Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Blog 2: Prompt 2

Rhetoric, Lies and Contradictions in Frankenstein

As most human beings want to be loved, and cared for, so does the monster. This companionship, and love that the monster sees amongst the Delacey family, ultimately leads him to realize that most people in this world have people they love, and who also in turn love them back. In his time spent observing the family, he begins to realize the difference between himself and them. He has no one who loves him, and the one person; his creator Victor whom he has the greatest chance of loving does not reciprocate this feeling. In his time at the Delacey’s he also discovers some books in a leather portmanteau, which serve as his teacher, and his learning tools of the way human beings work. Just as we had Dr. Seuss, he had books such as: Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Lives, and The Sorrows of Werter. From these books once again the saddest part about himself are realized “ I was dependent on none and related to none.”  From the book Paradise Lost he realizes that he is far different from the first creature on earth, Adam created by God. Unlike himself, Adam had come from a creator who was happy with his creation, and guarded it with his special care. But in his case, his creator Victor had created him, and tossed him aside out of fear and dissatisfaction with his creation. He states, “God in pity made man beautiful and alluring… but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from your very resemblance”. This and many other realizations are part of the things that add to the monsters disdain for Victor, he says “ When I viewed the bliss of my protectors, the bitter gall of envy rose within me”. This envy eventually leads him to his want for a female companion from Victor.
The monster begins to make his argument for a companion starting in Chapter 15, where he parallels himself to Satan, “Satan had his companions, to admire and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred” he says. His want of a companion tugs on my heartstrings, because as a human being, I understand the want of every being to be loved and to have a companion. As the monster details his heart-tugging story of loneliness to Victor, he also confesses to the murder of William, which he claims was committed out of anger towards his creator Victor and the rejection that he felt from the Delacey’s and the world. It is while he is committing the murder of William, that his need for a female companion once again arises. After seeing the picture of the beautiful Caroline Beaufort, he says, “ I remembered that I was forever deprived of the delights that such beautiful creatures could bestow”.  It is with all this in his arsenal that he takes his argument for a female companion to Victor. He realized that as a creature, the only one that can free him of his loneliness and misery is his creator. He goes ahead trying to convince Victor by playing on his conscience and blaming the deaths of Justine and William on him. He states that his maliciousness is because he is miserable. At the response of no from Victor is where the tone in his argument changes.
Through the previous chapters, the monsters plea for companionship had been all based on the feeling of loneliness, he felt when he watched everyone else around him happy. With Victor’s refusal however, he looses his calm and resorts to threats. He says “ I will revenge my injuries; if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear”. However, after wearing Victor down with his story, Victor feels indebted to him as his maker, he says “ Did I not as his maker owe him all the portion of happiness that it was in my power to bestow?” Victor’s agreement to give him a female companion is met with complete elation from the monster.
However the thoughts that go through Victor as he begins work on what was supposed to be his second creation is overwhelming and he decides to stop. His decision to stop creation is not missed by the monster, which had been marking his progress. As the monster watches Victor destroy the creature whom his future happiness depends on he says “I have endured fatigue, and hunger; do you dare destroy my hope?”  With the realization the he was not going to get a female companion a new form of anger unlike before seen in the previous chapters is witnessed. While through the rest of the book he had held Victor as a higher being to himself. He instead resorts to threats he says “But I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you”. He even goes on to call himself master over Victor, he says “ You are my creator, but I am your master; obey!” This is where the change is his argument is essentially noticed. He goes from asking nicely and playing on the guilt that Victor had as his maker, to resorting to anger. He essentially looses himself in his anger; he says “ Are you to be happy while I grovel in the intensity of my wretchedness?” With this he leaves but not before swearing to enact his revenge on Victor. As a reader this threat ultimately means death in some form.

The change in the tone of the monsters argument for a companion can be partly blamed on Victor. He plays the monster already fragile emotions. First by showing him no care or love as a creator should and then leaving him destitute and lonely. Then he raises his hope with the promise of a companion, but once again he fails in his duty as a maker. Once again the old feeling of envy, anger and jealousy in the seemingly happy life that Victor possesses pushes the monster to his breaking point.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Your focus on the monster's isolation and the process by which he comes to understand and even obsess about it is good. The paragraph arguably should be two paragraphs, with the introductory paragraph clarifying what your ultimate argument is, and the second paragraph beginning to accumulate evidence for that point. This is a promising start, but its own rhetoric, because of the questionable structure, isn't quite as effective as it could be.

Generally your use of the text, and your explanation of how things change through the course of it is effective. However, your argument about the monster's argument isn't quite clear to me. Are you arguing that his argument changes in tone, or in substance, or that effectively he abandons his argument? You do effectively show that the monster shifts from being concerned (my terms, not yours, but I think you'd agree) with *rights* to being concerned with force, or power. This is good up to a point, but ideally I'd like to see (and in a revision I'd need to see) what you ultimately think it means that the monster has made this shift.

Example: you might argue that monster's shift is much like the shift that we might see within political movements (e.g., the French Revolution) as they turn toward violence. Or you might argue that it's related to Victor or Walton's understanding of nature. Or maybe you'd argue something completely different. What I'd want to see, in any case, isn't just an observation about what changes in the monster's rhetoric and attitude, but what that change means.