The Importance of Self-Education in Frankenstein
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein tells a story about the creation and the destruction of a man considered by society to be a “monster”. In the novel there is profound meaning found in the monster’s self-education. Patterned after the evolution of human learning, the monster’s spontaneous learning proceeds through major stages. First, is the accidental discovery of fire followed by the realization of the monster that knowledge yields power.
As with human history, the finding of he element fire is one of the first major steps in the creature’s learning. In the beginning of Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein, the scientist who applies what he has studied, conjoins different parts of corpses by surgical operation and produces a monster with horrible appearance; yet, he forsakes what he has made. Not knowing what to do, the creature wanders in the wildness and suffers from freezing temperature. The serious matter, which it is facing, is how to keep alive. Accidentally, he finds fire. In addition to it, the creature amazingly learns the way of keeping fire.
“One day, when I was oppressed by cold, I found a fire which had been left by some wandering beggars, and was overcome with delight at the warmth I experienced from it. I examined the materials of the fire, and to my joy found it to be composed of wood. I quickly collected some branches; but they were wet, and would not burn. The wet wood which I had placed near the heat dried, and it self became inflamed. I discovered the cause, and busied my in collecting a great quantity of wood, that I might dry it, and have a plentiful supply of fire.”
(Volume 2, Chapter 3, Page 963)
The significant meaning of this paragraph is that the creature learns how to survive by using fire to maintain its life. It echoes development of pre-historical civilization or...