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Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein seems to be an exact representation of the ideas of the 17th century philosopher John Locke. In Locke’s “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding,” he talks about the idea that we as humans are all born with a ‘blank slate’ that contains no knowledge whatsoever and that we can only know that things exist if we first experience them through sensation and reflection. In Frankenstein, the monster portrays Locke’s ideas of gaining knowledge perfectly through worldly experience of learning his surroundings. Locke states “…from experience; in that all our knowledge is founded and from that it ultimately derives itself” (Locke 186). He is saying that the only way the human mind can learn and gain knowledge is if it is…show more content…
We as humans reflect on our past unconsciously. We are constantly telling ourselves what we would’ve done differently in a certain situation or maybe what was done well. Using this tool of reflection helps shape and form our future selves for the better. The second example that is more specific is when the monster is staying in the small hovel attached to a small cottage. “I had been accustomed, during the night, to steal a part of their store for my own consumption; but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers…” (Shelley 137). In this experience, the monster started to reflect on what his actions have caused the poor family by stealing their goods they used to survive on. He feels guilty and decides to redeem his actions by providing wood at their door step each night. This use of reflection has taught the monster that his freewill has limitation and that he cannot do certain things without impacting other people around him thus shaping and forming him into a smarter being and at the same gaining knowledge through these experiences. When the creature Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is born, his mind is a ‘blank slate’ with no instinctive principle of life or knowledge. All the knowledge that the monster learns was derived only from his personal experiences and interactions throughout the book. Through my examples, Frankenstein can be easily connected to the ideas and principles about gaining
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