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While reading Warren Montags “The ‘Workshop of Filthy Creation”: A Marxist Reading of Frankenstein, I struggled to understand where the issue was. I have come to the conclusion that there is not an issue, but issues are created. Social hierarchy has always been a constructed problem, and Montag continues to build with this essay. Montag finally says the creature is “not so much the sign of the proletariat as of its unrepresentability” (480). I feel like there are many ways to go about interpreting this, but ultimately I agree with him.

What Montag actually does is what we are supposed to do: a close reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. He focuses on what is missing from the next, which for him is the fact that this whole story takes place during the French Revolution. At first I was speculative of this claim; I wanted to believe Frankenstein was happening in a slightly futuristic dystopian world created in Mary Shelley’s mind. However when he presented his evidence it seemed to make perfect sense to me. Never again does this happen.

Throughout the novel, the creature struggles greatly with himself and society, trying to fit in but ultimately being underrepresented and misunderstood. He is of a lower class, truly one of a kind, and can not associate his feelings with anyone else. He literally says, “I look around, and I have no relation or friend upon earth. These amiable people to whom I go have never seen me, and know little of me. I am full of fears; for if I fail there, I am an outcast in the world forever” (119). However Victor is quite similar. Victor has a passion for science and discovery that not many others have, and he is quite misunderstood himself. He is an overly emotional disturbed man who feels like no one else can understand him. The one difference is his social standing. He comes from a large wealthy family who wish the best for him and live a pleasant, comfortable life. So then Victor Frankenstein is a bourgeois, as Montag says.

What really confuses this idea of proletariat versus bourgeois is who has the power. The creature is obviously physically stronger than Victor, but Victor is the one who created the being. He calls the creature a slave. There is a push and pull, a back and forth tugging at power in the novel that ultimately goes unresolved. The creature has the power to take away the lives of those who Frankenstein cares for. It is almost like a trade. Victor cursed the creature with poverty and loneliness by giving him life, and the creature is now going to do the same by taking away the most valuable parts of Frankenstein’s life. There is this extreme paradox that either character could be the one who controls the other. So while the creature does fit into the proletariat mold, he also fits into one of power, strength, and understanding, leaving him ultimately unrepresented.

Written by Mahea LaRosa