Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley\'s Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus is a true classic, one
which has passed the test of time. The story of

Frankenstein has been told and retold, generation after generation. Not only
is the story line itself intriguing but the story has

many underlying themes that invoke thought and controversy. Depending upon
your individual perspective one might see the

underlying theme as a warning to the scientific community to question the
morality of their scientific advancements in light of the

betterment of mankind and society as a whole. Another reader, might view the
underlying theme as referring to interpersonal

relationships between men and women. From my own perspective as a parent and
mother of two children, I perceive the most

prevalent underlying theme to be that of parenting. This novel illustrates
and confronts many issues involving the dynamics of

parent-child relationships. Such as child abandonment, child neglect, the
dangers of spoiling your child, and their resulting

influences on the child\'s emotional and psychological development.

Mary Shelley\'s Frankenstein clearly demonstrates the importance of attachment
and bonding between the mother and the

child for normal childhood development.. Shelley does this by identifying the
negative effects of depriving a child of a nurturing

mother. Without mothering a child\'s capacity to trust others and commit to
loving relationships diminishes resulting in social

isolation later in life. More important, the lack of a loving education
deprives a child of developing a clear and comprehensive

understanding of human morality. A child that does not possess an adequate
moral understanding often dissociates themselves

from their feeling of anger and guilt resulting in unrepentive violence. This
is validated in the story by the demon\'s inability to

form any type of loving relationship and the demon\'s subsequent moral
failings resulting in violent outburst which legitimizes

societies condemnation of the demon as a social outcast. Thus, Mary Shelley
suggest that a rejected and unmothered child can

become violent and even a killer, a monster so to speak.

The Monster is not the only character in Frankenstein to find themselves
motherless. There is a conspicuous absence of

mothers throughout the book. Victor\'s best friend, Henry Clerval, is
motherless and spends most of his formidable years

reared by the Frankenstein household as Henry\'s father had little time for
him. Victor\'s mother, Caroline who is herself

orphaned, dies a few months before he goes away to study at the university in
Ingolstadt. Elizabeth, Victor\'s fiancÚ, is adopted

by the Frankenstein family after she is orphaned due the death of her mother.
William Frankenstein\'s nursemaid, Justine, is not

only wrongfully executed, but is not even introduced into the Frankenstein
household until after her mother abuses and neglects

her and abandons her to Elizabeth\'s good graces. Even the DeLacey family that
the Monster spends two years observing

through the peek hole of his hovel is motherless. Many of the characters are
lacking a mothers love and guidance as part of

their own childhood environment. Consequently, they maybe lacking the
experiences in life that implant good parenting skills.

Such is the case with Caroline who passed on a mother\'s love the only way she
knew how. Ignorant of any harm she maybe

bestowing on her children.

Child abuse is not always as blatant as the nose on your face or as scornful
or intentional as out right physical abuse or child

abandonment. As Shelley corroborates in the case of Victor. As a child,
Victor was overly indulged and spoiled, which in

itself is a form of child neglect. Victor\'s parent showered him with love and
affection but did not set limits as to acceptable

behavior. As a result Victor grew into an manipulative self-centered adult
who was incapable of accepting responsibility for

his own actions and showed little or no concern for others. The disastrous
effects of spoiling Victor became obvious when he

could not control his impulse to meddle with the creation of life. Victor was
so overwhelmed with fulfilling his own personnel

ambitions and his childhood experiences were so lacking that he never
considered that there is a difference between wanting

and needing. As a result, Victor was so consumed with whether or not he could
create life he never stopped to consider the

consequences of his experiments.

In Victors rush to create life he did not give any deliberation as to the
quality of life he would be bestowing upon his

creation. Frankenstein\'s reckless disregard for the power he was wielding is
manifested in the outward appearance of his

creation. From the onset the monsters hideous body sickened Victor. As a
scientist or a father, Victor never prepared himself

to face the repugnant embodiment of his creation. Victor did not consider how
his creation would fit into society