If the monster was made out of body parts from a graves of criminals, would you think that he was born a murderer because he was made from evil genes? Or, would you think that because Victor, his creator, abandoned him while his mind was developing, he became evil because he did not have any guidance to what was acceptable or normal? Nature vs Nurture.
When the monster was created Victor became terrified and left him on his own. The monster was forced to teach himself how to live the life of a typical human. He learned to read and learned to speak English as well as French, however because he was intelligent and could learn the essentials of academics, doesn’t mean he was completely developed emotionally. Victor left him by himself since the first day of his creation it made him socially isolated and he had no experiences interacting with others, picking up on their cues and learning socially acceptable behaviour. Frankenstein did have a brief encounter with Victor but still not a full conversation, the monster reflected on how this impacted his being when he confronted Victor about Victor’s notes related to the creation “Everything is related in them which bears reference to my accursed origin; the whole detail of that series of disgusting circumstances which produced it is set in view; the minutest description of my odious and loathsome person is given, in language which painted your own horrors and rendered mine indelible. I sickened as I read. `Hateful day when I received life!’ I exclaimed in agony. `Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even YOU turned from me in disgust? “(15.8)
This idea of nature vs. nurture got me thinking; what if I had been adopted by parents who supported ISIS in a country other than Canada? Would I end up turning on them and disagreeing with what their beliefs were because I did not share the same genetic makeup or would I learn and be influenced by their beliefs and buy in, just as heavy as they do, to what ISIS stands for. What makes a serial killer kill? Are they born with defects in their brain or emotional responses or were they born normal and had something tragic happen that turned them into evil people? Often times you hear that as a child a serial killer was different then other children. Maybe they tortured animals and began to get worse as they grew older. This would suggest that there is a genetic component but what if that same child was being physically or sexually assaulted by someone and the only way they could release the pain was to transfer it onto something else or if their parents physically abused them and they grew to mistakenly associate pain with love and because of this confusion they end up doing the same thing as an adult, but in a more severe way? Are NHL superstars born with athletic skill and ability or is it because their parents both played hockey and introduced them to the sport at a young age and it became a positive social event for the family and an enjoyable outlet for the player so they were more likely to practice and perfect their craft?
I found myself with more questions then answers and my opinion seesawing back and forth so I decided to research nature vs nurture to see once and for all what the answer was. What I actually discovered is that the answer is both, together, at the same time or independent of one another. Your Nature affects your Nurture and your Nurture affects your Nature. As an example, the article I read asked to consider the developmental pathway a 10-year-old boy with severe aggression may have taken. He may have inherited a genetically-based temperamental predisposition to being aggressive. As a young child, that tendency to become irritable and angry would then often evoke more negative responses in other people such as parents, who may themselves struggle with controlling their own anger. These interactions begin to snowball, affecting his schoolwork and friendships and, all of these experiences cause this child’s brain to grow differently. he can’t help how he feels, but his environment and supports never helped him learn to manage or deal with it, it only made things worse.
I believe this may have been the case for the Monster in Frankenstein. Genetically there was something wrong, how could there not be, he was made up of dug up body parts, but he also was not nurtured. Perhaps if Victor had celebrated the accomplishment, told the monster that he was a miraculous creation and offered to show him the ways of the world, teach him right from wrong, and how to deal with his emotions, the Monster may have learned to love others but more importantly, himself
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. Penguin, 1992.
“Nature Versus Nurture: Where We Are in 2017.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/abcs-child-psychiatry/201710/nature-versus-nurture-where-we-are-in-2017.