Frankenstein’s is a story about Victor Frankenstein’s life story, who as a young Swiss boy grows up in Geneva. This novel written by Mary Shelley starts by Victor giving his narrative, by telling about his childhood. Born into a wealthy family in Geneva, he is devoted to search for a greater understanding of the universe around the world through science. When growing up in Geneva, he was fascinated with reading the works, and outdated alchemists from which he learns about modern science. His knowledge made him to be interested in with the secret of life, which he discovers and brings a hideous monster to life
Role of Mother in Frankenstein
The role of mother in Frankenstein represents a notable number of them as either dead, absent, or just acting as substitute mothers. The characters in the story endure suffering as a result of the absence of the motherly figures in their lives. The novel’s main theme lays in the dilemma of living a life without a mother to guide and nurture the young ones, therefore, the main question the novel is asking is about where the mother is, as the common denominator of most of the characters, apart from the monster.
The main aim of creating the monster was to fill the gap the absence of real motherly attachments created, while on the hand, the mothers’ role is supposed to being the one who nurtures, as well as taking the role of Mother Nature, which is absent in the Frankenstein characters. Even though the monster was created as a representation of the motherly figure, he was compassionate and very sensitive to humans, but was always rejected, and at the same time had the characters that are untoward to good motherliness. The monster has an extremely remarkable sense of sensitivity and benevolence, as he reached out to assist a group of farmers in saving a girl who was drowning. He is dejected by the crowd and received beatings and disgust, because off his outward repelling appearance. Being divided between compassion and vengefulness, the monster turns up to be so lonely and tormented by remorse, such as even the death of Victor its creator offers him both relief and joy. The death brought him joy because Victor had brought him a lot of suffering, and distress because; it was only his creator that he could relate with.
The significance of the absence of the motherly figure is like a tale, in which a man tries to have a child without a woman, or on the other hand it can also be interpreted as , an account of a woman’s anxieties together with insecurities over her own reproductive and creative capabilities. The love of a mother should be extremely important in the moral development of a person
The Frankenstein story revolves around motherless children, and nearly every character has to contend with coming to terms with the non existence motherly figures. The virtual absence of strong women as models to the children is reflected upon the main character mother’s death which occurred while he went to attend to his studies at the University of Ingolstadt. Victor’s friend and fiancée, Elizabeth is also orphaned from her mothers death during child birth. Justine, the nurse maid of the main character’s brother, William Frankenstein is also wrongfully executed for William’s death. Elizabeth had taken herself from the world on the attainment of her marriage, and she was too adopted by the Frankenstein family without a mother.
The monster as well is motherless; having been created by Victor in his male pride took the both roles of mother and father. The monster witnesses what femininity promises through peeking through a hole in the hovel, but it is also evident that that DeLacey family is absent from the story. It also comes clear that the monster yearns for a female companion, which he demands from his creator to make him one.
The families of the characters in the novel are a very important structure in the novel, and the primary reason why the monster was created lies in the Frankenstein family. Either these families are dysfunctional or incomplete, and more specifically, the Frankenstein family was missing a female role. However, the Frankenstein family had no motherly figure, they had Elizabeth, and it seems the monster was created to fill this void that existed in the \Frankenstein family.
Elizabeth was expected to fill the gap that existed in the family, especially when Victor’s mother said in her death bed that “Elizabeth, my love, you must supply my place to my younger children. Alas! I regret that I am taken from you; and, happy band beloved as I have been, is it not hard… a hope of meeting you in another world.” The novel shows that a mother is impossible to replace, as although, she replaces the role of the mother, it seems that there is still a family member missing. Therefore, a step mother cannot replace the original mother, nor can a mother be bought.
De Lacey’s family in which the monster stumbles upon, and learns all the basics of living and surviving, is also incomplete because of the missing mother component in the family. Though, both the Frankenstein and the De Lacey families have motherly substitutes, as Agatha plays the female role in the DeLacey family, in which Felix her brother always take care of her.
The Motherless Monster
The monster, which is Frankenstein circumvention of hetero sexual creation, is a typical case of a motherless creation. The absence of the mother figure for the monster is not a case of her death, but of its creator’s denial of the maternal principle. Taking into account the facts of nature, in connection with the scientific and poetic discourse, nature is feminized and characterized as a motherly figure. This illustrates Victor’s transgression against the sexual reproduction process, and the unnatural action of creating the monster, which can be referred to as an action that is anti maternal.
After Victor had animated the monster, he rushed and escaped away from the laboratory, and went to hide in his bed room where he fell asleep in which he encountered a disturbing dream. He dreamt that he met Elizabeth in the street, and embraced her in which she transformed into the decomposing body of his late mother. When he finally woke up from the dream, the first thing he saw was the monster, and therefore, death, sex, and the monster are linked into one image. The Frankenstein story establishes a vivid link between the monster creator’s avoidance of sexuality, which is demonstrated in his own relationships, as well as, his urge and desire to reject and erase the memory of his mother.
Frankenstein’s mother is a motherly figure who does not conspicuously physically exist in the plot of the novel, which demonstrates and portrays the hollowness within Victor. The critical aspect of the motherly absence in Victor’s life compelled him with the obsession of creating the monster, which also appeared to victor in the dream as a sexual being in the form of Elizabeth, and therefore, the illustrations inside the Frankenstein story, and the clear long lasting memories of Victor’s mother relates to his desire, and lust for the motherly attributes that he not able to attain or achieve because she is already dead.
The role of mother as an absence in the Frankenstein story is clearly illustrated by lack of motherly role models for most of the characters in the plot. The behaviors of the characters depict a sense of missing the nurturing responsibilities of mothers which include attributes such as the nostalgic behavior found in Victor. The suffering they endure as orphans is demonstrated by their frustration in missing the essentials of motherly love and care such as warmth, empathy, tenderness, and insight. Therefore, the connection between the absent motherly figure in the life of Victor, as well as the lack of motherly adoration and nurturing could have propelled him to create the monster, but still ended up a failed mother to the monster, and his bizarre creation did not replace or fill the gap created by deficiencies in maternal qualities in his life.
Mary Shelley, The Journals of Mary Shelley, 1814-1844, eds. Paula R. Feldman and Diana Scott-Kilvert, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1997) 1: 245.