When performing a Marxist literary analysis, it is important that basic Marxist concepts are understood. In this particular analysis, Warren Montag focuses on the idea that the emergence of an industrial society necessarily includes the emergence of a small-yet-powerful Bourgeoisie population that controls the capital which the poor and populous Proletariat construct. Montag summarizes the failed attempt of both the English and French revolutions as

“attempts to create social orders based on justice or (especially in the case of the French Revolution) reason that had collapsed into tyranny or chaos. The movements that destroyed (or attempted to destroy) absolutist monarchies were usually led by new elites (the rural or urban bourgeoisie: landowners, merchants, and financiers) whose access to political power was blocked by the old regime” (385).

The tie-in with Frankenstein comes with the comparison of Doctor Frankenstien to the middle-class capitalist, and his creation to the oppressed working-class, just as the monstrous creation of the suffering Proleltariat is the creation of the good intentions of the Bourgeoisie.

Montag’s concluding statement is that the creature is “not so much the sign of the proletariat as of its unrepresentability” (395). How can this be? The connections with the monster and the proletariat seem almost too direct to leave any doubt as to the monster’s immediate representation of this failed working-class system:

“The monster is monstrous by virtue of its being artificial rather than natural; lacking the unity of a natural organism, the monster is a factitious totality assembled from (the parts of) a multitude of different individuals, in particular, the ‘poor,’ the urban mass that, because it is a multitude rather than an individual, is itself as nameless as Frankenstein’s creation. It is also significant that the term creation is used at all to describe the origins of the monster. For the monster is a product rather than a creation, assembled and joined together not so much by man… as by science, technology, and industry” (388).

However, Montag’s closing statement brings to light the recurring theme of paradox involved with the idea that the monster is a direct and complete representation of the proletariat. To begin with this statement, Montag mentions that the monster is a singular being used to represent an entire mass of tortured people. The monster recurrently emphasizes his utter isolation: “I am an unfortunate and deserted creature; I look around, and I have no relation or friend upon earth… I am an outcast in the world for ever” (120). While the monster is alone in his misery, the proletariat represented the majority of the population. The proletariat gains no satisfaction from the ability to share their misery, while the monster only wants a companion with which to share: “Our lives will not be happy, but they will be harmless, and free from the misery I now feel” (129). This supports the idea that the creature is not so much the sign of the proletariat as of its unrepresentability: the feelings of a huge mass of people are condensed into one being who may share some quality of misery with the mass, but is unable to completely represent the complex feelings of an entire group.

Another point that Montag makes also demonstrates the unrepresentability of the proletariat when he states that “these new technologies and industrial systems they made possible were perhaps less disturbing than their effects on the lives of the laboring population” (386). The bourgeoisie population established these new technologies and industrial systems within which the proletariats worked. Thus there are three tiers to the system: the bourgeoisie who create the capital which in turn creates the misery of the proletariat. However, the representation of the bourgeoisie by Frankenstein and the representation of the proletariat by the monster only contains two tiers in which the proletariat are a direct product of the bourgeoisie and the capital that is the direct cause of the “unemployment, falling wages, rising prices for food and other necessities” (386) is left undiscussed. If the monster is a representation of the twisted creation of the bourgeoisie, then would the monster be a better representation of the industry that the bourgeoisie created, rather than the proletariat that the industrial system created? The monster is a large source of misery in Frankenstein just as this capital is a large source of misery for the proletariat. However, the misery that the monster causes is misery for Frankenstein, who represents the bourgeoisie. Do either the industrial capital or the proletariat cause the bourgeoisie trouble? The unrepresentability of the proletariat is once again signified by a confusing and paradoxical display of the monster’s true identity.

There are many instances of these “contradictions, discrepancies, and inconsistencies that the work displays but does not address or attempt to resolve” (390). It is difficult to represent a huge populous mass of suffering people in any instance. The multitude of ambiguities surrounding Frankenstein’s monstrous creation only reinforce the idea that this complex mass of people is unrepresentable.

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