Tag Archive: immigrants


By: Leena Beddawi

America has been expanding its laws surrounding refugees and immigrants crossing its borders for decades, the most drastic set of expansions being created after the attack on September 11, 2001. Throughout these border security and law expansions, one thing that never changed is the law granting asylum for any refugee seeking protection from a country which defines a refugee as a “person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country, and cannot obtain protection in that country, due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future ‘on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.’”.

Frankenstein’s creature insists on proving the “truth of my tale” in order to show that there are wildly different perspectives in this world and the means are just as valuable as the ends, how they became who they are, what they overcame to get here, is just as important as their very existence. I could only assume that in giving these letters to Victor, the creature hoped to change his mind about those who he considered being “other”.  One thing we see in many refugee or immigrant story is that they usually perfect models of W. E. B. Du Bois’ double-consciousness.

Double-consciousness is a concept in social philosophy which explains the presence of two apparently unconnected streams of consciousness in one individual, usually having to do with race, ethnicity, or originating country. This is something many refugees go through in order to search for a better life, they learn a whole new language, accustom to another culture, and try to peacefully integrate themselves in a space that is completely foreign to them because this is their only hope.

Safie is a Muslim Arab migrant from Turkey, but very much became a citizen of the world in accordance with Felix’s locations. Wherever he went, she wished to follow, and she made that place her home because they were together. I believe the creature’s pride in “learn[ing] from the views of a developed social life, to admire their virtues, and to deprecate the vices of mankind” helped him to empathize with the conquered native Americans and to see himself in the immigrant or refugee status because they each had felt that same sense of double-consciousness (114).

caravan

The president of the United States of America has chosen to demonize, criminalize, and verbally dehumanize the thousands of asylum seekers currently coming towards the border from Central America, most escaping Honduras, which many news organizations call “The World’s Deadliest Country”. Many of these people are young men, women, children, and elderly. Before they enter, they hope to apply as asylum seekers, which should technically aid them in a legal route of asylum. In the U.S., however, the immigration systems are severely out-of-date and meant to delay asylum to refugees for many small reasons, the main of which is just the subjectivity of opinion which goes with who gets asylum and who doesn’t.

I think if we were somehow able to share each individual story from the thousands of asylum seekers and hardworking individuals looking for a better life, searching for any life, we can actually start changing minds of politicians who see them as nothing but invaders. But if the president was presented with individual stories of the humanitarian crisis the refugees have been running from, one would hope that he would welcome those people with open arms, and allow asylum to those who need it.

In Frankenstein, I believe it was best summed up by Safie when describing why she never want to go back to Asia, where she was “allowed only to occupy herself with infantile amusements, ill-suited to temper her soul, now accustomed to grand ideas and a noble emulation for virtue” (112). This showed not only her desperation to go to another country where she could be herself without constraints, but showed how this alone should be enough to pass through and see if you can make a better life in another country. The very idea of borders exudes a racist, xenophobic ideology which has yet to be updated after many decades of fear mongering anything “other” to us, much like how the creature is treated by everyone they come in contact with, as well. It is no surprise they see themselves in the refugee story since their own double-consciousness must be deafening within themselves.

by Marco Hidalgo

In Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, the creature is an outcast from the rest of society by not being accepted by the way he looks. He is being alienated by everyone with doing so he is on his own and learns about individuals who also have the same outcast problem.

Internal colonization in order to have inequality and discrimination towards another ethnic group. Those affected by internal colonization are often looked at as outsiders or aliens, which are also treated very badly. Safie, a Turkish refugee, has the same problem as the creature which is how society sees refugees and immigrants as outsiders and make them feel not welcomed. I strongly feel like the creature gave Frankenstein the letters by Safie on her life story to help Victor Frankenstein understand the idea on how the creature is feeling alienated by the entire world just because of his appearance, because just like Safie feels  unwelcomed into the place where she hoped to find refuge in, the creature is unwanted and unloved by the entire world because of his appearance. All of these individuals are coming into the states to being a new life for them and their families but now the government/ president is making it very difficult for them to do so.isolation-cartoon-700x300

The Creature’s tale is in many ways Safie’s. Watching the de Lacey family interact is largely how the Creature is socialized to see gender, power dynamics, acceptance, and most importantly truth. His truth specifically. The voyeuristic education the Creature participates in teaches him that the same constraints that apply to Safie apply to him. As someone at an educational disadvantage the Creature must learn a new language like Safie in order to at least be closer to being at the same level. Safie and the Creature both are not native to this language or the culture associated with it so as they are educated they do not take everything with a grain of salt. The Creature’s serious reading of Paradise Lost is a prime example of taking seriously something part of a culture that isn’t as important as an outsider may see it. Immigrants some times believe in certain stereotypes of the country they are immigrating to because of the way these countries choose to portray themselves as and then ultimately come to the realization that this portrayal is a lie. This creates double-consciousness because the immigrants now experience themselves through their own eyes and the eyes of the country they are immigrating to because even if the portrayal is incorrect there will be people who make it seem as if it’s an accurate one.

Here is where the Creature fails to realize double-consciousness exists. He presents someone else’s story as a sort of explanation for his own and in doing so is not only seeing himself through his own eyes but also through the eyes of Safie. Someone who recognizes that she now can see herself through multiple perspectives. Perhaps if the Creature had realized that double-consciousness existed he would not have chosen to use her letters as an explanation for his own life and would have written his own. Instead of using someone else’s story of migration and the life changing moments to make his own story more credible he would have relied on his own storytelling more.

By Diana Lara

In Frankenstein, we as the readers see the constant persecution that the creature is forced to endure, most resulting in some type of isolation because of the way he looks. As we learn more about Safie and her history, two pieces of the same puzzle instantly fall into place.

We are not able to see Safie for long in the novel, yet her short appearance does not go unnoticed. In fact, we can see a depressing and obvious contrast between her and the creature; while the creature is exiled by his own master and has no one to love him, Safie is warmly welcomed into the De Lacey family with open arms after being exiled. Because of Safie’s beauty, she is able to integrate herself into this new society, while the creature is stuck living alone in the wilderness, cursed to watch from afar.

The reason why the creature insisted on proving “the truth of [his] tale” is because he wanted Victor to see how Safie was affected by other’s kindness, and how this entire story could’ve ended differently if only Victor had welcomed his creation into this new, unfamiliar world, instead of disgracing him to isolation for all of eternity. A notable point in the novel was when Safie and the creature were both learning the same language at the same time, showing that they both have the intelligence to understand complex concepts; yet that doesn’t seem to matter, since people can judge you based on your looks, right?