Identity in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein Essay

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Who am I? What defines a person or an object? What is an identity? Merriam-Webster defines identity as "a distinguishing character or personality of an individual" ("Identity"). Nationality, family, gender, socioeconomic level, accomplishments, downfalls, personality, and physical appearance are qualities that characterize Americans. When each of these characteristics are viewed together, a unique individual is formed. However, in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein's creation is not identified by all of these characteristics. He is not defined by many of them because they do not exist in his life. The domestic void in the creature’s life creates a barrier between him and the rest of civilization. Victor’s creation…show more content…
However, the place in which a person learns is not an identifying characteristic. If a human being is educated in Oregon, but is from Washington, they are not an Oregonian; they are defined as a Washingtonian. A person with no ancestral heritage also does not have a familial identity. They are nobody’s son, daughter, brother, or sister. Every human being is created by two people and will always be characterized as their parent’s son or daughter; they can always be identified by their relationship to the people who created them. His creator does not wish to have a relationship with him. The creature recalls that he has "no father [who] watched [his] infant days [and] no mother had blessed [him] with smiles and caresses" (81). Without "mutual bonds" (81) with others, the creature has an alienated existence from human beings; he is not anyone’s son. The creature longs to be part of a domestic circle, like that of the De Lacy family. Victor’s initial reaction to his creation is the first taste of what the world has to offer the creature, an identity. However, this is not the identity that the creature wishes to posses. He desires to be someone’s son, yet when he goes to Victor for this relationship, he is rejected. In the beginning of the creature’s existence he has "one hand…stretched out" (35) to reach towards his creator. This is parallel to a Sistine Chapel painting in which Adam reaches out to God. However, there is a significant difference in the
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