A Swiss Proverb once enlightened, “When one shuts one eye, one does not hear everything”. Sadly, vision is the primary sense of mankind and often the solitary basis of judgment. Would that the world could be a place that emphasizes morals, justice and intelligence rather than bravado, cuteness, and sexual attraction. If there were no predetermined ideal models defining the beautiful possibilities of the human body s variation, one would never suffer isolation due to one s disability, unattractiveness, or unusual physical attribute.
Mary Shelley s novel, Frankenstein, sheds light on the eternal illusory and importance of appearance through the tale of an unwanted creation that is never given a chance. Ironically, the supposed beast was initially much more compassionate and thoughtful than his creator, until his romantic and innocent view of the human race was diminished by the cruelty and injustice he unduly bore. The semi- gothic novel includes several instances of societal prejudice that include the isolation and outcast of Frankenstein s creation, the creature s biased opinion of the cottagers, and the unbalanced and inappropriate classification of Victor.
Throughout the course of the creature s isolated and pathetic journey, he is never given the opportunity to participate in human interaction, as he so deeply deserves. Upon his creation, the reaction of Victor, his maker, is so vividly appalling; one forgets that this is actually the birth of a human being. His father , Victor, is so selfish and has such a lack of responsibility and foresight, that he creates a human being for the simple purpose of recreation, intellectual stimulation, and the thrill of the chase . Frankenstein himself refers to his own creation as, ” the life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed” (88; ch.1; vol. 2). Victor is solely interested in the beneficial aspects on the surface of creating, just as his interest in the exterior monster is superficial. Not only is Victor s quest selfish, but his goal is frivolous as well. Victor s initial opinion of his creature is that of disappointment, although he succeeds in his destination to create a living being from inanimate pieces. The disappointment is not only irrational, but also shows his further jaded ideal of perfection in the fact that he considers ugliness a weakness.
Victor describes his supposed miserable failure as a deformed monster and when he sees the creature after his long period of aimless roaming, he “trembled with rage and horror” (95; ch. 3; vol .2). Victor wished to engage in mortal combat because he had a faint premonition that the creature might have possibly killed his son. The senseless idea was formed simply because of the creature s physical features, and that he may have been in the vicinity. Even though the monster was shunned, hated, labeled prematurely as a killer, and cursed by his very own maker, he sees the goodness of the human heart and desires to learn more about the human race.
As the supposed monster journeys onward, he is delighted and allured by the moon and sun, and other peaceful, natural and romantic settings. He describes a community as, “miraculous” (102; ch. 3; vol. 2), and sacrifices his own hunger by refusing to steal from poverty-stricken cottagers. Contrary to the creature s serene emotions, the villagers react in an absurd frenzy: “the children shrieked, and one of the women fainted” (102; ch. 3; vol. 2). The creature s deformity even took a profound effect on his own state of mind. The creature reflects, ” Alas! I did not entirely know the fatal effects of this miserable infirmity” (110; ch. 4; vol. 2), and ponders, “Was I, then, a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled and whom all woman disowned?” (117; ch. 5; vol. 2).
The creature has fallen into a land of prejudice and believes that he is an outsider to mankind and deserves his bleak fate. Upon hearing the creature s story Victor expresses a hint of pity for the creature, “I compassioned him and sometimes felt a wish to console him ” (142; ch. 9; vol. 2), although Victor goes on to say, ” But when I saw the filthy mass that moved and talked, my heart sickened and my feelings were altered to those of horror and hatred” (142; ch. 9; vol. 2). At the conclusion of the novel, Victor refuses to create another, and end the creature s miserable asylum due to the simple belief that beasts cannot nor should live peacefully in the comfort of love and kinship.
The De Lacey family also takes part in this prejudice. The creature almost falls in love with the family from a distance. Without actually interacting physically or emotionally with the group, the monster incessantly passes discernment while safely camouflaging himself in the background and daydreaming. Although the monster notices the differences of age and varying body forms, he nonetheless gives the cottagers decent and moral roles with no intelligent basis. Merely due to the disparity of the creature s physical attributes and the cottager s, the creature looks upon them as, “superior beings” (111; ch. 3; vol. 2), and believes “that they would be disgusted by [his] gentle demeanour and conciliating words.” Satirically, the gentle and soothing words of the cottagers would be natural and fitting, as the monster s appears repelling. Alas, the creature discovers the true souls of these treasured humans whom he has so greatly bestowed the hope of equality. When the younger cottagers invade the comrades peaceful discussion, their horror and consternation is indescribable to the articulate being. The blind man slightly penetrates the inhibitions of appearance when he says, “there is something in your words which persuades me that you are sincere” (130; ch. 7; vol. 2). Although even he falters the evil test of true equipollence when he utters, “I am blind and cannot judge of your countenance” If the blind man only knew the error of his words, the creature may have found a true home.
The novel includes several instances of societal prejudice that include the isolation and outcast of Frankenstein s creation, the creature s biased opinion of the cottagers, and the unbalanced and inappropriate classification of Victor. The universal quest for acceptance has led many humans to irrevocable and indecent acts. No one truly desires for their own brethren to lead a life of eternal heartache and hardship, yet we allow it to happen everyday. The simple meaninglessness of a person s appearance can cause isolation no human should have to endure. The flashes of airbrushed and plastic beauty that are copied and pasted on every media outlet in today s information age give usually intelligent and morally-intent human beings short attention spans for anything other than our own selfish well-being. For the small duration of time we do think about anything beside ourselves, we are bombarded with pity cases for the specifically cute and child-victims. In the meantime, the not-so-cute and older victims are left to fend for themselves and most human beings go on pretending the confidant and assertiveness that come with knowledge and modern civilization rule society. Meanwhile, people of all ages, sexes, and races continually binge and purge, starve and isolate themselves, and become depressed or angry. We incessantly turn a blind eye to the superfluous suffering of our brothers and sisters, and even condone the labeling of Victor s benevolent child as monster . Had the image-obsessed society paused for one moment to introspect the personality that they feared, a multitude of lives could have been saved.