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The Top 5 Most Important Parts Of Frankenstein's Monster's Education

In Chronological Order. For Eng279.

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1. Learning About Nature

Warner Archive / Via giphy.com

Pg. 122

One of the first things that the Monster does after he leaves Frankenstein's lab is to run out into the woods. He is mentally an infant, barely knowing how to walk, and yet he has to figure out how to survive off of the land. On a cold night, he discovers a fire left by a traveler, and in his naivety, "thrust[s his] hand into the live embers, but quickly [draws] it out again with a cry of pain" (Shelley 122). He deciphers that wet wood will not burn, but it will dry by the fire, and when he wakes the next morning he discovers that certain foods taste better when burned by the flames. This whole sequence of the Monster in nature, getting his bearings, is very much connected to the story of Milton's Paradise Lost, which is actually one of the first stories that the monster will ever read. The Monster's learning about nature is important in the long run, because in order to learn other things, you must first know about your surroundings, and Shelley does a good job in making sure that that happens first.

2. First Human Interaction

ariangarande.tumblr.com / Via giphy.com

Pg. 123

The next advancement in the Monster's self education is when he has his first human interaction outside of his creator. He has wandered through the woods and upon a small hut, and of course, being the curious childlike creature that he is, he decides to go inside. There is an old man inside, and upon "perceiving [him], [the man] shrieked loudly, and, quitting the hut, ran across the fields with a speed of which his debilitated form hardly appeared capable" (Shelley 123). The Monster is obviously confused at this reaction, not yet realizing the sad abomination of his looks. Because of his naive nature, the Monster is not offended or hurt by the man, but rather decides to just eat the food that he had and leave. This interaction is important to note because, so far, the Monster has only received looks of fear and disgust, and while he may not yet understand what these things mean, he will remember these interactions when he does.

3. Learning Language

thelastdrivein.com / Via giphy.com

Pg. 129

Next up is the Monster's struggle with learning language. After finding his temporary home outside of the home of some cottagers, he passes the time by listening to them speak, eventually trying to copy their speech himself. He is baffled by the idea of speech, but intrigued at the same time, wanting to know how to convey emotions in the same way, claiming that the words "sometimes produced pleasure or pain, smiles or sadness, in the minds and countenances of the hearers" (Shelley 129). He cannot catch on quite as fast, but he learns simple words like "fire, milk, bread, and wood" (Shelley 129). This is probably the most important element that the Monster teaches himself because without it, he would not be able to convey his story to Victor. He also learns language through a few books he is given by the cottagers, which is probably the reason why the Monster becomes so eloquent by the time he meets his creator again.

4. Learning That He Is Different

Old Hollywood Films / Via giphy.com

Pg. 130

Not long after he has found a secret home with the cottagers, he begins to watch his neighbors, admiring their beauty from afar, taking note of what they do and how they act. The first time he sees himself he is getting water from a small pool, and when he gazes at the reflection looking back at him, he "[is] filled with bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification" (Shelley 130). Up until this point he had known only the faces of Victor, the man from the hut that he scared, and the cottagers - all people with normal human faces. What else could he do but suspect that he was the same way? This event is important because it is probably the biggest hit to the Monster's self esteem and self worth, as he goes on to ask himself why he looks the way he does, and what it means for his life.

5. Learning About Love

reactiongifs.com / Via giphy.com

Pg. 133

Finally, the Monster learns about love when Safia, the lover of Felix the cottager, comes to visit. Felix sees her as she arrives and is "ravished with delight when he saw her... his eyes sparkled, as his cheek flushed with pleasure" (Shelley 133). The Monster has never seen anything like this before, and he is intrigued and amazed by how different Felix acts and appears, and he then turns it around to himself, wanting that feeling for himself as well. It is a natural human emotion to want to give love and in turn have it given to you, so it makes sense that the Monster feels this way. Sadly, however, he is never given love, which leads him to believe he doesn't deserve it, or isn't capable of receiving it. This event is the saddest part of the Monster's existence, because as a creature with human parts and a human brain, all he wants is love.

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