Nature Vs. Nurture Argument In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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One of the oldest, bitter, and storied debates in the history of psychology has been the Nature vs. Nurture argument. Mary Shelley’s classic novel, Frankenstein, offers a textbook portrayal of the divergent concepts, and their outcome on mortal souls. Modern schools of thought understand that Nature, i.e. our genes and hereditary factors, form the foundation for the persons that we become, and provide initial advantages via a genetic lottery. Just as imperative, however, is the Nurture aspect, wherein our life experiences, relationships, and culture all meet to build the house of personhood atop the Nature foundation. Victor Frankenstein is the quintessential argument for active, caring parenting, showing how an indulgent upbringing can catapult…show more content…
Instead, the Monster is left to the mercy of whatever environmental situations he comes across. The Monster’s confrontations with others, such as the de Lacy’s, are extremely negative; he begins to form his identity based on their reactions. The Monster’s sense of self is highly impacted by the Nurture aspect. Since he is left to learn life on his own and create a self image, his experiences lead the Monster to become malicious and cruel towards others, especially his creator, Victor. In Nature and Nurture in Early Child Development, Michael Rutter discuses how the interactions one has with others shapes their identity. He says that, “Individuals increasingly come to have a view of what they are like as individuals and of what they can expect in terms of interactions with other people and of experiences that they encounter,” (Rutter 14). This is extremely relevant to the Monster. He was clearly not born evil, but his lack of nurture has led him to live a life of corruption. When telling Victor about the de Lacy’s, the Monster says himself that “…my heart sunk within me as with bitter sickness,” when he was physically misunderstood by the de Lacy’s and tore away from Felix’s father (Shelley
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