by Mary Shelly
Society puts labels on everything as good or bad, rich or poor, normal or aberrant. Although some of these stamps are accurate, most of them are misconceptions. In the novel "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley this act of erring by society is extremely evident.
One example of an invalid judgment is the way the family is looked upon. They are seen by society as the lower-class. They work every day on their garden to make food for meals because they do not have enough money to buy food. They are viewed as poor and unfortunate, but are actually rich... in spirit. They are good people. They do not complain with the status quo but enjoy what they have, which is an admirable trait for people in any standing. The old blind man sings songs to the others, plays a musical instrument, and adds a sense of experience and content to the family. The children do their daily work without griping as well. Just because they are looked down upon by society, does not stop them from enjoying what has been provided for them.
Society itself which is supposed to be good is actually ignorant. They scorn, attack, and shun the monster just because of his outward appearance. This is not justified by anything except his demeanor. They are also afraid of it because they are afraid of things about which they know nothing. Society also unjustly kills Justine because she is the only person that could have possibly have done such an evil act. They again wrongly label Justine as the killer. They do not look into the facts but instead find a quick and easy answer to the problem. This again shows the ignorance of society in this novel.
Two of the most inaccurate assumptions of society revolve around the central characters of Dr. Frankenstein and the monster. Society's labels for these two extremely different characters are on the exact opposite side of the scale from where they are supposed to be. Dr. Frankenstein is more of a monster while the monster is the more decent of the characters.
Dr. Frankenstein, the so-labeled decent, no-fault man, is actually irresponsible, stubborn, and extreme in his actions throughout the novel's plot. His irresponsibility shows through, many times, in his feelings toward his creation. While he was in the process of shaping his creation, Frankenstein is so caught up in his work and his yearning to be remembered for all time that he does not ponder about what will happen after life is breathed into this being. He is so consumed by his work that he does not sleep for days on end, go outside, eat meals, or write to his family. After his creation comes to life, he refuses to accept his obligation as the creator to his creation. He does not care for it, shelter it, provide it with food or love, or teach the creation. Eventually all the monster wants from the doctor is a companion like himself. Frankenstein even refuses to accept the responsibility of providing a source of companionship for the creation since he does not allow for any connection between himself and the monster.
The doctor is intensely set in his ways. Even after the monster kills his son and frames Justine, Frankenstein still will not change his attitude toward the monster. He still does not want any association between himself and the monster even after what has happened. Frankenstein is so convinced that the monster will kill him next, he does not stop and think about what else the monster could have meant by, "I will be with you on your wedding night." The thought does not enter his head that the monster is foreshadowing the death of his bride. Then after the monster has taken this action, Frankenstein is wrathful towards his creation for not killing him. Frankenstein again shows his persistence when he tries to kill the creation. The monster leads his creator through all kinds of rough terrain, and then into the snow covered arctic. Frankenstein does not care that the monster is vastly superior in physique compared to himself, and that he will never be able to seize the monster unless the creation allows the doctor to catch him. He does not let any of this affect his thirst for revenge.
The doctor has varying opinions at different points in the novel At the beginning, Dr. Frankenstein lives for the monster only. He forgets everybody and everything that he had before he became infatuated with his creation. He puts so much time and effort into making this thing live that he gets only the best of each part, and makes him anatomically correct to every finger, toe, and nerve. This concentration in making the monster live is in direct contrast to his later wish to kill the beast. He travels to all extents to hunt and destroy this monster, going through forests, mountains, and glaciers, and depriving himself of people, food, and sleep. There is no gray area in Dr. Frankenstein's thoughts; only black and white. He either loves the monster totally or wants to slay it. He fully devotes himself to his task.
The monster on the other hand has gotten the worse end of the deal. The creation, or as society has labeled it "the monster", is actually one of the only characters in the novel that actually has rationale behind his thinking. Society has mislabeled this creature as dumb, savage, and brutal, whereas he is actually intelligent, kind, and humane. This creation knows absolutely nothing when he first begins to exist and yet in a very short amount of time (compared to human learning) can walk, talk, read, write, and think logically. He learns to read, write, and talk from the family. Proof to his logical thinking is throughout the novel but especially in his plan to make Frankenstein feel his solitude and misery. Also in the creation's flashback, the reader sees the organized thought process of his mind. The creation does not skip from one time to another randomly but narrates his story in chronological fashion. Anyone who can remember such a long story with as vivid details would be labeled a prodigy. The creation's supplying of wood and helping in the familial chores indicates the kindness of this being. He feels obligated to help the family in some way considering he is using their house as shelter. He even stops taking their food because he sees that it causes them to suffer. The creation is also humane despite the fact the he actually kills in the book. He saves a girl from drowning in a river while in the forest. This concern for human life in addition to his feelings of love toward the family is evidence to his kindheartedness. He does not even mean to kill the boy at first. If any character in this tale should be labeled as a monster it should not be he.
Frequently, society mislabels people based on misconceptions and ruin lives. This is especially evident in the novel "Frankenstein", where labels placed on the main characters by society are skewed.