The development of a human is debated by either nature or nurture. It is argued that intelligence, behaviour, feelings and personality are either inherited by parents biologically or learned from personal experiences. In the case of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley argues that Frankenstein’s monster’s character developed because of the fact that he was not nurtured correctly. Mary Shelley is on the side supporting nurture in the nature versus nurture controversy.
Victor Frankenstein abandoned the creature as soon as he created it which led to the creature being the way he is now, acting destructive but on he inside, truly nice. It could be argued that the monster’s nature was to kill, as Victor Frankenstein created him as an adult, and did not grow up from being a child and therefore did not get nurtured. To argue that point, all of one’s personality traits are brought up by one’s nurture or surroundings. A personality and morals can be learnt without the proper nurturing.
Secondly, Victor abandoned the monster and therefore did not nurture him at all. This was the reason that the monster is the way he is, it is the fact that he did not receive the proper nurture, which would be the nurturing received by his reator. Finally, a personality is formed by the nurturing that a person received. The monster was not nurtured first hand, which made him act out and murder those people. He knew his morals and the difference between right and wrong but he chose to not use them correctly.
One can learn from nurture what is right or wrong, but this cannot be learnt or known purely from nature. Frankenstein’s monster was not nurtured correctly by Victor but one can form good morals from the wrong kind of nurturing. It can be argued that the monster’s evil acts were because of the fact that he was not nurtured; and that it was his ature that made him do these destructive things. It might appear that the monster’s nature made him have no idea of the difference between right and wrong.
What this argument overlooks is the evidence in the novel, it says, “This trait of kindness moved me sensibly. I had been accustomed, during the night, to steal a part of their store for my own consumption, but when I found in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained and satisfied myself with berries, nuts, and roots which I gathered from a neighbouring wood”(99). This proves that the monster did in fact know right from wrong as he knew hat stealing the DeLacey family’s food would hurt them.
Mary Shelley purposely created the monster as a hated, abandoned creature to prove that morals can be learnt with the wrong type of nurture. These morals and this personality that was formed may have some flaws or defects but it is proven in the novel that the monster truly wants to be nice but the fact that Victor was not the one that nurtured him changed him to go against mankind. Aside from the incorrect nurturing, the monster did know the difference between right and wrong, he just chose to do wrong.
Victor abandoning the monster led to the discussion bout whether the surroundings that helped nurture the monster are actually considered nurture. Topic Sentence: Victor Frankenstein abandoned the monster which led to the monster having to be nurtured by his surroundings. Counter Argument: It is often brought up that children get abandoned by their parents a lot and some can still grow up as good children. Parents and family are the nurture in one’s life. Textual Evidence: “Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? (119).
Analysis/ Connections: What the argument overlooks is that Frankenstein’s monster is not like any other child. The monster was made as an adult without knowledge. The monster had to teach himself the entire English language as well as learn how to write and learn about the world. With all of the evidence in the novel, we know how intelligent the monster is. The definition of nurture is encouraging the growth or development of someone or something. The monster evidently grew and developed from watching the DeLacey family.
The argument against this overlooks the exact definition of nurture. Although the way the monster was nurtured was not ideal for a normal lifestyle, it is still proven that a form of nurture was received. Topic Sentence: A personality is formed by the nurture received; the monster looked at his surroundings and learnt from it, all he could. Counter Argument: It is argued that he monster was destructive and murdered all of those innocent people because of the fact that he was not nurtured, it was because of his nature.
Textual Evidence: “As I read, however, I applied much personally to my own feelings and condition. I found myself similar yet at the same time strangely unlike to the beings concerning whom I read and to whose conversation I was a listener. I sympathized with and partly understood them, but I was unformed in mind; I was ependent on none and related to none” (117). Analysis/ Connections: As the monster read these books, he knew that Victor was not supposed to abandon him like he did. Knowing this, the monster had no choice but to learn from his surroundings.
Being similar to the friends one spends most time with is not uncommon. It is proven that everyone tends to pick up habits from the people surrounding them. The monster spent a lot of time around the DeLacey family, learning nurture, but the DeLacey family rejected him along with Victor and the rest of mankind. The monster learnt good habits from the nurture of the DeLacey amily, but the reason he decides to kill is because the people surrounding him are not accepting him for who he is.
This aspect of the novel does not only prove the reason he murdered those people but it also proves that he had an excuse to act destructive. He was not nurtured in the correct way; his aspects on the difference between right and wrong were not exact because of the fact that Victor was not the one nurturing him. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley supports the side arguing that Frankenstein’s monster’s character developed the way it was because of the fact that he was not nurtured correctly. One can form the right morals without being nurtured correctly.
It is up to them alone to make the final decision of what they think is correct. In this case, the monster did learn the correct morals, but because of the incorrect nurturing, he did not use them properly. Secondly, the monster was abandoned by Victor and received no nurturing from his creator. This was the reason the monster acted out and murdered those people. Mary Shelley proves to us that the monster was in fact, nurtured, although nurtured incorrectly. Lastly, a personality is formed by the nurturing that specific person received.
The monster acted out the way he did because he had indirect nurturing, he did not receive the nurture first hand so he did not know how to react to the events affecting his life. The lesson for readers is that everyone receives a form of nurture. It may not be the ideal nurturing for a normal family, but it is a nurture that will help one grow as a person and learn morals. Morals can be taught indirectly from surroundings or learnt directly, from the people one spends the most time with. In the end, what one choses to listen and live by to is decided only by themselves, with the help of the nurturing around them.