Though both Karl Marx and Mary Shelley both died more than a century ago their work lives today and will continue to do so well into the future. Though one is a gothic novel and the other is a publication about how the nature of politics, society, and class shape economic systems, both play on two of the strongest human emotions: pity and fear. Both the creature in Frankenstein, and the poor working class in The Communist Manifesto evoke these to primal emotions.  In his Marxist criticism Warren Montag concedes this point, but argues that more than the creature representing the poor, working class proletariat, he represents their unrepresentability.

Pity: As readers we pity the creature because of his extreme solitude. Just like humans, he had no say in his own creation, however he is unlike humans and therefore readers in the fact that he will never be able to join a community because he is the only one of his kind. This is the same pity readers have for the poor working class that Marx describes in his writings. Just like the monster the poor are trying to find a place in a society that was not built their survival. They have been used for economic progress by the elite just as the monster is used for scientific progess by Frankenstein.

Fear: The monster it just that, a monster. He is an uncontrollable other of unimaginable horridness, strength and size. This is another way in which the monster is just like the working class. Just as we fear what the monster will do next, so do we fear the power of the working class when banded together. Both the monster and the proletariat represent an uncontrollable mass of moving parts that has the power to overthrow their creators.

More than both fear and pity however, the creature most closely mirrors the sheer unrepresentability of the proletariat. Both are uniquely alone in their existence and therefore are impossible to fully represent. We struggled as a class to visualize the creature with interpretations that ranged from a veggie tale to a shadow figure. Similarly, if the class were asked to draw the working class many different images would crowd the whiteboard. Overall, I agree with Montag in his assessment that more than representing the working class with the and pity he evokes, the creature represents how the proletariat cannot be represented.

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