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Nature Vs Nurture In Frankenstein

Nature Vs Nurture In Frankenstein

Nature and nurture are both major contributors to the development of the monster’s behavior; however Shelley uses Rousseau’s theory on the natural man, who is born free and good but is corrupted by society, to prove that nurture is the leading factor which forms the creature’s behavior. An example of the creature being free is when he explains that before society he ate, slept and acted like an animal; eating berries and nuts, drinking from the brook and sleeping in the woods. Through these actions he is responding to his natural needs for food and shelters. Soon after this the creature watches the DeLacey family, a kind rich family thrown into poverty, from a hovel and learns how to speak, read, write and most importantly have a intelligent thought through the nurture he receives from them. For example, when the creature sees DeLacey, an elderly blind father, comforting his daughter, Agatha, the creature says “a mixture of pain and pleasure such as I never before experienced...”, this shows that he is forming reasonable thought. Now with the family he begins to have a more human train of thought. The family also gives him a self awareness that causes him to acknowledge the fact that he will never be a part of humanity, and also can not go back to his natural state. The nurturing care he receives while watching the family overcomes his animal like character. Shelley explains that only through nurture the creature was able to have this new found knowledge. It is true that the only way the creature would have a self consciousness is through the experience he had felt through the observation of the DeLacey family.

Mary Shelley also uses education as a essential tool for nurturing the creature. The creature’s education is based on three books; Paradise Lost, Sorrow of Werter and Lives. The monster read each book as a true history of man. With each book he had felt a range of emotions, for Paradise Lost he says “It (the book) moved every feeling of wonder and awe...similarity struck me, to my own.” He relates to Paradise Lost because he feels like Adam, both formed by a creator; he also connects with Satan at times because he felt envy towards the DeLaceys. When he reads Plutarch’s...

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