Frankenstein’s monster, a result of scientific innovation, was endowed with life and suddenly found himself in a world of which he knew nothing about. Comparable to the birth of humans, both the monster and infants begin their lives with an empty canvas, as they begin learning from the instant of their introduction to the world. Based on this similarity of comparison, Frankenstein’s monster can represent the most basic form of human existence: because the monster is young and naïve to society, he expresses his basic yet powerful emotions in an uncensored manner. Instead of the monster representing the doom of humanity as a result of technological advancements, the monster can represent humanity itself. The application of Lyotard’s ideas to the emotions of the monster can therefore provide a foundation for explaining why humanity in general experiences unhappiness: ultimately, because of the existence of two separate genders.
In Lyotard’s essay “Can Thought Go On Without A Body?”, the relationship between thoughts and unhappiness is questioned and investigated. According to Lyotard, feelings of abandonment and incompleteness due to gender differences brings about strong forces of desire (Lyotard 22). This spoken desire, to the monster, was that of acceptance, compassion, and companionship from other living beings, as he states the following: “I am an unfortunate and deserted creature; I look around, and I have no relation or friend upon earth…I am full of fears [in being] an outcast in the world forever” (Shelley 136). Seeking to realize his dreams, the monster was only brutally rejected by his beloved De Lacey family and Frankenstein refused to provide a female companion. The monster’s desires grew so strong that, when not fulfilled, a desire for revenge took its place.
The monster's extreme unhappiness and despair grew exponentially, and can be traced back to his thoughts of gender and acceptance. Because he was aware of his gender, and also learned of human relationships formed between opposite sexes, the monster’s misery stemmed from this void in his existence. Here Lyotard’s view can be applied as he states that “Thinking and suffering overlap” (Lyotard 18). Lyotard believes that we think because there is something missing; in the monster’s case, he is missing a companion of the opposite sex.
Perhaps the knowledge of gender differences is not the main source of unhappiness in humanity, but it can certainly be considered the basis of such, as the simple desire for acceptance and companionship causes humans to think, which in turn cause our suffering, and may account for various negative actions in society. When reinterpreting Shelley’s work in such a way, it can be concluded that had Frankenstein created a genderless monster, he would not have felt such unhappiness and despair. Similarly, should humans remove focus from gender differences in society, we would not be consumed with thoughts of fulfillment, and much of our current unhappiness would become absent.