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However, he also chooses isolation in his desire to explore the North Pole. And yet, to Brannstrom, the character of Robert Walton balances Victor Frankenstein who deliberately chooses to isolate himself from society and the creature who longs to belong to society. According to Brannstrom, "Walton is someone who can strive for distinction but at the same time turn back when his actions might harm others."
Tied to the theme of alienation is the theme of belonging. Whereas alienation includes the isolation of the characters and the loneliness that each felt due to the circumstances they found themselves in, belonging includes the need to be part of something and the responsibility of someone to things or persons it brought forth. Central to the theme of belonging is "paternal negligence and the need for responsible creativity" (Hustis par. 1) as illustrated by Victor Frankenstein. Victor can be likened to a father as he is the creator of the monster.
This creator-creation relationship is the fundamental and one of the most important relationships that Victor and the monster have. As a creator, Victor has responsibility over the monster. When Victor created the monster, it did not know anything. It can be likened to a child beginning with tabula rasa. However, when Victor saw his creation, he was so appalled by its hideous appearance that he fled, leaving the monster to its own devices. Not knowing anything, it learned about life and society through its encounters with humans. And because of its hideous appearance, it was mistreated. Human society shaped the monster that and turned it into a savage creature.
The need to belong is most pronounced in the character of the monster who seeks nothing but to have people who would accept it and care for it. Through the sentiments of the monster that Frankenstein created, the need of every human being to be connected to something or someone is illustrated. It is in fact this very need that drove the monster to revenge against its creator. The tragedy in Shelley's Frankenstein is that the monster was left hopeless, alone, and miserable as the only relationship that the monster had was its relationship with its creator, Victor, who chose not to provide it with a partner and who from the onset decided to run away from its relationship with its creation.
The need to belong is also illustrated through the character of Robert Walton who wanted to establish a relationship with Victor Frankenstein as he was growing lonely in his expedition. However, this relationship was not permitted by Victor since he has experienced many loses in his life and only wants to revenge and join his loved ones in death.
Another important theme of the book, Frankenstein, is the quest for knowledge and the desire for glory. Both Victor Frankenstein and Robert Walton illustrate this theme. Shelley presents the idea that in man's quest for knowledge and the desire for glory, its consequences to society should be clearly thought of. Victor's desire for glory was at the expense of his family and himself as he lost every important relationship in his life.
More than a great work of fiction, Frankenstein, according to Karen Pereira (par. 1), "may have a more autobiographical significance than it may appears" as it is parallel to the experiences of Mary Shelley such as "her birth and childhood, her mother's death, her recent miscarriage and new child, and her experiences of the events the occurred in the summer of 1816." (Pereira par. 1)
Brannstrom, Carina. An Analysis of the Theme of Alienation in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. (2006). 10 May 2009 < http://epubl.ltu.se/1402-1773/2006/049/LTU-CUPP-06049-SE.pdf>
Hustis, Harriet. "Responsible creativity and the "modernity" of Mary Shelley's Prometheus.(how Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus reconfigures and modernizes the Prometheus myth)(Critical Essay)." Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900. Rice University. 2003. HighBeam Research. 10 May. 2009
Murdarasi, Karen. "Themes in Frankenstein: A Summary of the Major Literary Motifs." Suite101. (26 May 2008). 10 May 2009
Pereira, Karen. "Frankenstein as Mary Shelley's Autobiography." Romantic and Gothic Horror. 10 May 2009 < http://www.stjohns-chs.org/english/karen/karenfrankenstein.html>.
Pollin, Burton. "Philosophical and Literary Sources of Frankenstein." Comparative Literature 17. 2 (1965): 97-108.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 1988.…[continue]
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