Some topics typically recalled when speaking of the book Frankenstein are tragedy, despair, murder even. Something not spoken of as often is what the book lacks which would cause these disastrous occurrences throughout the novel. It seems strange for a books overall somber tone to be given by the distinct lack of something, but that is the case in Frankenstein.
It begins with Robert Walton in letter 2, page 18. “I have no friend, Margret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate in my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavor to sustain me in dejection.” On his journey of information, Robert is completely alone. He believes that no one can relate to him because of his intelligence and his higher level of education, and that if he is unable to confide in someone. This feeling of being segregated from others creates a barrier between himself and the rest of society, laving him unhappy. Feeling isolated like this, with a lack of affection and care from others can cause immense change in a person.
Victor himself experiences isolation in the novel when he goes to University. As a child, he received plenty of support and affection from his parents, but after leaving he had no one there to care for him. This cut of affection causes him to change his demeanor in many negative ways. “I threw myself into the chaise that was to convey me away and indulged in the most melancholy reflections. I, who had ever been surrounded by amiable companions, continually engaged in endeavoring to bestow mutual pleasure-I was now alone. ” (Chapter 3, Pg. 44). When he becomes lost in his studies, he removes himself from human society, causing him to lose sight of responsibilities he has as well as the consequences of his actions. This and the fact that he no longer has someone to comfort him and is all alone equals the creation of the monster. the very act of creating the monster results in him becoming even more isolated from society, as he obsesses over creating the monster and doing nothing else, an obsession which creates physical as well as psychological issues for Victor, the main psychological issue being his high level of loneliness.
The monster itself is one of the most obvious displays of isolation and lack of affection. From the get-go, the monster is given no domestic affection from Victor. His very creator did not even name him, a distinct disassociation from humanity, and a show of hatred towards his creation. The monster is also rejected immediately by anyone who crosses his path due to his grotesque features and obvious monster like demeanor, Victor included. This isolates the monster completely, without his choosing, when what he really wants is to belong and have a companion. He even ventures around making sure no humans see him, because he longs for human society and inclusivity to such a high degree. His distinct isolation and lack of domestic affection fills it with an overwhelming amount anger and hate. Think of the monster as a child and Victor his parent. He is abandoned at creation by his only parent. This would cause anyone to be filled with hate and anger, specifically at the parent who left them, and getting revenge could easily be something that the child would want. And the monster’s vengeance? To make Victor feel as isolated as it does.
Add up each of these aspects, and it becomes clear that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein sees isolation from family and society as the worst imaginable fate, the cause of hatred, violence, and revenge.
Edmonds, Molly. “What Are the Effects of Isolation in the Mind?” HowStuffWorks Science, HowStuffWorks, 8 Mar. 2018, science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/isolation-effects.htm.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Douglas Clegg. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. Penguin, 2013.
Takeda. “How Does Isolation and Lack of Human Contact Effect People?” How Does Isolation and Lack of Human Contact Effect People?, 1 Jan. 1970, isolation-fg.blogspot.com/2010/04/how-does-isolation-and-lack-of-human.html.