Similarities Between Frankenstein And Quicksand

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Rita Felski’s view of tragedy being the failure “to master the self and the world” is at the heart of Nella Larsen’s Quicksand and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Both texts are concerned with the incapacity of defining and accepting one’s identity and the characters’ attempts to resolve this identity crisis by isolating themselves. This essay will argue that the fundamental cause for this tragedy is the lack of emotional connection from one’s family, which in turn prohibits one to sympathize with anyone, including oneself. In Quicksand, Helga Crane’s inability to become truly happy stems from her feelings of being an outsider. Although one might argue that this feeling was influenced by the bad experiences in her childhood, she repeatedly reinforces…show more content…
As he does not even have a name as a marker of identity, he longs for parental recognition from Victor in order to end the confusion about who he is, and the more he understands the fear and hatred he unintentionally provokes in others, including Victor, the more hopeless his view of the world and his future becomes, which leads him to try and gain that recognition through violence. The murder of William, as Knoepflmacher argues, marks also the irreversible loss of “the ‘benevolent’ or feminine component” of the creature’s identity, which makes him “indistinguishable from Victor Frankenstein, similarly alienated from his feminine self” due to the loss of his mother and later on, his wife. The identities of the two are, indeed, intertwined and become fragmented in relation to Milton’s Paradise Lost, to which the novel constantly alludes. The creature reads Milton’s work and although he at first sees himself in Adam, he soon finds himself forced to identify with Satan. Chris Baldick argues that not only the creature but Victor himself starts to feel more like Satan than God – with whom he should identify in this instance – as the story progresses in the sense that “he too bears a hell within him”. Thus, the creature’s questions “Who was I? What was I? Whence did I come? What was my destination?” truly underline the entire novel and not only remain unanswered but become increasingly blurry for both the creature and his creator. Indeed, Baldick notes that as the two “refer themselves back to Paradise Lost – a guiding text with apparently fixed moral roles – they can no longer be sure whether they correspond to Adam, to God, or to Satan, or to
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