Funny how I've just described the average teenager's high school career, stereotypically speaking of course. But did you notice that this was all Frankenstein wanted too?
It was neither.
What I read was a classic story of parental abandonment. Except there was never the whoops-mistaken-egg-switch-reunited-with-swan-family happy ending from the Ugly Duckling. There wasn't even a crappy orphanage to perfect foster family type ending. No, Frankenstein was a story of about the abandonee seeking answers, seeking love from the one who left him on the doorstep. And when constantly denied that, the nameless creature reacts how most children would when left to face the real harsh world alone.
He rebels against it, the whole harsh world becoming his surrogate parental unit. And he hates it. The world is a poor replacement for a mother or father's love. The creature was never taught love, he never experienced it for himself, or rather he never was the direct object of someone else's love. He witnessed it plenty of times and desired it, needed it. But always he was the outsider, ostracized since birth. Recall your own childhood. When a sibling or 'friend' decided that you weren't worth their time. It was as if they despised you.
That feeling, was it a good one?
No.....no, it wasn't.
We were born social creatures. We know that attention at the very least means survival in the long run. That even if we never knew the love of a mother or a father that if we could just be seen! Someone somewhere would pity us at the very least. And that's the amazing thing. A person is not like a bird, who will abandon her eggs because they no longer smell right. A person is born with an innate ability to Love. even those whom are not their own flesh and blood.
The creature became so rebellious, so terrible and angry because he was abandoned.
Instinctively he sought love and acceptance:
"...and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken but I did not stay to hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me..." (Shelley, Mary Frankenstein Chapter Five).
While reading this particular passage I pictured my own baby sister when she first came home. She couldn't speak, she mumbled and grinned her toothless grin a lot. And babies reach out with their hands A LOT as well, all uncoordinated and waving about. The fact that Victor saw his creatures movements as 'detaining' made me think of mothers and fathers who believe that children are a drag on his or her life.
If the creature were really a monster why would he be able to feel such a complex emotion as love?
" I have LOVE in me, the likes of which you can scarcely imagine..." says the creature to his creator. He was born with it, he was willing to give it and only desired that such feelings would be reciprocated. Love is uplifting so when deprived of love the soul falls back primal feelings, the hot and angry kind which allow animals to survive. "imagine, and RAGE the likes of which you would not believe..." The creature implying that because Victor denied him love, he could not understand how much love the creature felt and that his own rage was fiercer than that of Victor's because he was living off a primal rage. A rage which resulted from a lack of love.
Children are born to be loved. There is a sadness in the fact that I must say- should be loved.There is an estimate that "Numbers of orphans will increase dramatically by 2010/2015, at an estimated growth of 15 to 20 million per year. (international advocates for children)" ? Like the creature will these estimated children seek identification, seek acceptance and love from the harsh world? Will they join gangs or be able to join church choirs?
Abandonment hurts. Symbalta can help. I AM JUST KIDDING. (a little comedic relief attempt haha....ha.) In all seriousness though I really liked the book. It felt like that was what the novel was trying to point out the importance of love, specifically the love of parents toward a child. That message was just so far off of my expectations that it genuinely surprised me. I tried to imagine how the creature would have turned out if Victor had accepted him. And then I thought about how much better the world would be if it was one where children never had to be abandoned. Both stories end much better.