Analysing Questionable Motifs in Frankenstein Essay
Discuss and compare questionable motives within ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘In Cold Blood’ The extracts I have chosen are ‘Frankenstein’ (page 102-104) and ‘In Cold Blood’ (page 135-137). My first extract from ‘In Cold Blood’ begins with perry a criminal describing when he is arrested at Mexico city hotel, he expresses himself in a way that portrays his lack of education as well as his continuous frustration with life.
The extract then goes on to present a letter written to Perry from his sister Barbara she begins with phatic conversation and then begins to pick up a more formal type of discourse which suggests to the reader that she is aware other people may be reading her letter ; such as authority figures dealing with her brothers case. The extract from Frankenstein concentrates on the 3rd narrative voice where Victor expresses his resentment towards the creature by which of course the creature responds in a violent manner.
Contextually these extracts could be linked with each other; the Gothic characteristics of Frankenstein could leave the actions of both the creature and Frankenstein justifiable due to the society’s interest in scientific knowledge. Alike Frankenstein ‘In Cold Blood’ uses the science of psychology to analyse whether Perry’s childhood could be held responsible for his sadistic actions.
Resentment, responsibility and justice are some motives which are bought forth in both extracts whereas the creature in Frankenstein has a seemingly justifiable motive to his actions; Perry’s heartless actions have no sense of motivation at all; his actions are cold and unjust. Similarly Victor , the creature’s creator also does not wish to be held responsible for his actions. In ‘Frankenstein’ we see the monster being rejected which inevitably reflects on his rehearsed motives within society for example the murders the creature imposed on the innocent members of the society.
The monster experiences feelings of anger and destruction which develop throughout the novel due to the way he is treated by his peers and his creator. ‘Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed? ’ this quote shows us that the monster was not only very sad but also filled with an overwhelming anger. Mary Shelley portrays the creature as having unclear motives however she allows it to adopt an idiolect which is emotive in a way that expresses his aggravation and current state of seclusion.
The verbs he uses reflects the motive of gaining knowledge. Victor constructed this creature because he was attempting to surpass the boundaries of humanity and access the key to creating new life. The creature in the previous quote is referring to the concept of the pursuit of knowledge. In 1818 when Mary Shelley first wrote this novel she was currently in an era of scientific and Gothic nature which is portrayed vividly in the malicious actions of the creature against society; but also by Frankenstein in his creation of the ‘wretched’ creature.
This resentment becomes much more directed further into the novel ‘I will glut the maw of death, until satiated with the blood of your remaining friends. ’ Personification and hellish imagery portray the creature’s enduring anger. Shelley writes in dual narrative within this extract which allows the reader to focus on the narrative and configure their own personal opinion of the characters, the novel allows this by articulating two different view points via the dual narrative.
Responsibility for your actions is a motive which is repeatedly appealed within this extract of ‘In Cold Blood’; it is evident that Perry does not wish to be held responsible for his actions and his sister can clearly see this ‘I truthfully feel none of us have anyone to blame for whatever we have done with our own personal lives. It has been proven that at the age of 7 most of us have reached the age of reason- which means we do , at this age, understand & know the difference between right & wrong. From the readers prospective we can see that Perry’s sister is trying to make him understand that he has to be held responsible for his actions and it is inevitable that whether or not he can justify his actions, he will suffer the harsh consequence of death; Perry is hung along with Dick at the end of this novel for their malevolent actions.
The problem of upbringing is evident in both ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘In Cold Blood’. In ‘Frankenstein’ earlier on in the novel the monster shows us, in his reflection, that he could be a heartless and cruel being. I could with pleasure have destroyed the cottage and its inhabitants, and have glutted myself with their shrieks and misery. ’ The questionable motive presented to the reader here is insecurity; the fact that the monster could seek pleasure through other’s pain tells us that he is unstable. In this extract the creature becomes this seemingly heartless monster ‘Abhorred monster! Fiend that thou art! The tortures of hell are too mild a vengeance for thy crimes. ’ The effect of being rejected in society has turned the creature into a gluttonous onstrosity, nevertheless readers have sympathy for him as we can see that he is forlorn and has been ‘irrevocably excluded’ and forced to deal with his hellish existence; whereas his own creator perceives him as nothing less than a ‘wretched devil! ’ and does not make any attempt to take responsibility for the actions of his creation. This in itself draws the reader away from having any sort of sympathy for the creator as in his ‘scientific’ position he was all too ready to create new life which is in fact the job of a woman.
He then abandons the creature, this not only allows the reader to sympathise with the creatures actions but it also could be held justifiable for his malicious actions. Frankenstein; by creating the creature; is in effect seemingly attempting to take on the role of a woman by creating this new life. This is essentially playing God as it goes against the natural laws in the creation of life. Averting our attention back to ‘In Cold Blood’ we see the same problem of upbringing.
Whether this can be held responsible for Perry’s actions is questionable. Capote like Mary Shelley uses a dual technique which persuades the reader to sympathise with characters we should only be enraged by. We see two sides of Perry, on one hand we see him as a cold hearted, spiteful killer; yet on the other hand we also see him as a lost cause, he has no one to turn to which causes him to commit such sinful actions. Capote structures the novel in a way that keeps the reader involved.
This is because at the time when the novel was written everyone already knew the outcome of the murder which meant that he had to think carefully with his graphology to in order to produce a successful story. In terms of narrative perspective Capote does not insert his own voice into the novel , instead he uses a third person narrative. The letter from Perry’s sister Barbara is epistolary and gives a separate narrative perspective. ‘Now, first & most important- Dad is not responsible for your wrong doings or your good deeds.
What you have done, whether right or wrong, are your own doing’. Perry’s sister in the letter to him repeatedly stresses the theme of responsibility and the fact that no one is responsible for anyone else’s doing but the person concerned. Her formal discourse is evidently a subdued to the underlining fact that authority figures will be an additional audience. The creatures dialect suggests connotations of religion which can be seen in this quote ‘I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel’ The creature is aware of the mplications of sin, and more so of his actions. He can see that when he was created as Adam was created and had no sin , he also had no sin on himself, however by going out of his way to cause destruction to his creators loved ones he became sinful. ‘Everywhere I see bliss from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. ‘ The creature has a morbidly unfavourable lifestyle, which of course brings about the motive of resentment once again; he also seems to gain comfort from destruction; it is evident that the creature destroys things in an attempt to gain some form of compassion.
In this extract of Frankenstein we see a third person narrative ‘And, oh! That I could, with the extinction of your miserable existence, restore those victims whom you have so diabolically murdered’. This is from the mouth of his creator, the motive we can see here is rage and resentment from Victor towards the creature but there is also the underlining self hatred that the creature has ; this rage we see from the creator is underline for a phenomenal hatred for the creature.
Revenge is a repetitive motive throughout Mary Shelley’s novel; the creature is completely enraged and makes hasty decisions without much thought ,he is a monomaniacal creature by which he tends to be isolated. Mary Shelley uses a vast amount of emotive language to get her point across to the readers, her descriptive and detailed way of writing allows readers to look deeper into the context of the novel; the lonely age of scientific experiment and its effects on society, here we see that Frankenstein is a confused creature who easily loses control of him self.
Frankenstein shows obvious signs of madness as he tortures him self to put his mind into a dark and gloomy place of anger, rage and depression. “I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on. ” Earlier in the novel we see that the creature contains a lot of self hatred. The motive of responsibility is reinforced in this extract of ‘In Cold Blood’ Perry’s sister uses repetition in order to emphasise what she is trying to make her brother understand ‘IT IS NO SHAME TO HAVE A DIRTY FACE – THE SHAME COMES WHEN YOU KEEP IT DIRTY. Although Perry is a cold blooded murder Capote portrays him in a way that leads readers to want to come to terms with his way of thinking and sympathise with him but at the same time, have him take responsibility for his unjustifiable actions. This only confuses the underlining motive here which in my opinion is childhood and the method of upbringing. In my opinion the melodramatic nature of these two novels make them similar in a way.
Destruction and fury are very common characteristics which are seen in the creature throughout the novel, this tells us that there must be a cause for this, the creature longs for company and trustworthy companions. Victor as the creator possesses a self involved persona by which he refuses to take responsibility for his creation which again utters the motive of responsibility , neither Victor nor the creature are willing to take responsibility for the diabolical murders or the castration of the creature.
The real or supposed rights of man are of two kinds, active and passive; the right in certain cases to do as we list; and the right we possess to the forbearance or assistance of other men” this quote from Godwin may well have inspired Mary Shelley when writing ‘Frankenstein’ as it relates to the rights and responsibilities of people ,in terms of ‘Frankenstein’ , the creature would be the subject of this quote. In Cold Blood’ on the other hand explores the motive of justifying and taking responsibility for your actions, Perry seems to be an unstable being alike the creature in Frankenstein; they are both rejected in society. However the creature was abandoned by his creator and then rejected in society where as Perry almost willingly allowed himself to become an outcast. I do believe that everyone is responsible for their own actions to an extent, but I would say that upbringing could have a lasting effect on your actions and may even justify them.