The more that I discovered about critical race theories, specifically Gloria Anzaldúa’s ideas on “new mestizos” and her work “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, the clearer it became as to why the creature in Shelley’s “Frankenstein” insisted on making sure his truth and tale were heard and sharing Safie’s letters with his creator. In “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” Anzaldúa argues for “the ways in which identity is intertwined with the way we speak and for the ways people can be made to feel ashamed of their own tongues.” (1) The idea she introduces of “new mestizo” revolves around people who inhabit multiple worlds due to gender, ethnicity, body, and/or other life experiences. She believes that tongue, or language, is extremely important when it comes to asserting one’s place in society and the way we function within it. When we learn language it allows us to enter into a new world along with other worlds we might already exist among. Gloria states in “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, “A language which they can connect their identity to, one capable of communicating the realities and values true to themselves” (4). With this, I believe she argues that language is a thread people have that ties them to their identity – because after all, it is what allows us to express our thoughts, worries, and problems with other people. She later states, “Now that we had a name, some of the fragmented pieces began to fall together – who we were, what we were, how we had evolved.” She says that due to her established language, and her understanding of it and her use of it to communicate, she was finally able to understand herself and her place in the world. I think this is highly important if we connect these same ideas to the creature in Shelley’s “Frankenstein”.

In “Frankenstein”, the creature is abandoned by his creator and becomes aware of his inability to understand the language of the society he was forced to inhabit and recognizes his inability to communicate with those around him in order to explain himself and his situation – this inability then leads him to get beaten and attacked by the villagers who find him. That instance is what drives the creature to eventually have the urge to become educated and dominant of the language he so desperately needed to understand if he wanted to function within society. With this, I was able to conclude that due to the creature’s inability to comprehend language he had no set identity and he was incapable of affirming a solid place in his society because he yet had no way to express himself, his thoughts, or what had driven/gotten him to that point he was in. The creature was aware of how important language was going to be for him if he wanted to exist among the current society and we see it when he says, “I ought not to make the attempt until I had first become master of their language; which knowledge might enable me to make them overlook the deformity of my figure” (104). He refused to approach the villagers he admired before he mastered their language because he believed that by mastering it beforehand, they would look past his deformity because he would have the ability to explain himself and have a way to roam society and communicate. This is important to why he insisted on being heard – he was finally able to master the very thing that prevented him from being a complete member of society. He had now become a part of what Gloria would call “new mestizo” because he was entering a new world he wasn’t a part of before. So when he was finally able to learn the language, he wanted to make sure he used it to explain himself and communicate. He used Safie’s letters in order for Victor to see his situation in a different light and perspective considering he and Safie had experienced the same type of isolation due to language barriers. Overall, i believe we can see Gloria’s theory of “new mestizo” within Victor Frankenstein’s creation because once he moves past the language barrier, he inhabits multiple worlds within society as it allows him to become a member of it, finally.

-Beverly Miranda