me. I learned of the division of property, of immense wealth and squalid poverty; of rank, descent, and noble blood". The reader is impressed with his understanding of society. Gradually he learns about himself and what he is. He realises that he has many physical differences from the people around him, and that he is unique in his appearance, which he perceives as being "deformed and loathsome". He poignantly says "Was I then a monster, a blot on the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned?" He wishes that he had never come near the hovel and remained in the wood. "Oh, that I had for ever remained in my native wood, nor known nor felt beyond the sensation of hunger, thirst and heat!" This makes the reader feel really sorry for the monster because people judge him on his looks not what he is like on the inside, which at this point is seen to be good. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is where the true horror of the story is shown - the fact that a decent being can behave in such a terrible way because of his own experiences. Shelly had recently read the book 'Emile' by Rousseau when she wrote Frankenstein. Rousseau felt strongly that childhood is a time of innocence and that a child is like a blank page, which will be filled by their experiences, good or bad, and make them into the person they finally become. Shelly was obviously influenced by this, as the monster is portrayed as being like a child, and the bad things which happen to him lead him to commit the actions he takes. Shelly's view of society as shown in these chapters is that people are judged initially by how they look and not what type of person they are, even though this is unfair. She also shows that people are treated differently depending on what class and religion they are, again unfairly. The book was written just after the French revolution, when the peasants overthrew the monarchy and triumphed over the upper classes. As Mary was from an upper class family she may have feared that the same would happen in this country to her own family. There is also a strong theme of injustice in the story - both in the treatment Safie's father receives in being imprisoned and also in the way that the monster is treated by other people, and also similarities in the way Safie's father treats her and Felix, and the rejection of the monster by his creator. ...read more.

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