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Humanity in Frankenstein

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Curtis Herbolich


English 10


Humanity in Frankenstein

One of the most human traits is curiosity. The book Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, depicts this curiosity of humankind. Both Victor Frankenstein and his creature are curious about intellectual topics. The creature has to learn to live on his own, while Frankenstein expands his previous knowledge of going further in his studies. Being human is to pursue knowledge and having the ability to find answers. Though Frankenstein exemplifies those characteristics, he learned to question the world attending school, while, the creature had to learn how to ask questions on his own. The creature persistently asks outgoing questions about who he is and the nature of humankind. The creature depicts more human traits than Frankenstein because he continuously asks questions about his identity, he is curious about life, and he is interested in how the world works.

Throughout the book, the creature is on a hunt to find his identity. Does the search for clues and explanations exemplify why humans do what they do? The monster, who is not born naturally, dreams of being considered human. If the creature is not human then why does he have more human traits than Frankenstein? The creature pursues knowledge. The creature asks many questions, but a few are more prominent. They display curiosity and a sense of compassion, “My person was hideous and my stature gigantic. What did this mean? What was I? Whence did I come? What was my destination?” (131). the creature is reaching out to Frankenstein wanting answers, but not only answers; the creature wants to make sense of the mess that Frankenstein has put him in. Humanity is the pursuit of knowledge; the creature seeks answers from the person that he has the most complicated relationship with; he is displaying more human traits than is expected. On the other hand, Frankenstein goes above and beyond searching for more than an answer but a solution to the world’s problem. Frankenstein went to school studying anatomy, chemistry, math, and foreign language. He studied his whole life to find one answer: “I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter,” (53). If Frankenstein asked a question and found an answer then what sets him apart from the monster? It is the monster’s will to seek out the answer without anyone telling him what to look for. Whereas Frankenstein went to school to search for answers, the creature learned how to be kind, forage for food, and learned to read and write. A number of accomplishments the creature did on his own are what sets him apart from Frankenstein.

The monster’s curiosity towards life is another example of what . In the middle of the novel, the creature starts to feel lonely, he has no one to talk to and cannot be seen in public. Being as sophisticated as he is, he starts to ask questions, related to compassion, “No Eve soothed my sorrows nor shared my thoughts; I was alone. I remembered Adam's supplication to his Creator. But where was mine? He had abandoned me, and in the bitterness of my heart I cursed him” (127).The creature is starting to understand emotion and is realizing how he reacts to different issues. This tells us a lot about how much the creature has learned. He knows the story of Adam and Eve, which also tells us that he is familiar with the Bible. He realizes that one of the only ways to be happy in the world is if you share it with a partner. He wants a lady creature to share his journey with. The second part of the definition of humanity was being able to answer your questions. It is here that the creature is answering his questions. He learned how to read, so he read the stories of the Bible. As the creature continues to ask and answer questions, he gets more accustomed to the humanistic idea of what the societal norm is. The creature is not normal and he realizes that he never will be, but his only thought about beauty is why Frankenstein made him so ugly, “Accursed creator! Why did you form a creature so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance,” (133). When he says, “Why did you form a creature so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust?” this is a pivotal argument for the monster. He is essentially saying that if you wanted to create life why would you make your creation ugly. He uses God as an example. God created man beautiful and got credit for his creation. If Frankenstein wanted credit and fame for his illustrious creation why would he make his creature displeasing to the human eye? Learning how to read helped the creature gain information about the past, and understanding what a human should look like. Learning how to read allowed the creature to look at life differently.

The third way the creature shows more human traits than Frankenstein is his interest in how the world works. He wants to know what is good for you, bad for you, what hurts, what’s beautiful, and so on. Just like the first people to walk on earth, the creature had to learn on his own starting from the bottom. As the monster’s intellect grows he becomes more aware of his surroundings. He finds foods that are safe to eat, clothes, and shelter. But perhaps the most important discovery for the creature was fire:



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