Frankenstein Critical Analysis Evaluation Essay
Frankenstein depicts some of the most intriguing aspects of an individual’s mind, when it is in its embryonic stages. The plot is constructed around a brilliant scientist who fashions a grotesque creature. ‘Frankenstein’ is considered one of the treasures of literature, and in return many brilliant minds have given their proper analysis on the content. Morgan in her paper titled “Frankenstein’s Singular Events: Inductive Reasoning, Narrative Technique, and Generic Classification” has carried out an extensive analysis of the story in light of the psychological theory regarding inductive reasoning, which is a basic instinct and cues that become conducive to learning. Morgan puts forth a plausible argument that delves into the aspect of psycho-development of the character; the story not only explored the likelihood of human beings creating life, but also examined the process through which cognitions were cemented in the form of theories. (Owen, p. 148)
Many have noted that Frankenstein was a modern Prometheus, for within the literary realm he was the first known man who was able to create life, while modern science is only now beginning to research the practical implication of this process. Morgan discusses the creature’s description of his first experience of learning in her detailed paper; it is directly related to the works of Hume’s and Bacon’s discussions of inductive reasoning. The author wants to firstly make a note that the novel expresses the ability of human nature to attain knowledge which corresponds with the use of logic, as knowledge is unachievable without reasoning. (Howson, p. 9)
Although, with the passage of time, the creature exhibits insight into the human behavior and it seems that he had studied some eminent writers to base his judgment on, but most of his knowledge was not acquired through a set process that a normal human being would go through. Therefore, Morgan notes that it was induction that helped him understand most of his surroundings. His knowledge transforms him into an intelligent being and he showed sophisticated use of reasoning. According to Morgan, throughout the course of the novel, Shelley provides the readers with great insight into the embryonic stages of mental development.
The creature grasps most of the details of his surroundings through observation and the process known as learning by doing. This aspect of his personality is depicted when the creature tells Frankenstein, “I was delighted when I first discovered that a pleasant sound, which often saluted my ears, proceeded from the throats of the little winged animals” (Shelley, 68-69). It is obvious through his statement that it is through induction that he has made the said associations and begins to recognize sounds first. The creature at this stage pronounces how he has become adept at distinguishing between different sounds. The symbol of a fire is another source of reasoning that is further elaborated by Hume, who states that the object is a flame and the heat is the sensation and once the mind gets familiarized with these sensations, it forms an association between the two.
In other words, the mind only learns though experience; the creature is seen to narrate a similar story while retracting his hand from a flame in agony and inserting a piece of wet wood only to discover that the heat dried it and eventually made it catch fire. Morgan’s findings in her thesis is backed by substantial evidences and backed with renowned researches, which provides sufficient amount of insight. She discusses every aspect of the novel and also examines Frankenstein’s relation with the creatures, who both fears and is in awe of the creature and the speed at which he familiarizes himself with his surroundings.
Shelley has given her characters, Victor Frankenstein and Captain Walton overlapping characteristics, but the repetitive structure of the narrative barely contributes in highlighting the moral qualms surrounding Frankenstein’s invention and fate of the creature. For instance, Walton and Frankenstein share many traits that result in them having a mutual obsession with capturing the creature and putting the havoc he is wreaking to an end once and for all. Both characters establish a strong bond on the basis of their positive intuitions regarding each other, despite the fact that both Frankenstein and Walton knew so little of each other.
Morgan’s thesis oscillates from the creature’s development to Shelley’s characterization, and as mentioned before, her research is sufficient to validate her points. Morgan gave a detailed account using quotes from the book to support her postulations and hypotheses. Monique’s citation of Hume’s work may sound far-fetched, but the psychological application of his work is quite pertinent to the process that the creature undergoes and provides a good explanation of it. Hume’s was considered one of the most important figures in western philosophy making his opinions to be considered as facts about the psychological nature of living beings.
Morgan also elaborates upon the works of George Levine, who has underlined the automatic conditioning process that contributes to the survival of human beings and the creature in the novel; the latter was able to sustain in the wild despite his maker’s abandonment. On a final note, Frankenstein is known for having a large number of themes. Morgan has constructed a thesis regarding the natural inductive reasoning of man. Frankenstein and his creature are just two examples that were discussed in this review concerning the use of natural reasoning. Morgan has thoroughly researched the subject and in her detailed discussion she profusely proves the thesis, concerning that it is in the nature of humans to attain and to receive knowledge which is gained through experience, cause and effect.
Howson, Colin. Hume’s problem: induction and justification of belief. New York: Clanrendon Press. 2000.
King, Christa K and Goodall, Jane R. Frankenstein’s science: experimentation and discovery in Romantic Culture. London: Ashgate Publishing. 2008
Owen, David. Hume’s Reason. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. 2002
Morgan, Monique R. Frankenstein’s Singular Events: Inductive Reasoning, Narrative Technique, and Generic Classification. Montreal: McGill University. 2006. Web.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Ed. J. Paul Hunter. New York: Norton, 1996