An inside look at the novel "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley. Includes a detailed look at the symbolism and themes of the novel.
In the 1880 novel from Mary Shelley titled “Frankenstein”, A number of clashes between the novel and romanticism could quite clearly be seen. Romantics at the time, always wanted to look away from the technology industry and technology in general. The romantics at the time felt that a rustic way of life was more beneficial.
One of the prime examples of these clashes is when the monster relates its tale of the De Lacey family. The background of the tale is that the fiend spent months watching and taking notes of the family, learning each family members name and learning they’re language and what they’re way of life was like. After careful observation , he realized that his way of stealing goods from the family did them more harm so to speak, and got the monster upset. This in turn, made the monster decide to quit stealing goods and attempt to help the De Lacey family by secretly
gathering wood and other necessities that the family needed for them during the night. At some point during this tale, the fiend decides to attempt to befriend the family in hopes that they would view him as part of the family in the near future. While chatting with the elderly mother in law who was blind, the De Lacey family returns ahead of schedule and runs off the fiend upon discovering him inside the house. An angry monster then curses and swears revenge on all
humanity and most importantly of all- his creator.
After careful observations of this tale, I believe that the symbolism is there with
romanticism. The part of the tale where the fiend is chased off by the De Lacey family is
symbolic because it represents a family that believes in these ideals chasing away the fiend, with
the symbolism being the monster representing technology and the family representing these
beliefs. Another wards, I believe this part of the story represents The rustic beliefs chasing away
a technological advancement. One of the main concerns that plaqued people back then and even
now is the fact that using technology to attempt to create beings was always seen as a sin,
mainly because many saw it as being only gods will that can create life and attempting it was
literally stepping on the toes of god. A point of romanticism can also be seen when you study the
fiends interactions and thoughts when he observes the De Lacey family. After observing the
family he becomes enthralled and watches over the family in hopes of becoming accepted as one
of their own for his hard work. This right proves that the fiend is only trying to make friends and
trying to get a feeling of belonging like every other person on this planet.
Another interesting thing about this is the different places that the monster came from
compared to where the De Lacey’s reside. The monster comes from a place that is bleak, and
pretty much attacked on all sides by an unforgiving set of conditions while the De Lacey’s
reside in a place that is beautiful, even though they have had to deal with occasional harsh
realities at times. An example of this observation comes when the fiend observes the beauty of
the land while also, realizing that the De Lacy family because of him, are struggling to survive
by since the fiend is taking all they’re goods. The fiends bleak world can be seen if you pay
attention to his creation. Unlike a normal human being, his entire body including his face and
skull and limbs are from different dead corpses that leaves him stitched up on each part of the
body and also leaving him looking as a horribly disfigured creature.
After the confrontation with the De Laney’s, the fiend travels back to Geneva to get
revenge on his creator Victor Frankenstein. Victor can be seen as a person who is an outcast to
romantic beliefs simply because of his desire for knowledge. This hunger for knowledge leads
him to play a God-like role by making the Creature with the technology around him. The reason
why he would be an outcast towards the romantics is because their belief system. The general
belief of romantics is to look away from technology and to live a simple rustic life which is of
course, the exact opposite of Victor Frankenstein’s philosophy. The fiend that Victor creates, is
created as a total outcast to romantic beliefs due to the technological aspects of his creation.
Since the fiends creation, He is engaged in his own struggle to experience sublime connection
with his environment and with other living beings. He spends a majority of the time trying to fit
in with the rest of the world, while the rest of the world rejects him continuously. This can be
seen when the fiend comes into contact with the De Lacy family. Even before then, the fiend
spent a good deal of time learning the instinct of survival by realizing the need to eat in order to
continue to live. The main reason why he could never interact and befriend the rest of the world
is because of his inability to speak and the fiend does not possess the obvious physical
characteristics that would make him more recognizable to human beings. A sad existence he is
forced to endure.
In closing, I do believe that the scenes which documents when the De Lacey’s and The
Fiend’s paths cross, gives us a great deal of symbolism and understanding as to why the
romantics’ looked away from technology. This scene alone sets the stage for the rest of the novel
in a sense that the fiends new goal of revenge sets in. The tale of Frankenstein concentrates on a
monsters desire to fit in with everyday human beings, only to get rejected every time. The
clashes with Romantics’ beliefs and Victor Frankenstein views of the world were also very
interesting. After careful studying of the novel and this scene specifically, I truly believe this
novel by Mary Shelley is a great piece of literature.