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The Unjust Isolation of Frankenstein's Creation and Other Reasons to Never Become a Model: Societal Prejudices in Shelley's Frankenstein A Swiss Proverb once enlightened, "When one shuts one eye, one does not hear everything". Sadly, vision is the primary sense of mankind and often the solitary basis of judgment. Without human's limitations of the shapes, colors and textures of our overall outward appearances, the world would be a place that emphasizes morals, justice and intelligence rather than bravado, cuteness, and sexual attraction. For if there were no predetermined ideal models defining the beautiful possibilities of the human body's variation, one would never suffer isolation due to one's disability, unattractiveness, or unusual physical attribute. Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, sheds light on the eternal illusory and importance of appearance through the tale of an unwanted creation that is never given a chance. Ironically, the supposed beast was initially much more compassionate and thoughtful than his creator, until his romantic and innocent view of the human race was diminished by the cruelty and injustice he unduly bore. Not only does the creature suffer the prejudice of an appearance-based society, but other situations and characters in the novel force the reader to reflect their own hasty crimes of judgment in an intelligent and adult fashion. The semi- gothic novel includes several instances of societal prejudice that include the isolation and outcast of Frankenstein's creation, the creature's biased opinion of the cottagers, and the unbalanced and inappropriate classification of Victor. Throughout the course of the creature's isolated and pathetic journey, he is never given the opportunity to participate in human interaction, as he so deeply deserves. Upon his creation, the reaction of Victor, his maker, is so vividly appalling; one forgets that this is actually the birth of a human being. His 'father', Victor, is so selfish and has such a lack of responsibility and foresight, that he creates a human being for the simple purpose of recreation, intellectual stimulation, and the thrill of 'the chase'. Frankenstein himself refers to his own creation as, ""¦the life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed" 88; ch.1; vol. 2. Victor is solely interested in the beneficial aspects on the surface of creating, just as his interest in the exterior 'monster' is superficial. Not only is Victor's quest selfish, but his goal is frivolous as well. Victor's initial opinion of his creature is that of disappointment, although he succeeds in his destination to create a living being from inanimate pieces. The disappointment is not only irrational, but also shows his further jaded ideal of perfection in the fact that he considers ugliness a weakness. If that were true, ugliness would be the creature's only weakness, as the story goes on to tell of the selfless acts of kindness the creature administers. Victor describes his supposed miserable failure as a deformed monster when he says "His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of lustrous black, and flowing his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only form a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips" 56; ch.5; vol.1. Later, Victor sees the creature after a long period of his aimless roaming, and he "trembled with rage and horror" 95; ch. 3; vol .2. Victor wished to engage in mortal combat because he had a faint premonition the creature might have possibly killed his son. The senseless idea was formed simply because of the creature's physical features, and that he may have been in the vicinity. Even though the monster was shunned, hated, labeled prematurely as a killer, and cursed by his very own maker, he sees the goodness of the human heart and desires to learn more about the human race. As the supposed monster journeys onward, he is delighted and allured by the moon and sun, and other peaceful, natural and romantic settings. He describes a community as, "miraculous" 102; ch. 3; vol. 2, and sacrifices his own hunger by refusing to steal from poverty-stricken cottagers. Contrary to the creature's serene emotions, the villagers react in an absurd frenzy: "the children shrieked, and one of the women fainted" 102; ch. 3; vol. 2. The creature's deformity even took a profound effect on his own state of mind. The creature reflects, " Alas! I did not entirely know the fatal effects of this miserable infirmity" 110; ch. 4; vol. 2, and ponders, "Was I, then, a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled and whom all woman disowned?" 117; ch. 5; vol. 2. The reader wonders if the creature has fell into the unfeeling void of prejudice and believes he is an outsider to mankind that deserves his bleak fate. Finally upon hearing the creature's story Victor expresses a hint of pity for the creature, "I compassioned him and sometimes felt a wish to console him"¦" 142; ch. 9; vol. 2, although Victor goes on to say, " But when I saw the filthy mass that moved and talked, my heart sickened and my feelings were altered to those of horror and hatred" 142; ch. 9; vol. 2. At the conclusion of the novel, Victor refuses to create another, and end the creature's miserable asylum due to the simple belief that beasts cannot nor should live peacefully in the comfort of love and kinship. The cottagers also display a contrast of truth and appearance. The creature almost falls in love with the family from a distance. He thinks they exude natural innocence and kinship by simply viewing them from afar. Without actually interacting physically or emotionally with the group, the monster incessantly passes discernment while safely camouflaging himself in the background and daydreaming. Although the monster notices the differences of age and varying body forms, he nonetheless gives the cottagers decent and moral roles with no intelligent basis. The creature remarks, "One was old, with silver hairs and a countenance beaming with benevolence and love: the younger was slight and graceful in his figure, and his features were molded in the finest symmetry" 105; ch. 3; vol. 2. Merely due to the disparity of the creatures physical attributes and the cottagers, the creature looks upon them as, "superior beings" 111; ch. 3; vol. 2, and believes "that they would be disgusted by my gentle demeanour and conciliating words " Satirically, the gentle and soothing words of the cottagers would be natural and fitting, as the 'monster's' appears repelling. Alas, the creature discovers the true souls of these treasured humans whom he has so greatly bestowed the hope of equality. When the younger cottagers invade the comrades' peaceful discussion, their horror and consternation is indescribable to the articulate being. The blind man slightly penetrates the inhibitions of appearance when he says, "there is something in your words which persuades me that you are sincere" 130; ch. 7; vol. 2. Although even he falters the evil test of true equipollence when he utters, "I am blind and cannot judge of your countenance" If the blind man only knew the error of his words, the creature may have found a true home. The untimely assessment of Victor as an inoffensive and harmless existence symbolizes the generous leniency one gives to another that through appearance is viewed as a reflection of oneself. Victor has several nervous breakdowns and becomes reclusive at times. His unusual behavior goes unnoticed by his family and friends due to his seemingly safe and passive physical stature. Victor reflects on the grievances of his beloved Elizabeth and father. He sheds light on the disagreement between his image of innocence and the true broken shell of a man he inhabits: "Frankenstein, your son, your kinsman, your early, much-loved friend; he who would spend each vital drop of blood for your sakes- who has no thought nor sense of joy, except as it is mirrored also in your dear countenance" 86; ch. 8; vol. 1. After several episodes of intense worry and emotional drain, Victor descends into another world of physical and emotional pain that proceeds to affect the emotional states of his family and friends. Victor's guilt is expressed when he says, "My father's care and attentions were indefatigable; but he did not know the origin of my sufferings" 179; ch. 5; vol. 3. Even when Victor avoids society and is in a state of utter despair, his father refuses to acknowledge that this normal, pleasing-looking, blood-related, and seemingly sane human is indirectly responsible for such horrendous acts of malice. Victor, like his creation, was the victim of hasty opinions regarding the nature of their personal inner countenances. The semi- gothic novel includes several instances of societal prejudice that include the isolation and outcast of Frankenstein's creation, the creature's biased opinion of the cottagers, and the unbalanced and inappropriate classification of Victor. The universal quest for acceptance has led many humans to irrevocable and indecent acts. No one truly desires for their own brethren to lead a life of eternal heartache and hardship, yet we allow it to happen everyday. The simple meaninglessness of a person's appearance can cause isolation no human should have to endure. The flashes of airbrushed and plastic beauty that are copied and pasted on every media outlet in today's information age give usually intelligent and morally-intent human beings short attention spans for anything other than our own selfish well-being. For the small duration of time we do think about anything beside ourselves, we are bombarded with pity cases for the specifically cute and child-victims. In the meantime, the not-so-cute and older victims are left to fend for themselves and most human beings go on pretending the confidant and assertiveness that come with knowledge and modern civilization rule society. Meanwhile, people of all ages, sexes, and races continually binge and purge, starve and isolate themselves, and become depressed or angry. We incessantly turn a blind eye to the superfluous suffering of our brothers and sisters, and even condone the labeling of Victor's benevolent 'child' as 'monster'. Had the image-obsessed society paused for one moment to introspect the personality that they feared, a multitude of lives could have been saved.
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The Unjust Isolation of Frankenstein's Creation and Other Reasons to Never Become a Model: Societal Prejudices in Shelley's Frankenstein A Swiss Proverb once enlightened, "When one shuts one eye, one does not hear everything". Sadly, vision is the primary sense of mankind and often the solitary basis of judgment. Without human's limitations of the shapes, colors and textures of our overall outward appearances, the world would be a place that emphasizes morals, justice and intelligence rather than bravado, cuteness, and sexual attraction. For if there were no predetermined ideal models defining the beautiful possibilities of the human body's variation,...
and older victims are left to fend for themselves and most human beings go on pretending the confidant and assertiveness that come with knowledge and modern civilization rule society. Meanwhile, people of all ages, sexes, and races continually binge and purge, starve and isolate themselves, and become depressed or angry. We incessantly turn a blind eye to the superfluous suffering of our brothers and sisters, and even condone the labeling of Victor's benevolent 'child' as 'monster'. Had the image-obsessed society paused for one moment to introspect the personality that they feared, a multitude of lives could have been saved.
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'...a kind of savagery that... '...a kind of savagery that Jim kept at arm's length...because he didn't want to be infected'. How successfully does Jim avoid infection by 'savagery'? Jim's insight into his father's nature reflects his naive and innocent outlook in the first half of the novel. However, through his life experiences he is exposed to 'savagery' on many levels and on a much greater scale in the chaos of war. His preference to keep a considerable distance between himself and any acknowledgment of the darker side of human nature and the world is undermined by the challenges he is faced with throughout the novel. While in Queensland, Jim does not allow his father's cynicism to intrude upon his untainted existence, and during the war his detachment is a means by which he can effectively avoid infection by 'savagery'. But the 'catastroph[ic]' inhumanity of war and his experiences with Wizzer force Jim to acknowledge the brutality in the world. Jim 'resent[s] the cowardly acceptance of defeat' that characterises his father, and purposefully distances himself from the violence he sees in him. Jim perceives violence as a sickness in individual men, not an innate characteristic of man. Although he does not understand such 'savagery' early in the novel, Jim blames his father for not overcoming the mistreatment he suffered in his youth, and instead imposing it upon Jim. He sees 'nothing in common between his father and himself', and indeed the optimism and enduring fascination at the natural world that epitomizes Jim contrasts markedly with his father's bitter, disillusioned and limited view of the world. His father forecasts for Jim 'a life as flat, save for the occasional down-turn, as his own'. However, Jim's need to deepen his understanding of the world and his place in it inevitably leads him to France, and his father's sentimental and envious farewell makes Jim realise that his decision to go to war marks a defining moment in his life, 'as if a line had been drawn between the past and what was to come, the two parts of his life'. Indeed his departure from Australia marks a turning point in the novel, and heralds Jim's 'fall from innocence'. Jim's existence in the unspoilt security of the sanctuary is juxtaposed against the 'madness' of war to illustrate the way in which 'savagery' is increasingly imposing itself upon Jim and forcing him to broaden his outlook. During the war Jim's newfound friends are senselessly killed or injured, and when visiting Eric, Jim is torn between sympathy for the young victim and his unease at being around him. Jim dislikes facing such a harsh reality, but becomes increasingly immune to the brutality of war as the novel progresses. This is evident in the development of Jim's discussion of his surroundings and their impact upon him. In chapter twelve he conveys at length graphic images of war, whereas in chapter thirteen we become aware that he is no longer afraid of the dead, digging into the earth amongst the corpses. Soon after this we are shown Jim's awareness of the annihilating character of war and violence. Although he is still repelled by such brutality, and has a nightmarish fear that war 'would go on forever', he has now realised that 'he had been living"¦in a state of dangerous innocence...he had been blind'. Stimulated by the way in which violence has become extraordinary, Jim informs us of the death of his younger brother, suggesting his increasing immunity to 'savagery'. However, the forced imposition of the reality of war upon Jim also causes him to greatly expand his world view. This is not limited merely to his surroundings, for it is his encounters with Wizzer that further enhance his understanding of self. Wizzer is significant because of what he reveals to Jim of his own character. Jim becomes aware of his own capacity for 'black anger', and initially admits that he does not wish 'to be confronted with some depth in himself...that frightened him and that he didn't understand'. He hates seeing in himself the violence that he associates with his father. However 'enemies, like friends, told you who you were', and Wizzer serves as an exposing element on Jim's journey to the dark nature of man. Jim is shaken by Wizzer's assumption that they are 'two of a kind', and manages to overcome his cowardice in the face of Wizzer's savagery. 'Some sense of shame...held him back' from succumbing to it, and instead his acknowledgment of his dark side but conscious rejection of it cause him to feel 'delivered into his own hands again, clean and whole'. On an internal level, Jim is successful in avoiding 'infect[ion]', but it is his surroundings and experiences with others and with the events of war that he must deal with in order to face 'savagery' on an external level. The brutality of war has a great impact upon Jim, but he continually attempts to keep this 'at arm's length' by detaching himself from reality. Jim's detachment is evident throughout his time at war, and is highlighted by the juxtaposition of he and Clancy. The contrast between the womanising larrikan and the retiring, retrospective Jim brings out the way in which Jim exists 'in a world of his own, not exactly withdrawn but impenetrably private'. His efforts to avoid the brutality of war are again underlined in his hiding in a shell-hole during an artillery barrage, 'from which, he decided, he would not come out'. Jim detaches himself and is temporarily 'broken' by the 'sense of being alone' in the terrifying face of war, and it is only his confrontation with Wizzer that forces him to continue. Over time Jim's detachment comes to dominate his entire outlook, and nearing his death he is 'almost out of himself' as 'centuries pass'. Indeed the horror of war has become entirely too much for Jim to deal with, and his death is more like a merging with his detachment, allowing it to take over, and for a time we are unsure what is real and what is not. Through his experiences, Jim's perception is immensely expanded. He becomes aware of multiple perspectives, the enduring power of nature, and a darker side to humanity and the world. Although his opinion of 'savagery' never alters significantly, his method in avoidance of it is forced to change, and indeed comes to dominate all else. In Queensland, Jim's father is an isolated source of disruption, and Jim is able to retreat into the peaceful sanctuary in blissful ignorance. But in the hellish world of war, brutality becomes a way of life, and avoidance of 'savagery' becomes more difficult. However, Jim adapts to this, and his detachment becomes a means by which he is able to escape reality and retreat into the fastness of his own mind. In this way he is successful in avoiding savagery, for though he comes to acknowledge it in the world and in himself, he overcomes his dark side and is able to effectively keep external brutality 'at arm's length' by detaching himself from reality.   

'...a kind of savagery that Jim kept at arm's length...because he didn't want to be infected'. How successfully does Jim avoid infection by 'savagery'? Jim's insight into his father's nature reflects his naive and innocent outlook in the first half of the novel. However, through his life experiences he...

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