Doctor Victor Frankenstein, the protagonist in Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, attempts to create a human but fails only to make a monster. The creature faces constant and violent rejection because of its ugly and different looks even from its creator Doctor Frankenstein. It goes lengths to get accepted by the people by learning the human language to have a connection with the people. Even though the monster was compassionate, intelligent and eloquent, people still judged it by the physical appearance. This led to the monster's isolation from society in Frankenstein, his loneliness and misery which turned it into an actual monster. The beast punishes its creator for creating and neglecting it by causing him grief and pain. Peer perception affects personal development in many ways, including a change of self-perception, change in behavior, personality, feelings, and lifestyle.
Frankenstein: Victor and Society Are the True Monsters
An individual's environment significantly contributes to one's perception. This goes on to influence one's behavior and personality. According to Zimbardo, a psychology professor, one does not need a motive; all that is needed is a situation that facilitates moving across that line of good and evil. Many times, society drives good people into becoming monsters for all the wrong reasons. For example in modern society people are judged by race, financial well-being and even physical appearance. Doctor Frankenstein's monster was a victim of its peer's perception and society in Frankenstein. Shelly wrote of an incident when the creature was saving a young girl from drowning in a river when a man approached and grabbed the girl and ran away assuming the monster was attacking the girl and only, later on, shot at the beast (Shelly 143). The creature became more and more segregated from people because of the discrimination and attacks it faced. After going through prejudice and bad experiences, the beast finally turns violent and starts killing people. This shows that it was pushed to a breaking point by the actions of the people and its creator.
The Consequence of Victor Frankenstein Not Taking Responsibility for His Creature
At most occasions, people are responsible for creating monsters in society. Doctor Frankenstein wanted to create a human, but when he failed in his effort to create a beautiful human and created a monster, he chose to run away from his mistake instead of taking responsibility and nurturing the monster. The prejudice to the creature begins with the creator even though he considered his time and effort to create it. The creator is repulsed by the beast and flees instead of taking time to know and nurture the beast. This haunts Doctor Frankenstein at the end where the creature kills his newlywed wife Elizabeth and his brother William. This example shows that people are mainly responsible for the monsters and their monstrosities in society that led to conflicts in Frankenstein because victor didn't take responsibility.
The Creature Rejected by Society in Frankenstein
Humans cannot wholly be blamed for being cold to different people. This is because humans are naturally biased to people that are not the same as them, and the creature was very much different from them. De Lacey in the novel Frankenstein says that “Do not despair. To be friendless is indeed to be unfortunate but the heart of men, when unprejudiced by any obvious self-interest, are full of brotherly love and charity” (Shelly 136). De Lacey puts it clear that men are full of love to people they consider brothers and show that humans possess natural compassion for other humans and this does not apply to the creature. Learning how to communicate was not enough for the creature to be part of human society.
Human beings are significantly influenced by how people perceive, react and feel about them. According to Kowalski et al. perception of interest, approval, and acceptance revoke a different reaction from if a person perceives rejection, disapproval, and disinterest (Leary 145). Adverse responses from other people take many forms disinterest, criticism, discrimination, avoidance, rejection, betrayal, stigmatization, exclusion, mistreatment, desertion, abuse, bullying, and a range of minor insults and snubs. Anger and aggression are typical responses to rejection. Leary MR in his review, Interpersonal rejection as a determinant of anger and aggression, found a constant relationship between rejection and hostility though they were unable to conclude rejection elicited aggression (Kowalski et al. 167). People have a variety of adverse emotions like jealousy, sadness, anger, loneliness and the predominant is hurt feelings. Studies show that hurt feelings is a distinct negative emotion that is associated with feeling devalued, unwanted, and rejected. This hurt feeling can be seen manifested in Doctor Frankenstein's monster after facing numerous rejection by the people.
In conclusion, the essay highlights that peer perception affects personal development in many ways, including a change of self-perception, change in behavior, personality, feelings, and lifestyle. People's reactions have a substantial impact on people's thoughts, emotions, motives, and behavior. For self-development considering peer perception, one needs to have a healthy self-image and unwavering character to withstand all the challenges. Peer perception should be an aiding factor and not the primary factor to self-development since it's volatile and can change anytime.The creature failed to realize that there was more meaning to its life than what the humans thought of it and ended up bitter and vengeful. The monster was rejected by society in Frankenstein.
Kowalski, Robin M. et al. "Lying, Cheating, Complaining, And Other Aversive Interpersonal Behaviors: A Narrative Examination Of The Darker Side Of Relationships." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 20.4 (2003): 151175. Web.
Leary, Mark R. Interpersonal Rejection. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Susan J Wolfson. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. Print.
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