Monday, September 28, 2009

Frankenstein: Vol II

I recall from the first couple days of class we discussed "What is the Gothic?" and the topic of mirroring, alter egos and doubling was used to define the Gothic. I find in Frankenstein that the Being is a mirror of Victor. Victor spends a strenuous amount of time in creating the Being that he ultimately transfers his life into another being. Victor sacrifices his social life, family, and friends for the quest to find the secret of life. In doing so, he creates a life that is in search for the same quest, however, the Being gains insight on what Victor lost sight of.

When the Being and Victor are reunited, the Being begs to tell his story of what he saw. He begins the experience by saying "It was dark when I awoke; I felt cold also, and half-frightened as it were instinctively, finding myself so desolate...I sat down and wept" (68). The creature is welcomed into the world as a fearful existence, however, even though he is capable of automatically instilling fear by his presence, his presence in the world instills fear in himself. For example, when you witness an object that you are afraid of (i.e. a spider, snake, shark etc.) you respond in fear and do not process their potential fear of you as well. Also, the creature embraces and understands the woes of being lonely and expresses that through tears. He is capable of feeling loneliness and responding in tears, an emotion that is not normally attributed to fearful looking beings. Victor did not mind being desolate and lonely, unlike the creature. Victor chose to be alone and the creature does not have the choice, but to be alone. What Victor sacrificed, the Being seeks.

The creature's initial reactions with people are not welcoming. He rapidly learns to stay away from them for his own safety, especially since he is interacting in their world. However, he does find a way to safely observe and learn from a family living in a cottage in the woods he is staying. "What chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people; and I longed to join them, but dared not. I remembered too well the treatment I had suffered the night before from the barbarous villagers" (73). He chooses to quietly remain in his hovel to hopefully learn the motives behind their actions. In discovering and learning from others, he is learning of himself. The creature's ability to learn and gain composure as a being occurs through doing as others do.

The Being takes note of how beautiful, docile and delicate the cottage people are and he understands his looks are alarmingly different. " I was terrified, when I viewed myself in a transparent pool!...unable to believe that it was indeed I who was reflected in the mirror...Alas!...I did not yet entirely know the fatal effects of this miserable deformity" (76). He understands the fear that other people see in him and this is fatal to him. He seeks comfort, society, warmth and interaction. Again, these are the qualities of life that Victor sacrificed and now the creature seeks to experience them.

I find it interesting that Victor's creation of life, the Being, results in deformity. What does that say about Victor's quest for life? Victor's quest for life created the creature, but the secret to life was not found, is the creature meant to finish Victor's endeavor?