Mother child relationship in frankenstein

Claridge, "Parent-Child Tensions in Frankenstein"

mother child relationship in frankenstein

Parents have a responsibility to give their children a loving and nurturing then abandoned and neglected his duties as the monster's 'parent'. A chief way Mary Shelley shows the parent-child relationship in Frankenstein is first through Victor's loving parents, who bestow affection and every kindness on . Struggling with themes such as Family in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein? We've got Victor's mother's death is the impetus for his creating the monster. Because.

In such a way, Mary Shelley reveals a profound psychological trauma, which the creature-son has suffered from Frankenstein-father. The son cannot recover after such trauma and suffers all his life. He is thinking over and over again what is wrong with him and why his father has abandoned him. In such a situation, Frankenstein being appalled with his creation avoids responsibility as the father. Instead of taking care of his creature, he escapes shortly after his creature is revived.

Such negligent behavior is absolutely unacceptable for the father because it causes severe sufferings of the son and makes him inferior to the rest of the society. Victor created his creature with pleasure because he felt as if he was playing God and the life of a lifeless body is in his hand and power Lew, However, as he gave life to the piece of clay, he realized that he did not really want that creature which was his son anyway.

mother child relationship in frankenstein

Obviously, his escape proves the unwillingness of the father to communicate with his son. Throughout the novel the miscommunication between the father and the son is obvious.

The father just escapes from his son, while the son pursues his father. But they are not a pray and a hunter. Instead the father is shocked and just does not know what to do, while the son is just want to be with his father and to learn from his father. What the son wants is just a piece of parental love, which the father is not willing to give.

On the other hand, Victor Frankenstein turns out to be the only person in the world, who was close in a way to the creature Rauch, This is why the death of Frankenstein meant the lost of last hope and the eternal solitude of the monster: I shall no longer see the sun or stars, or feel the wind play on my cheeks.

The son lost his father, even though they had never been really close to each other but still the son had the image of the father, who could love him and whom he could love in response. Instead, he pursued his father to death that probably provoked new complications in the unbearable psychological condition of the creature. He felt being responsible for the death of his father, who was actually the only person in the world he was somehow related to.

Thus, Frankenstein by Marry Shelley reveals the complexity of father-son relationships. On the one hand, the author creates the image of a negligent father, who is unprepared for his fatherhood.

As soon as he realizes that he gave birth to the new life, he escapes in panic and terror. On the other hand, the author depicts the son, who was born innocent in a hostile world, where he had got no one to raise him up and to support him.

He pursued his father to understand why he escaped him and eventually, the lack of parental support makes the son willing to murder his father. However, the death of the father makes the life of the son even worse as he had lost the last straw that could have connected him to the world of people.

It is a scene which recalls the rescue of Victor's mother herself from poverty, following her father's death in Lucerne, and underscores one of the assumptions of literature which Mary Shelley faces in her novel: This notion that physical features are indicators of internal qualities is a pervasive element in Frankenstein and its ancestors, and relevant to the discussion of judgmentality, as it provides one of the customary bases for rejection or acceptance.

Greek mythology, the foundation of the Prometheus myth, is rife with characters such as Pan and Medusa, whose grotesque bodies accommodate equally grotesque natures. However, in Frankenstein's most influential precursor, Paradise Lost, Milton reverses the traditional mirroring of internal and external ugliness.

Northrop Frye has suggested that the romantic era may be typified by a reversal of the traditional distinction between Augustine's angelic heights and Dante's hellish depths ; heights and airy creatures become sources of misery, while caverns and caves become sources of solace.

Prometheus Unbound, or Blake's Urizen, with their sky-dwelling tyrants and cavern-born saviors provide perfect examples of this reversal.

mother child relationship in frankenstein

In Frankenstein, as in Paradise Lost, there is not necessarily a direct correspondence between external and internal beauty - in the case of Milton's Satan, quite the reverse is true. Therefore, while Mary is striking a familiar chord in her readers with Victor's protestations of his monster's hideousness, she is also aware that there is room for, even a necessity for, re-interpretation of this traditional device.

In short, Mary is denying her protagonist's primary excuse for his behavior: By dividing the child-figures in the novel and, as much as possible, those in Mary's life into inner and outer aspects, we may begin to see some of Mary's purpose in her presentation of child-parent relationships. The easiest case to examine with this model is that in which the exterior and the interior follow the traditional pattern of direct correlation. Elizabeth is both physically and spiritually beautiful, and as we have seen, Mary Shelley takes care to stress the association between these two aspects: However, there is some suggestion, even in this most traditional of cases, that the association between inner and outer beauty is more a function of the viewer's expectations and needs than a quality inherent in Elizabeth herself.

When Victor aborts his plans to create a bride for the monster, the creature revenges itself upon Henry Clerval. When the stricken scientist returns to Geneva for his marriage to Elizabeth, he describes her in terms completely unlike those in which she has heretofore been portrayed: The sweet girl welcomed me with warm affection, yet tears were in her eyes as she beheld my emaciated frame and feverish cheeks.

I saw a change in her also. She was thinner and had lost much of that heavenly vivacity that had before charmed me; but her gentleness and soft looks of compassion made her a more fit companion for one blasted and miserable as I was. It is significant that Victor finds the cause of Elizabeth's morbidity in his own emotions, rather than seeing it as her own reaction to Clerval's death. As much as Godwin may have projected his own desires for a successor onto his daughter, Elizabeth is molded by Victor's need for a perfect companion to complement his own moods.

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In a way, Victor has already become Elizabeth's surrogate parent, in his possessive, protective position towards her, a role which we can only assume would become even more apparent with the consummation of their marriage, with all its patriarchal associations of the husband as his wife's protector and supervisor. His application of the pathetic fallacy stresses his own over-internalization of the world around him, but also calls all judgmentality into question - particularly the judgmentality applied by parents to their children, and what this may reveal about parental motivations, rather than children's shortcomings.

The reader is already aware that, as a parent figure, Victor leaves much to be desired. His abandonment of his creation is, he protests, a result of his extreme horror at the creature's physical form: Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room However, he has also asserted that while composing his creature, he had "selected his features as beautiful" ; only after the creation is complete, is he able to recognize the monstrosity of his creation. As with so much that Victor asserts, the reader must try to see past a screen of Victor's own preconceptions - the monster offers no violence, and, in fact, slips quietly off somewhere, presumably to die.

Only later cruelties, we discover, serve to fashion a monstrous interior to match the hideous exterior of the creature, whose beginnings are positively pastoral. The only excuses we can make for Victor's abandonment of his 'child' are the same short-sighted ones which must be offered for the death of the innocent Justine in the next chapter: By the time the creature does decide to live up to its fearsome exterior, the reader is in a position to doubt any assessment made by Victor, or any other authority, as to the validity of judging another creature.

For example, all of the adults concerned protest loudly about the innocence of the child William, and the disastrous unfairness of his death - yet they are willing to see Justine committed to death without raising more than a few token protestations.

William himself, furthermore, is not the innocent and angelic creature we have been led to expect. Rather, upon encountering the monster for the first time, his reactions mirror those of his brother Victor: You wish to eat me and tear me to pieces. You are an ogre.

Let me go or I will tell my papa. My papa is a syndic - he is M. Frankenstein - he will punish you. You dare not keep me. If not justified in his murder, the monster at least confirms what Mary Shelley maintains throughout the novel: Since Mary Shelley has pointed out that traditional methods of judging characters in literature, such as external appearance and social status, are unreliable, we must begin to question on what basis all of the child characters in this novel are being judged, and why.

There is a consistent pattern of judgment, condemnation and subsequent rejection or destruction which parents direct against their children: Henry's father's denial of his son's education, the elder Frankenstein's summary condemnation of Justine, who lives as a child under his protection, and, of course, Victor's denial and rejection of his creation. As mentioned before, some critics see this pattern of parental judgmentality as Mary's reply to the condemnations of her own father.

While it is certainly probable that Mary identified with the creature's fate, the pattern seems too pervasive to be explained solely in such personal terms.

It is also possible to argue that this removal of children from their parents sphere, whether through rejection or through death, may have been Mary's way of dealing with the death of her own children, and her subsequent fears for her later children. The most telling argument for this position is the fact that, at the time of the composition of Frankenstein, Mary's own son William was undergoing a difficult infancy.

The notion that she could have introduced a child character with the same name as her own son and then had him savagely murdered without some measure of self-torture or misgiving is ridiculous Knoepflmacher, However, while Mary may indeed have been fearfully anticipating the death of her own child in this scene, such an interpretation does not account for the repeated theme of judgment and condemnation which surrounds William's death.

Not only does William denounce the monster for his ugliness, but the monster then returns the favor, condemning William to death on the basis of his relationship with Victor, which leads to the trial and unjust death of Justine.

While the incident must have held particularly personal resonance for Mary Shelley and her fears for her child, it seems most significant in its relationship to the broader themes of the novel.

Mother and Child Attachment in Frankenstein - words | Study Guides and Book Summaries

However, while children may be at the mercy of their parents, the reverse is also often true - there are many instances where the child figure holds the power of life and death over their parents' heads.

It has already been mentioned that Mary's mother died in childbirth, for which Mary might have felt some responsibility. In similar circumstances, the young Elizabeth Lavenza is responsible for the death of her adopted mother when she lies sick with scarlet fever.

Unwilling to stand off while the child recuperates, Caroline rushes to the child's bedside and contracts the illness which kills her The young Elizabeth is abjured to take Caroline's place regarding the younger children, usurping the parental role - a substitution which is underscored by Victor's dream, in which he sees Elizabeth transformed into the image of his dead mother.

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The power which children hold over their parents is not always so negatively portrayed, however: Nor are the children in the novel unaware of the power they can wield over their parents. The monster, for instance, is quite well aware of the fact that the traditional hierarchy of parent and child has been reversed: Remember that I have power; you believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you.

You are my creator, but I am your master; obey! Godwin was often financially embarrassed, and relied upon support from Percy and Mary, even as he condemned them for their lifestyle. Muriel Spark points out that Percy and Godwin were merely bringing into effect a social and economic plan of which they both approved, in which the son of the wealthy squire Sir Timothy supported the works of the statesman and essayist Godwin ; a relationship between a patron and his supported artist, rather than between a man and his father-in-law Spark, 9, It is unknown whether Mary believed in the actualization of this system, however, and based on letters in which she repeatedly lamented Godwin's effect upon the young couple's rather weak finances, it seems unlikely she could have approved.

This seems to imply that Mary had a rather dim view of parent-child relationships, which so often in her novel, as in her life, are predicated upon antagonistic power struggles. However, she was also aware that children are introduced to their most positive relationships through their parents. Victor and Clerval are introduced to the angelic Elizabeth through the agency of Mrs. Frankenstein, and Victor often notes her salubrious effect upon himself and his comrade.

As has been noted, Victor interprets this introduction to Elizabeth as a preset made to himself, and his eventual intention to wed her provides the culmination of this idyll. The monster is similarly dependent upon his parental figure for a mate: This you alone can do, and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse to concede. The creature is not asking for a reconciliation with his creator, instead promising to flee into the wilderness if this wish is granted.

The monster has, in effect, gone beyond the need for parental affection, having rejected those bonds with the murder of William. Yet he still relies upon his unreliable father for anything like romantic fulfillment, and Victor agrees that it is 'within his power' to bestow that fulfillment.

This dependence upon the parental figure for romantic fulfillment may also be said to be true of Mary's relationship with Percy, since she was introduced to the poet through his association with her father. Like Victor being chastised for reading Cornelius Agrippa, Mary may have perversely found the censure of her father to actually be a spur for her actions. It is the denial of these introductions to mature relationships which is destructive to the parent.

Victor's creation is furious when he is denied his bride, and swears that if his wish is not satisfied, Victor will be destroyed Mary was not able, and perhaps not willing, to destroy Godwin for his condemnation of her relationship with Percy in so direct a fashion, but she was responsible for something which he actually may have feared far worse: The monster takes his revenge by inserting himself into Victor's most private relationship, the marriage bed, claiming "I shall be with you on your wedding night" - in effect, taking from Victor that which the creature himself desires, a mate.

Mary's revenge was to insert herself into Godwin's public existence, creating the scandal he always sought to avoid. In a way, Frankenstein is a story of parental 'empty nest' syndrome ; and an argument for parental release of their children's affections.

It would be reading too much into the text to assume that this latter message is directed explicitly at William Godwin - but it is not too much to assume that this is part of the intent. Godwin is reported as having 'doted' upon his daughter, and his letters certainly indicate that he held her in a higher regard than any of his other children. This is also in some ways a reinforcement of the idea that children come to their ideas of love and relationships through their parents: The Frankensteins allow Victor and Elizabeth to develop and mature at their own pace, sending Victor off to college when he chooses to go, and their relationship Victor and Elizabeth's is consequently positive, or at least positive within the traditional strictures of nineteenth-century marriages, however short-lived.

The monster, by contrast is provided with no positive 'role-model' for his relationships with others, and consequently, against his own best efforts, develops into a beast Moers, Years before the connection would be made in the popular consciousness, Mary Shelley is pointing out that the children of child-abusers become themselves child-abusers The perfect child development story in Mary Shelley's view is one of repetitive cycles, in which parents assist their child in development, then progressively release their authority as the child develops external bonds and relationships to replace those of the parents.

The most positive family group in the novel is the De Lacey's, with its elder generation passively supported by younger generations which have taken over the active, productive, and providing roles. Older generations provide wisdom and guidance without interference in the relationships of their children. For Mary Shelley, who had so much difficulty with her own childhood, and so much disappointment in the deaths of her own children, the conception of herself passing on her role to a new generation must have seemed ideal.

In this light, Frankenstein displays not so much the revolutionary aesthetic of Percy Shelley, typified by the destruction of parental authority figures in Prometheus Unbound, as the evolutionary aesthetic of an idealistic young mother-to-be, who wants nothing more than for the natural cycle to be consummated.