Explore Shelley’s presentation of the interdependence of people and society
Shelley presents the dependence of people and society as intertwined and dependent on each other throughout the novel ‘Frankenstein’. From the struggle for survival from the monster who, shunned by society lives alone, the reader has a clear view of the importance of society to being able to survive. From Victor’s struggle to cope with the pressure of conforming to society, the De Lacey’s reaction to society and Justine’s injustice from the laws placed around us this view of society in relation to people is supported.
Society is defined as “a social community who interact and survive by depending on one another to provide help and support. The society is restricted and guided by laws and regulations, which support the running of the community”. However, a society creates a hierarchy of people, which in turn produces discrimination and prejudices against each other. This is most clearly shown through the reaction of the society against the monster ‘The whole village was roused, some fled, some attacked me’ because he physically looked different from the rest of the community, ‘Abhorred Monster’. This forces the monster to feel depressed and begin to hate his appearance ‘I was a poor, miserable wretch’. He understands he is not part of the community ‘I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property’. Shelley has shown how through being part of a community you instantly reject others who do not look or act similarly to the rest. By excluding the monster, he has turned into a recluse, obsessive about becoming part of the society ‘I ardently desired to become acquainted’, this leads to his degradation. Without having any social interaction he becomes lonely and questions the importance of his self within society ‘What was I?’.
A woman on the Edge Gender Inequality There have many elements of gender inequality discussed throughout the semester. One point that I found interesting was, the ideal that the reproductive ability of women created a power imbalance so strong that the society of the future has to come up with a way to remove this imbalance by industuralinzing in a sense reproduction. (K immer & Messner, 1998) ...
In the introduction of the novel by Volney ‘Ruins of Empires’, Shelley provides a critique of the society as monstrous and discriminative. People commit unspeakable crimes against each other and exploit those who do not possess the trivial virtues of money and noble birth. The monster’s reaction to people at hearing this ‘at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so vicious and base’ shows Shelley’s reaction and portrayal of society as biased to support those who are of wealth and status.
As the creature’s education begins to grow, he begins to understand the superficial qualities of being part of a ‘strange system of human society’ and learns the words ‘order’, ‘rank’, ‘property’ and ‘wealth’. This shows Shelley’s portrayal of society as being materialistic. Shelley uses the monster to show her view on the inequality of society ‘a vagabond and a slave, doomed to waste his powers for the profit of the chosen few’.
This hierarchy is also shown through the De Lacey family, ‘it was poverty and they suffered that evil in a very distressing degree’, they compare their own livelihood to others, higher up in social status. This leaves the family ‘not entirely happy’ and ‘appearing to weep’. From the monster’s confusion, ‘I saw no cause for their unhappiness’ (as he does not understand the pressure of being lower in the hierarchy) we can see how society can force people to feel pressured to succeed and feel a failure by being lower in the hierarchy. The monster sees society as being ‘enjoying one another’s company and speech’ and sees their life as ‘delightful’. From the De Lacey family’s struggle we can see the importance of society to them and in comparison to the monster’s perspective we can see how when reflected by somebody who only longs for companionship how insignificant this seems.
We usually define the word "family" with a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household but to many sociologists, this definition is narrow and is not a very accurate way of describing a family. According to Murdock (1949) the family is a "social group" which is identified by common "residence", "economic" and "reproduction" whereas Giddens (1993) states that the family ...
Shelley shows how the domestic family life, which is normality in society, often compresses people’s personalities, as they have to conform to the family life. In the Frankenstein household, Although Victor is brought up lovingly ‘no human being could have had a happier upbringing than my own’, he felt constricted in his growth ‘I was so guided by a silken cord’. Victor rebels against all human ties, against the ties that bound him to his family and community in pursuit of knowledge. Society has forced his parents to treat him in a certain way and through doing so, he has rebelled and fully segregated himself from society.
Through the trial of Justine, the reader has an insight into the justice system that society has created. Justine, evidently an innocent woman , ‘If she is, as you believe, innocent, rely on the justice of our laws’, becomes a victim of capital punishment after the death of William, Victor’s younger brother. Although the evidence points towards Justine, the monster committed the crime and after an unfair trial, she is found guilty. Through the pressure on her to admit the crime, she confesses to a crime she did not commit ‘I did confess but I confessed a lie!’. Shelley highlights the dysfunction of the justice system at that time. Through this, Shelley shows how people are reliant on this system to keep them safe, ‘everyone believes in her guilt’ and the laws imposed to protect them regardless of if justice has regained ‘It is decided, as you may have expected, all judges had rather ten innocent should suffer than one guilty escape’. Shelley also shows the inequity in the justice system through the De Lacey’s struggle to prove Safie’s father’s innocence ‘the injustice of his sentence was very flagrant’.
The novel clearly shows how society relies on people being dependent upon one another to survive. This is clearly exemplified by the De Lacey household who shared chores ‘various laborious occupations’. The family rely on each other, ‘the old man, who I perceived to be blind’ cannot complete the fatiguing jobs, ‘the young man and his companion’ share the workload to ensure the old man has enough to eat ‘they placed food in front of the old man when they reserved none for themselves’ supporting the idea that they need each other to live.
Mistrust, religion, dysfunctional families, and death are all topics that come up at one time or another during Fannery O’Connor’s symbolic tales “Good Country People” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. “Good Country People” is a story about a simple mother, her 30 year old daughter who likes being miserable, and the man that steals her leg and ...
Shelley shows how important society is to someone’s ultimate survival through the character of Victor Frankenstein. Victor has become an isolated individual as a result of alienating himself from society whilst he has ‘explored’ and ‘desired’ to find ‘the physical secrets of the world’. As a result of this he has become incompetent to cope with society ‘the discharge of daily usefulness, without which no man is fit for society’.
However, Society cannot survive without people, alike to how people struggle for survival with society. Without people supporting its guidelines and rules ‘innocence relies on our laws’ the society will collapse. Shelley uses the novel to show how although people are dependent on society to guide them, society requires people to obey the laws for society to succeed. For a community to be stable, it requires people to be selective about who can join and follow their unique rules or else chaos will occur. This is clearly shown through the ‘shunning’ or the monster for being ‘manifold’.
Shelley has endeavoured to prove that society and people are dependent upon one another to be able to cope. She has supported these views through the monster’s alienation by society and the characters of Justine, Victor and the De Lacey family.