The Role of Poor Parenting in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay

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Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, was raised by a single parent, her father William Godwin. She acknowledges the mentally stimulating role a father plays in the development of a daughter, presumably speaking from personal experience. She declares, "There is a peculiarity in the education of a daughter, brought up by a father only, which tends to develop early a thousand of those portions of mind, which are folded up” (Veeder). Shelley offers in Frankenstein a portrait of how children’s minds are shape, and ultimately their fates sealed, due to influences from their fathers. Alphonse, Victor’s father, made mistakes in his parenting that negatively shaped the development of Victor’s mind and how he treated other living things.…show more content…
This is suggested again, when Victor confides, "till death she was to be mine only” (Shelley 36). This exemplifies how Alphonse showed Victor, at an early age, how women were to be treated in society. Victor was displaced twice during his adolescence when his father allowed two nonmembers of the family into the house—first Elizabeth, then Justine. Although Victor was not outwardly agitated, these two displacements instilled within him a feeling of loneliness. In short, Alphonse’s dominating role as father led Victor to feel isolated. Alphonse did not think deeply about the impact that adding more members to the family would have on his son. This dominating role can be seen again when Victor is sent off to Ingolstadt, right after his mother, Caroline, died. Victor idolized his mother and was very attached to her. Instead of letting Victor grieve with the family, Alphonse sends him away, leaving Victor to feel more secluded than ever. Victor is isolated from his family and best friend Clerval, which fuels his obsession with creating the monster.
On one level Alphonse is a loving father. He created something – Victor – and did his best to nurture his creation. He tries to care for his family and looks out for their best interest. He routinely worries about Victor when he is at Ingolstadt because he has not heard from him for some time. In his letters to Victor, he emphasizes his hopes that Victor is doing well and wishes him to not forget
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