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What does Mary Shelley tell us about the education of the creature?

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What does Mary Shelley tell us about the education of the creature? In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley tells us much about the education of Victor's creature (VC). He tells Victor, and in turn, the reader, about his life until now in a nicely chronological order; starting with him struggling to "distinguish between the operations of [his] various senses", right through to him learning about the "importance of emotion to any definition of humanity" (the English Review). The tale of VC opens with him explaining his development from a very early age. This allows us to see Mary Shelley's first attempt at presenting the creature as a "noble savage" - here, he cannot even differentiate between his senses, yet "Darkness came over [VC], and troubled [VC]; but hardly had I felt this when...the light poured in on me" - this implies, if somewhat covertly, the creature's noble nature - being troubled by darkness (evil) and "saved" by light (good). At this point, however, most of VC's narrative is merely detailing his basic learning to survive. VC shows many signs of humanity - learning from the pain of the fire not to touch it, yet discovering light and heat come from the fire also. ...read more.


The first of these is not something so much learnt, but it is evidence that he is a noble savage; "..taking up an instrument, began to play, and to produce sounds sweeter than the voice of the thrush or the nightingale." He can appreciate music - surely proof that Mary Shelley wishes him to be considered in human terms, not monstrous. VC also shows an appreciation for beauty that most humans could not boast; "Nothing could exceed in beauty the contrast between these two excellent creatures" - has also learnt to think logically, to reason, given very well laid out reasons as to why they are so beautiful, backing up his argument. The next thing is one of the most important things which VC learns - it is a lesson of morals. He sees "several times [the younger cottagers] placed food before the old man when they reserved none for themselves...I had been accustomed to steal some of their store, but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained". This shows that he understands and acts out of compassion. ...read more.


By far the most important part of VC's education is his learning to speak. Though it has been proved that it is impossible to learn language in the fashion that VC does, we must remember that this is just a novel. In his learning to speak, VC gains the ability to articulate the feelings inside him, the ability to read and the ability to communicate his dreams. He learns as Safie learns, being taught by Felix. Being taught to speak and listen to speech opens the door to all other avenues of Frankenstein's learning; his learning about humanity is increased tenfold after this. Whether this is a curse or a blessing, however, is left for us to decide - after learning how to speak and read, VC sees just how outcast he is, just how far outside the circle of love that is there between Safie, Felix, Agatha and the old man. Once he can see the extent of his loneliness, and can grasp what potential there is - once he learns that there is more to life than suffering - he is gripped by an insatiable desire to be a part of society. Society's rejection of him, it can be argued, is what turns him from a noble savage to an educated murderer. b ...read more.

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