The Pursuit Of Happiness In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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The children come thick and fast for David and Harriet, with babies one to four being born between pages 24-30, and these first four deliver the idyllic bliss that D&H have been hoping for. The holophrastic 'Happiness!' defines the birth of Luke, and David exhibits a 'fierce possessiveness for ... not the baby, but happiness'. Happiness being presented as a concrete noun makes it sound as if it is something you can purchase from a shop. There is a sense that having a child is a way of David and Harriet creating and controlling their own happiness. Obviously we do have some power to control our own emotions, but this power is limited by circumstance. For example, I try to control my own happiness by filling my freezer with ice cream, but my…show more content…
The first of these is to consider the baby to be like Frankenstein's monster - a blank canvas whose mistreatment turns him to violence: 'I am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind?' The unnamed monster's violent deeds are a result of his mistreatment by Frankenstein and Ben could be considered in the same way even if the initial rejection does happen in the womb. The other interpretation is to consider whether good and evil traits are not as simple as that - it seems like a depressing alternative to believe that someone can be naturally evil, but it does hold with it the notion of natural goodness also. The boys in Lord of the Flies demonstrate this natural goodness and evilness for when they are free from society, their arguably natural goodness (seen in Ralph, Simon and Piggy) is revealed, but also the natural evil (seen in Jack, Roger and most of the boys) is also revealed. The one other direction we can take our interpretation is to reject this is a realist text and consider to be a fantastical story presenting issues for society to consider. For example, if Ben is not a real 'type' but rather represents dysfunction, then society is asked what it does with this dysfunction. This view also lets David and Harriet off the hook, questioning society's treatment of them as parents of a dysfunctional child, rather than questioning their parenthood. Harriet knew that Ben was going to be different compared to the other
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