Tag Archive: Humanity


Frankenstein’s creature’s life, like that of transgender individuals, is governed by the medicalization and consequential classification of their bodies into two narrow categories at birth based on phenotypic traits. When talking to Victor, the creature tells him that he read the written observations and descriptions Victor had written to record the procedures and results of his experiment. Frankenstein’s creature states, “Every thing is related in them which bears reference to my accursed origin; the whole detail of that series of disgusting circumstances which produced it, is set in view; the minutest description of my odious and lonesome person is given, in language which painted your own horrors, and rendered mine indelible” (Shelley 116). Since Victor abandoned the creature as soon as he was fabricated and, therefore, was not able to witness the cognitive actions of the monster, these notes likely revolved around the creature’s “monstrous” appearance. Records of such an appearance would be the source of visual horrors for Victor. Similarly, these records would be horrors to the creature but because of the marking of their life which the papers would identify. The content of Victor’s notes render the creature’s fears “indelible” not just because they won’t be forgotten from the mind of the creature, but because the characteristics that compose the creature as an individual are literally marked and cannot be erased. The creature never reveals which of the two most socially accepted genders of male or female was assigned or if they was assigned one to begin with. Nevertheless, whatever is on the paper is given legitimacy, the same way the sex and gender of individuals are given legitimacy on medical and legal documents until the person attempts to correct it.

This is a major issue faced by the transgender community that makes them choose between their humanity constructed by genders assigned by social standards and their individuality reflected by the gender they personally identify with. Creature, along with other neo-pronouns, is a term that would be appropriately reclaimed by members of the transgender community, like Susan Styrker author of “My Words to Victor Frankenstein above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage” and Jessica Rae Fisher “I am Frankenstein’s Monster: An echo of Susan Stryker’s call to action,” as they could identify with the term’s concurrent humanity and othering by society. According to Stryker in her essay, “A creature, after all, in the dominant tradition of Western European culture, is nothing other than a created being, a made thing” (Stryker 240) Every human is a creature. The negative connotation of the term comes from “the lack or loss of a  superior personhood” (Stryker 240) associated with the term by other people, because creature could also include animals and non-human forms. Because people want to maintain their status as “lords of creation” (Stryker 240) they reduce creature to a subordinate term to demean others of their humanity and rank them below themselves. Thus, the reclamation of the word by the transgender community simultaneously reflects their existence and creation like other humans and their oppression by other people who misgender them. By disregarding the individuality of transgender people and assigning them genders a person sees them as at face value, according to narrow, ambiguous social guidelines, outsiders take possession of the identities of transgender folk and pathologize their bodies based on appearance the same way Victor Frankenstein has done with his experiment. The transgender rage Stryker and Fisher express is a matter of agency and visibility on their own terms and authority, not that which governs their lives and those of many other trans people.

-Wendy Gutierrez

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Christopher Martinez

In the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, there are multiple parts that show the injustices of being different. Jessica states with passion and dignity in her blog post that there should be a, “reclaim the word tranny. For me, it is time to dull the impact these words have when used against us. It is well worth embracing who we are as monsters.” When she says that the word tranny should be changed and interpreted a different way it reminds me of Frankenstein’s experience as a lonely monster – maybe even part of the LGBTQ community like Jessica.

There is multiple parts in the book where the monster shows the willingness to try to be like everyone else, yet also having the idea of self-hate. An example of this can be found in chapter 15 when the monster begins to be eager to learn more about the world he is in and what he is in society. He reads books and discovers many different feelings. He states, “I can hardly describe to you the effect of these books. They produced in me an infinity of new images and feelings, that sometimes raised me to ecstasy, but more frequently sunk me into the lowest djection.” (115) Just like in Jessica’s post there is several mentions of wanting to be themselves, but society doesn’t allow them to. In addition, there is a connection between the monsters hate for the world he lives in and the world a queer or a lesbian lives in. When Stryker mentioned, “On January 5, 1993, a 22-year-old pre-operative transsexual woman from Seattle, Filisa Vistima, wrote in her journal, “I wish I was anatomically ‘normal’ so I could go swimming. . . . But no, I’m a mutant, Frankenstein’s monster,” this made me think of the ideas the monster had himself. The monster said, “Cursed, cursed, cursed! Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed?” (121) This gives evidence that the monster Victor created is no different from people who are homosexual or bisexual. They feel different like the monster in Frankenstein. Now I am not calling anyone a monster, but in fact, I am blaming the community for not allowing beautiful and unique ‘monsters’ into society. Just like Jessica said in her blog, “I can want to kill them with kindness, but their vitriol and hatred might wear down on me faster.” As humans, we aren’t seeing the right picture when interpreting someone. We saw the monster as a man, but is he really? Is the monster wanting to be himself, but the monster is furious about the close mindsets humans have.

The Desired Mother

In Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, the Oedipal desire for the mother is represented through the relationship of Victor with his parents. The main points of the Oedipal desire are that in our unconscious mind, one which we have no access to, we are in love with our mothers and we see our fathers as our rivals and wish to kill them. Victor Frankenstein lost his mother at a young age so by bringing the creature to life, he was trying to bring his mother back to life to fulfil his desires with her. He says, “I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body.” However, when the creature did not fulfil the beauty of his mother and was not a good replacement for her, he was very disappointed and described it as, “but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust.” His mother was the only one fitted to fulfil his Oedipal desires which is why he sees Elizabeth in his dream as his dead mother. The root of his desires are with his mother and only she can fulfil them but she is no longer around which is why he is so discontent with how his life played out.

Sabrina Vazquez

William Godwin in the excerpt from his book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, writes about the common and basic axiom of embracing the good and bad in life. He states, “The cause of justice is the cause of humanity. Its advocates should be penetrated with universal good will.” (789). Justine through her trial and conviction seems to embrace her decision. Even after tried guilty states that she is prepared and has accepted that she will leave the “sad and bitter world”, because she has submitted to the will of heaven (Shelley, 83). She is innocent of a highly serious crime and sentenced to death, yet she does not let that taint her convictions. Even though her death is not just, she remains true to herself and her true sentiments. This very much compliments Godwin’s thoughts of who we should remain when tested in face of fairness.

The New Perspective

Warren Montag, author of the essay “The Workshop of Filthy Creatures”, uses this article of writing to pinpoint the social classes, and social injustices, found in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. To start off, Montag first divides the fact that Victor is part of the Bourgeoisie class, and the creation represents the Proletariat class. While reading Montag’s paper, he brings up multiple points based around his thesis. His final words, however, can be left for interpretation by his readers; “… not so much the sign of the Proletariat as of its unrepresentability.” (480)

In my personal opinion, I believe that Montag is correct. In order to help Montag with direct evidence from the novel, might I direct you to chapter 12 of Frankenstein. At this point in the journey, the creature has been studying the cottagers and their ways of survival. The cottagers work everyday, especially Felix, and the creature takes note of this continuously in his part of the story. However, the creature then states to himself, “… but how terrified when I viewed myself in a transparent pool!” While the quote is fleeting, it still holds many points of evidence that are useful for my argument. One, for example, being the plain fact that the creature understands that he is not like the cottagers as far as beauty. This is not the first time that we, the readers, see the creature separate himself from human society, or even the Proletariat class. Just this quote is enough to sustain the theory that the creature merely is not a suitable husk of the Proletariat class in Shelley’s novel, no matter how hard Shelley tries. The creature cannot identify himself with the Proletariat because he does not understand their pains and labors, despite him lending a secretive helping hand.

-Jody Omlin

Frankenstein: The Novel vs. the Myth

As children, we all thought that we had known who Frankenstein was; the bumbling green monster who could barely string a handful of words together, with its dramatized square-shaped head and metal bolts jutting out from its large neck. We didn’t even consider him as a real living creature, only an object. Not only was it a symbol of fear during Halloween, but has now (more popularly) become a comedic character in children’s shows and movies. One example is from the new popular animated movie, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation.

After reviewing and reading through Frankenstein, however, we see a whole different world. We’re exposed to a completely different character, one that we aren’t sure how to react to. For one, our so-called monster is actually nameless, put into this world with no identity. Frankenstein, first name being Victor, is actually the creator of the creature we had been stereotyping this entire time. The creature in Shelley’s novel is nothing how we were forced to perceive him to be.

The creature is born into a world where he is instantly hated by his creator, by his presumable “mother”, if we must give Victor the role of this creation’s parent. Victor’s cruelness automatically evicts pity from us to the creature, since we can envision this creation as something completely helpless and in need of direction, which he had been so horribly shoved away from. At this point in time, we begin to humanize him.

We also see that the creature has very human qualities, such as complex emotions and strong intelligence that is unexpected from a science experiment thought to have gone wrong. In the novel, we are the witnesses to the creature’s mental growth as he is quickly shunned by Victor and must discover humanity himself. In fact, to call this creation a monster is completely incorrect, seeing that the reason we fear this creation is because of how human he becomes.

This creature, the one we have humanized, is no monster; the only true beast we witness in this novel is Victor Frankenstein, himself.

-Jody Omlin

by: Xóchitl Ortiz

Myth v.s Novel: Frankenstein:


The myth of Frankenstein goes a long way, but since this is based of my prior knowledge, I only know Frankenstein from the Academy Award winning cinematic masterpiece that is the Hotel Transylvania series (well, it should have an academy award by now). I genuinely thought he was the monster, and that he was friendly (which I was right about). In all actuality, I wasn’t aware that everyone else thought he was a scary monster, since my only source is a children’s movie from Sony Animations. Turns out, after all my ignorance and finally reading the novel, I learned Victor Frankenstein made the nameless creature thing and everyone was so mortified by his appearance that their reaction warped the creature’s character.

The novel reminded me of the saying, “beauty is skin-deep” and, after googling it I found that it is a phrase that a pleasing appearance is not a guide to character. Also, I found a song from the Temptations that’s not exactly a lyrical masterpiece, but (in my opinion) is worth listening to.

That short saying (to me) is a nice summary of the novel. The completely insane “Mad Scientist”, Victor Frankenstein, made a beautiful and intellectual creature that was extremely judged by everything it encountered, not by its kindness nor patience towards humans, but by its appearance. When I say the creature was beautiful….I mean it in the most pure, innocent way because the creature, in my perspective, was a kind-hearted soul. Similar to a child, he was inquisitive and fast-adapting. Unfortunately, like all things innocent, the thing was corrupted by the evil in the world. I saw something in the creature, something that was gentle and fragile, but because of his physical manifestation, he was rejected by society.

The novel is written through a series of letters- which gives it a more personal perspective and connection. The tone revealed to me the common theme which questioned, “What is actual beauty?”. Of course, beauty has multiple definitions and layers. You see, 200 years is quite some time. Although the number of the years increased, definitions differed, and time ultimately changed everything, one thing that seemed to not change was the ideology behind “beauty”. Everyone is just as judgmental about what people look like, instead of who they actually are as a human being, today as they were 200 years ago. If I made the rules in life, I would make it so that your physical appearance reflected your innermost self, but I don’t make the rules. Nowadays, exactly how it was back in the “good ol’ days”, beauty gives people benefits and the upper hand in life. This creature lacked the basic European features that was considered beautiful at the time, so people lacked empathy towards it. In my opinion, just because someone is attractive it doesn’t give them the right to be evil. The irony in this is that the creature was a physical representation of what society was: a monster.

The monstrous society made the creature warp his personality to match his appearance, completely warping who it was. In my eyes, the greatest connection is the simple definition of: “beauty is only skin-deep”. It is up the individual to perceive their definitions of what beauty is.

Citations:

https://www.google.com/search?q=beauty+is+only+skin+deep+meaning&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

By: Leena Beddawi

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, readers are told an emotional tale of self-discovery, one that arguably seems more human than the average coming-of-age story found ever so innovative. This has to do with the fact that this was an entirely new way to delve into the intersections of the human experience, bringing science and philosophy together, and how that contributes to the development of said characters as well as how one perseveres anything they find “other” to their “normal” as a barbaric way of thinking and feeling. In reality, the creature merely wanted to be understood, accepted, and loved.

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You take this novel at pure face value, humans began placing somewhere among the horror/thriller section, merely because it contains a “monster” who has a path of destruction in his wake almost anywhere he goes. In reality, when we hear the actual perspective of said monster, we see all the misconceptions our culture has strewn onto us.

This novel is not that of a horror or thriller, but a tale of one’s journey to self and environmental consciousness. The creature taught themselves everything through watching people live their daily lives, from simple to complex; such as acceptance, tolerance, hatred, language, empathy, economic inequality, power dynamics, social standards, and even gender roles.

One of the most touching parts of the creature’s story, for me, is when they first encounters a painful bone-chilling cold, and when the sun began to shine down upon them, however “surprised by the novelty of such sensations… [they] still dared to be happy”(186).

Before reading this book, the only idea I had of it was what the myth or legend was told, that Victor Frankenstein was a mad scientist who went rouge and started creating this big, and sub-human. This pre-conception of the misconstrued maverick has almost everything to do with the subconscious attitude we still have over people who do not look exactly “normal” in a very subjective opinion.

Truly, the deeper we get to know the creature Frankenstein created, the more we feel ourselves projected onto them, almost as if we are all still learning and growing as individuals all the same, while some only get a different reaction due to their own physical appearance, rather than what is in their hearts.

Upon a night such as this, years ago in the past, if I were tasked to conjure up an image for the fictional being known as “Frankenstein”, the image would be that as based on Boris Karloff in his performance in the 1931 film: a creature of flesh and technology, blood and electricity flowing within the frame of  intense stature. I would have imagined the creature walking as stiff as death, joints locked in Rigor Mortis with arm reaching out in full length and legs thumping and shaking the Earth with each forced step. The Creature would force its way into the lives of its victims to fulfill some deep hatred towards his creator and those of his species. My old imaginings of the were those of the monster that had been shown to me my whole life, one that painted that foul beast in a light from the deepest burnings of hellfire.

Upon reading the text of which my original understanding of the idea was founded on, however, I was surprised to learn the true nature of how the Monster was supposed to appear: a divine creature that was created to look as beautiful as man was supposed to be made as when the Lord had bestowed his image unto the Earth; a large frame that would be made ugly after being bestowed life. The creature was one that desired to be loved and accepted, but scorned by the one that had constructed him. I wish there was a more happy fate for which that fallen creature could have endured, but to see that he was disowned by his creator due to his hideousness and imperfect disposition, I see now that the version of which I have consumed all my life is a version that strips the creature of the Human qualities and immortalizes him as only a monster that thirsts for a vengeance that can never be sated.

Through revelation, I see that the creature presented within the novel is one of perplexing constitution and character of which paints the creature in a light of humanity that cannot be exhibited in any other way than that which was before the Original Sin of Adam and Eve. Yet, through exile by creator and kin, he becomes a monster not by choice but by circumstance and becomes the villain he is made out to be. The tragedy of the Created Man is one that we are not shown because it would generate thoughts that would make us questions ourselves, so it is through the monstrous version of the beast that we shown in which we become infantilized to the truth of depth of human nature.

I for sure am glad for the reveal of the true character of Frankenstein’s creature so that I have a greater understanding on the nature of man.

-Alejandro Joseph Serrano

  By: Sandra Tzoc

proxyI was dumbfounded at the truth of the “monster”: Frankenstein. All these years I had been holding onto the wrong picture of Frankenstein. In my mind he was just another myth made up to scare children with no deeper meaning other than entertainment. To me- he was analogous to Jason or Dracula, just symbols of Halloween and scary stories and never did I question more than what was fed to me. Before this class, I had no knowledge about Frankenstein besides costumes and that he was a monster, product of an experiment gone wrong. However, reading and listening to Mary Shelley’s writing has given me a completely different depiction of this creature, which has urged me to see “Frankenstein” in another light. He is more human than monster, he felt alone and all he asked for was a companion to share his existence with. Interacting with others is human nature and Frankenstein wanted to partake in that, which shows how there was humanity in him. Unfortunately, since he did not get an equally grotesque companion, he let out his resentment on innocent people. Frankenstein had emotions, emotions so strong that it led him to drastic actions but in the end he was more than just a monster because he had feelings. Reading about Frankenstein has made me realize how easy it is to be blindsided by the media. Finding this new perspective has definitely urged me to seek my own truth. To question whatever is around me, because sometimes it might be easy to judge a book by its cover rather than reading it. However, it is essential to really analyze the information that is out there because it might be misleading most of the time. This version of Mary Shelley has reminded me that skepticism is essential for the path towards wisdom. I was easily fooled into thinking that Frankenstein was just a ZOMBIE, when in reality he was a creature who was drowning in melancholy and who was on the search for acceptance and comprehension. Just like many of us. Although he might have looked different that did not make him any less human.