Essay about Language and Appearance in Frankenstein
The individual identified as the monster in Frankenstein demonstrates, through his own problems with understanding and being understood by the world, the importance and power of language on the one hand and of outward appearance on the other. As this essay will show, the novel shows these two factors to have very different functions indeed.
First, let us look at the function of appearance as the monster perceives it. From the first time he views himself in a pool of water, he knows that he has the features which make up a monster. Then he states: "Alas! I did not yet entirely know the fatal effects of this miserable deformity" (p. 109). After this he …show more content…
It is worth mentioning that none of the three books are in their original language: Milton's Paradise Lostis originallly in English, Plutarch's Lives in Latin and Goethe's Sorrows of Werter in German, but the monster finds French translations of all three. This is in accordance with everything else the monster ever learns, except for his experiences of beauty and ugliness, in that it is second-hand information. He learns French through a series of lessons meant for someone else; he has to rely on laboratory notes to understand what he is and where he comes from; he needs the books to learn what life is, and yet, what he gets is still nothing but translations of someone else's observations.
In the beginning of his existence, the monster notices the ractions he elicits from others, and by that he deems himself unfit for social interaction and goes into hiding in a hovel. He nurtures a liking of the De Lacey family based on their looks; they seem benevolent and they are beautiful, especially Agatha. This is evidence that he too can be prejudiced, for how could he know that they are good people while understanding neither their language nor their social patter? Surely