Prejudice In Mary Shelly's Frankenstein

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The concept of prejudice has plagued the human race for generations on end, and even with the progression into the 21st century, the ideas of prejudice explored in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein still remain relevant today. Prejudice is a destructive force that erodes the natural goodness in beings and ultimately propagates negative repercussions. The social stigma of ugliness and deformity reinforces the image of “the other” and eventually breeds injustice and misery. Beauty should not be equated with goodness, or ugliness with evil as this inhibits one’s ability to make an informed decision about an individual’s character and encourages preconception. Correspondingly, prejudice, a destructive offshoot of fear, is the actual monster in Shelly’s…show more content…
The monster is repeatedly discriminated against and cursed at for his malformation, something that differentiates him from the conceived normal, and this negative reinforcement associates unpleasant appearance with stigmatizing inferiority. In Chapter 12, when the monster sees himself in a transparent pool, he is “unable to believe that it [is] indeed [him] who [is] reflected in the mirror…” (Shelly 116), however, when he is “fully convinced” (Shelly 116) that it is reality, “[he is filled with…mortification” (Shelly 117). The creature feels disgraced and ashamed of his physical appearance in contrast to the “perfect forms of [his] cottagers…” (Shelly 116) and this illustrates the social stigma and inferiority associated with deformity. The monster credits his “…miserable deformity” (Shelly 117) for his disconnection from the cottagers and he “…[looks] upon [the cottagers] as superior beings…” (Shelly 117). This solidifies the idea that the social stigma of ugliness breeds misery and evokes the feeling of inferiority within the “subaltern”. The monster believes he must “…make them overlook the deformity of [his] figure…” (Shelly 116) rather than seek acceptance the way he is. This illustrates the social stigma associated with his abnormal appearance as he is making every effort possible to overcome it and find a sense of belonging. Unable to grasp the unjust behavior of the cottagers he asks himself, “Could they turn from their door one, however monstrous, who solicited their compassion and friendship?” (Shelly 133). The monster, regardless of his amiable disposition, is treated like a disgrace and this stigma stems from his repulsive appearance. Through his interaction with the blind man, “…who cannot judge of [his] countenance…” (Shelly 136), the monster is “…[assured]…of success…” (Shelly 137). However, when the rest of
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