Perspective: A Particular Way of Considering Something
“Empathy begins with understanding life from another person’s perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality. It’s all through our own individual prisms.” Sterling K. Brown
What are the first thoughts that come to mind when you hear Frankenstein… Monster? Scientist? and the eerie atmosphere that Mary Shelley’s writing embodies? As I began to deeply immerse myself in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, my attention was captured by the concept of perspective. I was immensely intrigued in the idea that an individuals perspective has a direct connection to their actions. Victor’s creature is perceived as a monstrous, evil presence by almost everyone that he encounters. As a result of this, people experience a flight or flight response, tending to flee from his presence or throw objects such as stones at him (Shelley 112). The only person who exhibited an ounce of kindness towards him was a blind man. I found it interesting that Shelley included this interaction, and that the man didn’t have an extreme negative reaction, all due to his perspective.
More than that, I was captivated by the perspective Shelley gave to me as a reader. Her writing enabled both the perspective of the monster and his creator to co-exist within the same frightening confines of her story. I was torn between the idea of the creature being the monster the world understood him to be and my own opinion, that the term “monster” belonged to his creator instead. This lead me to the question that has continued to press on me: what makes someone a monster and how does perspective play into it? From what I interpreted from the story, I am more likely to argue that Victor is the monster. How can it be seen that a man who’s selfish actions justify abandoning an unaware creation to face the world be thought as good? Not to mention his unwillingness to feel for anyone’s circumstances other than his own, especially his creature’s. One outside quote I found that represents the relationship between the characters is “We make our own monsters, then fear them for what they show us about ourselves.” ― Mike Carey. For me, the monster gave me a better understanding on Victor’s many personality flaws and thoughts.
The progression of the story brought on some unforeseen reflection on myself and my knowledge about a “monster”. I was not expecting to feel a deep empathy for the creature. Shelley’s writing depicted an being who profoundly craved affection. In reading through the viewpoint of the creature, I understood the abandonment and hatred that he expressed toward Victor. I found Shelley’s use of perceptive remarkably clever as she perfectly sets up the backdrop and drive for vengeance that the creature asserts. The pivotal moment that altered my views on the previous characterization of both Creature and Creator was that story the creature told. I struggled to see a monster from his desire to included in a family like the De Lacey’s saying “but where were my friends and relations? No father had watched my infant days, no mother blessed me with smiles and caresses…” (Shelley 129). This helped me realize the creature was only seen as monster because of his circumstances and lack of experiences. Overall, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein includes a remarkable insight into perspective and how we view individuals. I anxiously await the conclusion of this acclaimed novel and the story that comes with it.
kimmeridge. Frankenstein – Key Quotes. YouTube, 26 May 2011, www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKJ4GmV9oqI, 4 May 2018.
Perspective Quotes. BrainyQuote. Xplore. www.brainyquote.com/topics/perspective, 4 May 2018
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2013.
University, Cambridge. Cambridge Dictonary. 2018.
Sathre-Vogel, Nancy. “It’s All About Perspective.” Family on Bikes, 12 Mar. 2012, familyonbikes.org/blog/2012/03/its-all-about-perspective/.