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Nature vs. Nurture in Frankenstein

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Maddie Smith

on 16 January 2013

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Transcript of Nature vs. Nurture in Frankenstein

Nature vs. Nurture in Frankenstein In the novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley addresses the conflict of nature vs. nurture: is a child the product of his/her natural genetic material or the nurture he/she receives from his/her parents' upbringing? The nature vs. nurture debate is a longstanding controversy about the effects of biology and social systems on individuals and behavior. The “nature” side of the debate argues that people are shaped primarily by genetics and biology. The “nurture” side argues that our participation in social life is the most important determinant of who we are and how we behave. So what is Nature vs. Nurture? Victor Frankenstein, the creator, creates his monster through highly unnatural circumstances. The 'child', if the reader would call it that, is not created as a result of natural birth, but rather from a scientific endeavor. Shelley questions the moral and very immoral decisions that Victor makes, and portrays that as a result of his meddling with nature and nurture, it ends in tragedy with Frankenstein losing his family members and close friends, and the monster losing the one thing is longed for love from, his creator. How is it presented in the Novel? Victor vs. Nature and Nurture Frankenstein originally had a passion to be able to save humanity by advancing in his scientific endeavors, and after being engaged, heart and soul, in one persist, once his creation had finally come to life, he could only soak in his glory and power of being a creator rather than a parental figure, lacking empathy entirely for his 'child'. This is all to do with his scientifically minded nature, which could not have been acquired from his parents.The reader can see this because when he talks about his life and childhood, he only describes it to be a happy one, where he was loved and nurtured and brought up, not necessarily in the right way, but in a way that couldn't have possibly been his parent's affection that made him to be like this. Creature vs. Nature and Nurture The creature escaped Victors powers and headed out into the world to fend for himself, learning the language and trying to mimic social behaviour as an outsider, but the insiders didn't except him due to his hideous features, and the fact that he was never taught how to act around humanity, leaving him excluded by not only his creator but everyone else too. Some interpretations of the book make Victor seem as if his nurture and childhood turned him into this obsessive creature. After been 'given' Elizabeth, it taught him that women are an object, possibly spurring this inevitable feeling to create something that could be 'just his'. Some would argue that maybe this is all he thought about, and did not see past this to the nurture of his own 'child'. Or could it? It is obvious that perhaps if the creature would have been cared for in a normal way, to make his very un-normal birth seem a tiny bit more natural, he would not have committed the crimes that he did. This isolation could have lead him to commit the devastating acts, some may argue that he does not know any better? If he had been taught normal human behaviour then would he still have done this to Victor? In today's society, we can see that adults that were, perhaps not nurtured and brought up in the way that they should have been, take a more rebellious root in their life, and this can more often than not be the root cause of behaviour, as we can see in the novel. So why is nature and nurture so important?
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