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Frankenstein: A Story of Failed Education

Franklin20's picture

 When reading Frankenstein, I became interested in the notion of viewing Frankenstein as a cautionary tale of failed education.  Specifically, I wondered if we could consider the Frankenstein creature an example of a failed western education if the Frankenstein creature never had any formal education, but rather was primarily self taught.

 

The one scene were I was particularly drawn to was when the Frankenstein creature talks about his reading Paradise Lost, a canonical English text.  What struck me about the creatures reading is how he incorrectly read the epic poem as historically factual.  He says, "But Paradise Lost excited different and far deeper emotions.  I read it, as I read the other volumes which had fallen into my hands, as a true history" (110).  Whats critical here is how a misreading of a text greatly informed the conditions of the creatures own life.  The creature likens himself to both Adam and Satan, viewing himself as the fallen angle rejected by its creator.  I am not sure whether the creatures vengeful nature that he displays in the book is a product of his likening himself to Satan, to societies treatment of him, or a mixture of both; but what I think is critical is that in this instance, a misreading, miseducation if you will, allowed the Frankenstein creature to better connect with and understand a text.

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