Adolescence In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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There is no denying that one’s adolescence is key in the formation of their identity. Youth brings new people, challenges, and developments, which all contribute to the adult one eventually becomes. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, demonstrates the tragic path one can take if led to do so in their adolescence. Three of the novel’s main characters, the creature, Frankenstein, and Elizabeth, all underwent formative events early in life. These events served as crossroads in their identity formation and unfortunately, all three took the path towards disaster. Shelley shows the downfall of these characters, all varying in levels of pity and innocence, to show that no matter who you are, the events of your childhood can negatively impact your adult…show more content…
This expectation will now be the consolation of your father. Elizabeth, my love, you must supply my place to my younger children. Alas! I regret that I am taken from you; and, happy and beloved as I have been, is it not hard to quit you all? But these are not thoughts befitting me; I will endeavour to resign myself cheerfully to death and will indulge a hope of meeting you in another world (43).
Elizabeth continued to fulfill her role as the faithful partner until the moment of her death, solidifying her obedience to her childhood commands as her fatal flaw. Without fault she loved Frankenstein, so much so that she did not realize the fate that would soon deprive her of actually achieving her “only” purpose (having children with Frankenstein). Shelley places Elizabeth’s death strategically, after the wedding but before the consummation. This irony demonstrates how even those living correctly can suffer by only following the identity laid out for
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He found himself completely engrossed in the world of “sad trash” science (38). Frankenstein acknowledges how his young age only enhanced his obsession by saying, “I was left to struggle with a child’s blindness, added to a student’s thirst for knowledge. Under the guidance of my new preceptors, I entered with the greatest diligence into the search of the philosopher’s stone and the elixir of life; but the latter soon obtained my undivided attention” (39). Frankenstein’s father’s rejection of his passion only set his demise further in stone. From that moment on Frankenstein constantly strove to receive some sort of confirmation that his passions were justified. And despite the “guardian angel of [his] life” attempting to guide him towards more legitimate science, Frankenstein was destined by the formation of his identity in adolescence to forever search for an answer to the mysteries of natural philosophies and the questions of eternal life
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