In Chapter 11 the narrator switches to the Creature’s point of view and this perspective made me realize how cruel and judgemental mankind is. The appearance of the Creature’s terrifying figure lead to the cruel abandonment by his creator Victor. As I was reading chapters 8-16, I kept thinking about the theme of discrimination; an ‘intolerant treatment of dissimilar categories of people or things.’ In Frankenstein, the discrimination was of course towards the Creature, based on his looks. Discrimination was brought into the story when his creator was horrified of his looks and he left the Creature alone, wanting nothing to do with him. In chapter 10, Victor and the Creature meet in the mountains as Victor was roaming through a valley. They had a conversation. The way Victor spoke with the Creature, clearly showed his disgust and hatred towards the Creature’s existence. Even though the Creature showed innocence with evil and begs for compassion, Victor refuses to give the Creature any chance of having a relationship with him and again refers to his horrifying looks.
“Cursed be the day, abhorred devil, in which you first saw light! Cursed be the hands that formed you! You’ve made me wretched beyond expression. You have left me no power to consider whether I am just to you or not. Begone! Relieve me from the sight of your detested form.” (Shelly 106).
This quote was spoken by Victor and he said it to the Creature. This showed that he wanted nothing to do with the creature because of the way he looked. This was a clear example of discrimination and how cruel one can be to another, just because of physical appearance.
Discrimination also was defined when the Creature was narrating. He once again faced rejection by the rest of society. Hearing from the Creature’s perspective made me feel empathetic towards him, as it was clear that the Creature was capable of advanced thought and reasoning, that inside he really wasn’t different than any other human. This can be heard by his expression of such human desires as a need for family, friendship, and acceptance. Nonetheless, his terrifying appearance prevented him from ever getting these basic desires.
“I entered, but I had hardly placed my foot within the door before a child shrieked and one of the woman fainted. The whole village was roused; some fled and some attacked me.” (Shelly 112).
This quote was spoken by the Creature as he was describing the reaction of the villagers when he entered one of their buildings. This showed that the people within the village reacted immediately to his outer looks, viewing him to be nothing but a monster to be feared or fought off. Another bold example of discrimination, as minds were made up, without giving him a chance to show who he really was, beyond his scary appearance.
These acts of discrimination explored in Frankenstein are present today all around us. In particular, the discrimination against women in certain cultures across the world. In other situations, we often even fail to recognize it, such as the small discrimination that goes on every day, like racist comments towards individuals with different beliefs or races. Even just looking or acting differently, can cause others to reject them and show discrimination towards them. Reading Frankenstein has helped me understand how easy it can be for people to be cruel and judgmental towards a person that stands out different compared to others, and that we need to act on it, to help stop it! The Creature was clearly a victim of discrimination by mankind. How does he feel about it? How will he react to it?
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Penguin Publishing Group, 2013.