Nature Vs. Nurture In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

3093 Words13 Pages
Since the time Francis Galton coined the term “Nature vs. Nurture” there has been theories and debates about each side. The debate is focused around the determining or causing factors of the differences in physical and behavioral traits within a human. Nature takes the role of the individual’s innate qualities while nurture bases itself upon personal experiences. Romantic literature is characterized by an emphasis on emotion, passion, and the natural world and gothic novels liked to play with the dark side of human nature and frailty. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein shows elements of both aforementioned and woefully shows humans in nature and human nature. Exploring the nurture side of the debate within Mary Shelley’s world of Frankenstein following…show more content…
Nature becomes a central mother figure for the monster as the natural forces slowly begin to educate the monster to the world around him. This aspect of the novel deals heavily in the power of nature and is directly linked to the Romantic Era in literature that Shelley was writing in. Nature provides the essentials that Frankenstein did not give the monster; food, water, fire and survival. In Maslow ‘s hierarchy of needs within his paper, the most basic need is physiological in which food, water, and shelter are essential. The monster is for the first time since his existence is fulfilled. New to this world, the monster is like a child as is innocent and has yet to be corrupted. Rousseau’s description of human beings, in his work Social Contract and Discourses believes that a man in nature is in the most pure state of nature, uncorrupted by civilization; “Now savage man, being destitute of every species of intelligence, can have no passions save those of the latter kind: his desires never go beyond his physical wants. The only goods he recognizes in the universe are food, a female, and sleep: the only evils he fears are pain and hunger” (Rousseau, The Social Contract and Discourses, 186). The creature is satisfied on the most basic level and is within nature’s cradle, he has yet to lash out at mankind because he is innately
Open Document