Frankenstein

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Frankenstein, speaking of himself as a young man in his father's home, points out that he is unlike Elizabeth, who would rather follow "the aerial creations of the poets". Instead he pursues knowledge of the "world" though investigation. As the novel progresses, it becomes clear that the meaning of the word "world" is for Frankenstein, very much biased or limited. He thirsts for knowledge of the tangible world and if he perceives an idea to be as yet unrealised in the material world, he then attempts to work on the idea in order to give it, as it were, a worldly existence. Hence, he creates the creature that he rejects because its worldly form did not reflect the glory and magnificence of his original idea. Thrown, unaided and ignorant, into the world, the creature begins his own journey into the discovery of the strange and hidden meanings encoded in human language and society. In this essay, I will discuss how the creature can be regarded as a foil to Frankenstein through an examination of the schooling, formal and informal, that both of them go through. In some ways, the creature's gain in knowledge can be seen to parallel Frankenstein's, such as, when the creature begins to learn from books. Yet, in other ways, their experiences differ greatly, and one of the factors that contribute to these differences is a structured and systematic method of learning, based on philosophical tenets, that is available to Frankenstein but not to the creature.


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