Religion2 Essay

This essay has a total of 1778 words and 8 pages.

Religion2



Religion
Everyone has felt somewhat out of place at one point or another in his or her life. How
does one feel when he or she has no one to turn to? Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and
Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter" are both works that give the reader a chance
to observe how individuals feel and act when they are placed in an isolated position.
Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is a book about a creature that is alienated from society due
to his repulsive outward appearance, and Hawthorne's story gives the account of a
beautiful lady who cannot have social acquaintances because of her fatal physical
qualities. Frankenstein's creature's isolation is turned into rage, while Beatrice,
Rappaccini's daughter, reverts her alienation into depression. Both Mary Shelley's
Frankenstein and Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter" show how alienation affects the
mental outlook of two individuals in similar situations.

Alienation is when one feels overly oppressed because he has no one to relate his feelings
and thoughts. One of the major reasons the teenaged students at Columbine High School
went on their murderous spree was because of their isolation from the rest of the
students. The murderers felt like they held no common ground with the rest of their
peers; their lifestyle of computer games and Internet usage was ridiculed. The lack of
social interaction builds their feelings up inside. What happens when these feelings
overload the mind? The inner emotions build up until the person lashes out, just like the
students at their high school and like the creature on his creator's friends and family.
This anger and rage is a vent for all the thoughts that they have had to keep to
themselves.

Victor Frankenstein deserts his creature, left out in the world to fend for himself. The
creature's initial alienation is felt when he first reaches the outside world. The
creature's first encounter with humankind occurs at the cottage in the woods. He knows he
cannot directly ask for their help because he is so frightening; therefore, he takes
residence in a deserted shack. He tries to win the families' heart by doing good deeds.
The creature goes out in the middle of the night and harvests the crop, saving the family
for the winter. The creature is considered the "Good Spirit of the Forest," only because
he is yet to be seen. McCloskey writes, "after a year's secret observation of the idyllic
life of the cottagers, he tries to reveal himself to them in perfect goodwill" (McCloskey
129). After being seen by the rest of the family, the family forgets about his good deeds
and torments him. McCloskey further states that "through the blind father of Felix had
just told the monster that 'the hearts of men, when unprejudiced by any obvious self
interest are full of brotherly love and charity,' charity horror and fear have quickly
dissipated these kindly virtues" (McCloskey 130). McCloskey points out "society,
represented by the other cottagers who, thought not blind physically, are blind to their
traditional, irrational prejudices, proceeds to destroy the monster's virtuous
inclinations and intentions, by the horror, fury and hate of their present reactions
toward him" (McCloskey 135). Rage has grown inside of the "monster," and the only person
he thinks he can turn to to overcome this rage is his creator.

The creature's evil actions toward his creator's friends and family stem from their
countless acts of isolating the "fiend." McCloskey states, "the successive crimes of the
monster result from his repeated rejections from society" (McCloskey 133). "He turns to
evil because he is not treated with reason by men, who, despite his origin, are his
fellow-creatures" (McCloskey 133-4). "The rejection was the turning point, for 'from that
moment the monster declared everlasting war against the species"' (McCloskey 135).
Shelley is conveying to the reader that the madness is not the result of the being but of
the creator of the being. Victor Frankenstein is the one to be blamed for the deaths, not
the monster he has created.

The creature's sole search is for someone that shares his feelings and will have
compassion for him. The creature wants Victor to create a companion, so that he will have
a mate that loves and cares for him. McCloskey sums up the creature's current state by
stating, "all evils come from faults in the social environment, and all evils can be
eliminated by their correction through the use of reason" (McCloskey 135). The creature's
murderous spree results from the outside world rejecting him for who he is. If only
society had given the creature a chance to show his true nature, none of his evil actions
would have came about.

Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter" is another example of how alienation has affected the
mental outlook of a person. Newman says that the main characters in the short story have
two facets. "Each of the four main characters has been seen alternately as admirable or
reprehensible, heroic or villainous, or as fancifully ideal or ironically grotesque"
(Newman 263). Rappaccini is a scientist that "distils these plants into medicines that
are as potent as a charm" (Hawthorne 459). Beatrice is one of these plants. She is
symbolized by a "marble fountain in the centre, sculptured with rare art, but so woefully
shattered that it was impossible to trace the original design from the chaos of remaining
fragments. The water, however, continued to gush and sparkle into the sunbeams as
cheerfully as ever" (Hawthorne 459). Beatrice is a great work of art, but her life has
been shattered by the fact that she is too poisonous to come in contact with any outside
beings. Rappaccini is given the reputation "that he cares infinitely more for science
than for mankind. His patients are interesting to him only as subjects for some new
experiment" (Hawthorne 461). This is Hawthorne's way of showing that Rappaccini is
initially at blame for the situation he has placed his daughter.

Giovanni is confused about what is going on in the garden; Newman says this is "attributed
to a variety of factors-to his immature and destructive Puritanical fears, to his
perverted notions of sex, to an infantile narcissism, and to the corrupted nature of
post-lapsarian man whose response to feminine beauty is tainted with lust" (Newman 267-8).
Hawthorne conveys through Giovanni's thoughts that Beatrice is "a wild offspring of both
love and horror that had each parent in it, and burned like one and shivered like the
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