Tag Archive: the monster


Samantha Shapiro

Warren Montag, in his work, The “Workshop of Filthy Creation”: A Marxist Reading of Frankenstein, notes that a literary text, is a “node within a network” (469), perhaps a part of a whole. However, a literary text doesn’t merely have a place within history, but also develops meaning through readership, and shines a light on a collective readership. From this view, I interpret that Montag determined that Frankenstein’s creation was established as “the modern…singularity” of the masses, and thus indescribable due to breadth from the absence of the proletariat within the novel (480).

Through a defined and educating viewpoint, he unveils the tension and conflict in Frankenstein and his creation, basing the relationship between the two on a comparison of the new elites in the French and English revolutions “…[conjuring] up a monster that, once unleashed, could not be controlled” (471). He establishes tension created from the omissions in the text as a creation of a “world of effects without causes” (477).

Within his interpretation, the symbolism of the monster may hold true. However, the larger picture of history to me involves why and how a conflict was established, which can bring in human emotion. From Montag’s educating manner, the readers are neglected their ability to empathize with the creation/masses due distancing the reader from relating to the creation. While he notes there could be sympathy or pity, he fails to mention any other emotion, which is motif throughout the novel. Chapter Ten notes Victor’s change of emotions from seeing both nature, from grief to “rage and horror” from seeing the creation (92). The conflict between the two is characterized with rage and a lack of acceptance between one another, and Shelley does this through their dialogue. This expressive dialogue is seen with Victor exclaiming, “Begone, vile insect! or rather, stay, that I may trample you to dust!” or the creature responding, “Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me…How dare you sport thus with life?” (92). These elements that develop the complex relationship between the two could add more depth to the conflict between the two, but remains untouched.

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By: Carmen Ibarra

Before actually reading Mary Shelley’s book, Frankenstein I always perceived Frankenstein to be this ignorant, flesh-eating, zombie-like, brain-eating monster. Through stories and Halloween costumes, Frankenstein was always just an entertaining story and character. However, we learn through Mary Shelley that Frankenstein is actually the creator of this unnamed “monster” we all think we know so well. It is interesting how we depict the monster to be a simple-minded,  green monster when in reality he is a self-educated and intelligent.

I titled this post, The Real Monster because I believe the real monster of this story is Victor Frankenstein, he abandoned and neglected his very own creation from the start and because of this “the monster” had to fend for itself, learn EVERYTHING on his own, and attempt to understand the ways of life. Not only that, but Frankenstein also attempted to play God by creating life and thinking he can do so successfully. So, of course, I place all the blame on Frankenstein for neglecting and running away from his creation because if he would have properly introduced Frankenstein to the world perhaps things would have turned out differently.

Alina Cantero

frankenstein

As humans, we rely on stereotypes to gives us information on people and things we do not know or are uncertain of. Before reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, my preconceived knowledge of the myth was that, one the “creatures” name was Frankenstein and two that he was nothing but a “freakish monster” created by the experiment of an “evil scientist” (yes, the one you would stereotype, with the crazy hair). I believed that “Frankenstein” had no intelligence to him and was nothing but a brainless creature. I believed what he looked like (image attached above) because that is all I had been taught when it came to him. I was one to stereotype “Frankenstein” when I shouldn’t have because I had no knowledge about him and never even took the time to educate myself.

Upon reading Shelly’s story I have learned that he was not just a creature, but someone who was able to comprehend human emotions. He was able to feel loneliness and isolation, due to humans stereotyping him as dangerous and scary. I was also informed that he was never given a name, and the name Frankenstein was actually his creator’s last name. For being what I considered a brainless monster, he was quite intelligent. His intelligence was proven throughout the story by finding shelter in order to avoid the cold and snow. His willpower was demonstrated when he continues to stay hidden to ensure no human would see him because he knew they would be afraid of him. This “monster” demonstrated wits for survival, by waiting for the children to leave in order for him to go out and get food. By continuing to stay hidden and learn language from Felix, he attained a knowledge that would help him communicate and hopefully help others realize he was not there to harm them.

All he longed for was friendship and acceptance throughout his journey. All he needed to make him happy was for just one person show him the kindness and hospitality they had for other humans. After reading, I have come to the conclusion that my preconceived knowledge was nothing more than a myth.

In a Marxist interpretation of Frankenstein, the monster is often akin too the lower class, pointing to its abused nature and its ability to overthrow its producer. Montag’s essay “The Workshop of Filthy Creation: A Marxist Reading of Frankenstein” claims that the text deliberately ignores the implications of the toiling lower class and the industrial revolution, rendering the creature a “representation of the unrepresentable”. However, Montag’s argument ignores how the first-person narration of Frankenstein is flawed and can be picked apart by both the reader and the observing character Walton, demonstrating a cynicism of Frankenstein’s viewpoint and, by extension, his ignorance of the industrial revolution and lower class in general.

Montag brings up the “Hear him not” (178) line to indicate that Shelley would rather deny the lower class of a voice or presence. Upon seeing the creature, Walton is at first impressed by the creature’s tender response to Frankenstein’s corpse, but he then remembers the man’s words; tellingly, Frankenstein is mentioned directly in his thought: “I called to mind what Frankenstein had said of his powers and eloquence and persuasion,” (187). Walter’s reaction to the creature is not something naturally developed, but an artificial parroting of Frankenstein’s hateful words. Instead of being gagged by the text, however, the monster interrupts the explorer and begins speaking, not stopping until finished. For all his bluster, Walton is unable to stop listening to, and the reader is unable to deny the opinion of the creature, because it holds just as much legitimacy as Frankenstein’s ever did.

The creature’s narration actually addresses the current reality of Shelley’s day. The creature criticizes Walton’s perspective by comparing his own qualities with Felix the “rustic”, or a person from rural areas (188). Such a term only makes sense if the creature thinks of himself as different from rustic, as urban. Montag claimed that the urban is unnaturally absent from the text, but the creature is able to see it because of his status as a symbol of the proletariat. He is also attuned to the matter of capital. There is no mention of monetary obligations in Victor’s side of the story, but in the monster’s narration, Felix’s companion tells Felix about how he will be required to pay three weeks rent or lose his garden (123). As an embodiment of the those who have to fear such things as debt, the creature understands that such details cannot be excised from life. The use of these more worldly observations demonstrates that Shelley is aware of them and willing to use them in her text. She gives them to the creature instead of Frankenstein because Victor’s perspective is deliberately askew, emphasizing the conflict between the two.

Walton’s narration also indicates a disparity. At the beginning of the novel, he wishes to “satisfy my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited,” (28). He does not wish to remain in the dark about this class conflict at the center of the Marxist interpretation; rather, he wants to explore this relatively new conflict. This enthusiasm for new territories is combined with his desperate need for a friend or companion. Tellingly, he wants “a man who could sympathize with me,” (31). In other words, Walton wants a person who can tell him what he wants to hear rather than someone who can tell him something distinct. Frankenstein fills that gap with his incomplete narrative and Walter believes him when he encounters the creature, yet the explorer is still rendered silent by the monster’s honesty, demonstrating the superior perspective of Victor’s progeny. A reassuring lie like the one Montag suggests Shelley’s novel to be is let down before truth.

A Marxist interpretation must take into account a story’s context as Montag’s essay did, but in a novel with multiple narrative voices like Frankenstein, it can’t take the viewpoint of one character as the viewpoint of the author. His “unrepresentable” monster is only in Victor’s flawed mind; the monster, and the lower class it represents, is a real and significant factor that can’t be undermined.