Tania De Lira-Miranda

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Though it may not seem like it at first glance, Frankenstein in a novel in which the theme of (im)migrants plays an important, yet small, role. Though the DeLacey Family, which consists of Agatha, Felix, and Mr. DeLacey, and Safie only appear in the novel for a few chapters, the characters leave a profound impact on the creature.

It is by watching the DeLacey Family that the creature comes to learn about a lot of things. It learns about class, “a considerable period elapsed before I discovered one of the causes of the uneasiness of this amiable family; it was poverty: and they suffered that evil in a very distressing degree,” sympathy, “I had been accustomed, during the night, to steal a part of their store for my own consumption; but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained, and satisfied myself with berries, nuts, and roots, which I gathered from a neighboring wood,” and of compassion, “I discovered also another means through which I was enabled to assist their labours. I found that the youth spent a great part of each day in collecting wood for the family fire, and during the night I often took his tools, the use of which I quickly discovered, and brought home firing sufficient for the consumption of several days.” But virtues are not the only thing that the creature learns from the family as it is through them that he learns about human relationships. By watching the three, the creature learns about how family relationship work; it sees how much Flix and Agatha care for their father as he states that “nothing could exceed the love and respect which the younger cottagers exhibited towards their venerable companion. They performed towards him every little office of affection and duty with gentleness; and he rewarded them with his benevolent smiles.” He learns about kindness as he sees Felix wake up before his father and Agatha to clear the snow from the path, gather wood, and bring drinking water. It is due to watching them that the creature learns to speak their language.

And this learning continues when Safie arrives at the DeLacey’s home. When she begins to live in the house, the creature learns about how she came to meet the DeLacey’s as “The father of Safie…was a Turkish merchant…[who] became obnoxious to the government. He was seized and cast into prison the very day that Safie arrived from Constantinople to join him. He was tried and condemned to death” which caused Felix to try to help him which is where he met Safie and fell in love with her which caused her father “to secure him more entirely in his interests by the promise of her hand in marriage so soon as he should be conveyed to a place of safety.” It is due to the Safie’s tale of the circumstances that lead her to meet the DeLacey’s that the creature learned that, just like Safie, he was an other. When Safie first arrived at the DeLacey’s home, she does not know how to speak the language that Felix and his family does which causes her to be “neither understood by, or herself understood, [by] the cottagers.” So by not knowing the language of the DeLacey’s, a barrier comes to form between them as she is not able to talk to the family, causing her to be different. It is because Safie wants to bond with the family and not be different/an other to them that she plays the guitar: to communicate through music.

The reason why the creature provides Safie’s letters when trying to provide “the truth of [his] tale” is because it sees itself in her. Just as the creature feels different from Victor and any other human being, Safie was different from the DeLacey’s as she did not speak their language and was from another country. Both Safie and the creature are not like those around them. They both did not know the language of the country they were in and they are not originally from there, though technically this could be argued for the creature. Both the creature and Safie try to integrate to the country’s culture, only one of them succeeds, Safie, which shows the creature that it is an outsider even to the outsiders. By giving Victor Safie’s letters, the creature wants Victor to see how hard life is to immigrants, compared to Victor who is a white man. The creature wants Victor to see the injustice that both Safie and it face because of the life they were given/born into. The letters show the struggles that Safie went through in order to be accepted and the creature wants to show Victor that it too is going through struggles in order to be accepted