of dun-white sockets in which they were set,

Loneliness, Companionship, and Social Rejection

Frankenstein or
The Modern Prometheus is a masterpiece of Mary Shelley. She writes it when she
was only eighteen years old. The novel examines the themes of loneliness,
companionship and social rejection as the author presents a notable character
to Victor Frankenstein, the monster, and Robert Walton. The purpose of this
essay is to analyze the themes of loneliness, companionship and social
rejection through the use of symbols and other literary devices, which show the
agony and loss as the three characters experience these feelings. Mary Shelley
uses imagery, irony, and symbolism that set up the themes.

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The themes are
shown through imagery as the monster, Victor, and Robert experience how the
society casts them. The monster’s horrendous appearance makes the society
disgust him that even his creator, which is Victor get terrified upon seeing
him. This can be seen when Victor describes his creation: “His yellow skin
scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a
lustrous black and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but this luxuriance
only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of
the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled
complexion and straight black lips” (Shelley 42). The monster’s strange
physical appearance makes the society terrorize, mistreat and reject him. It
becomes his main barrier as the people are used to judge the outward appearance
without looking at its inner surface.

As it happens,
not only the monster experiences the rejection and loneliness, but also his
creator, Victor Frankenstein. He has this eagerness to learn science that
resulted in creating the monster. It is his way of shaking off the loneliness
and other negative feelings which is seen when he is creating the monster: “My
cheeks had grown pale with study … and the moon gazed on my midnight labors
while with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness … My limbs now tremble and my
eyes swim with the remembrance … my eyeballs were starting from their sockets
on attending to the details of my employment” (Shelley 39). As it shows the
process of how he creates the monster, Victor’s knowledge of science and his
hunger to create a human, give him the power that results in loss and death of
his family because of his carelessness to his creation. Also, his obsession
with scientific knowledge separates him from his social life, as he is the one
who isolates himself from everything.

In addition,
Robert Walton has the desire for knowledge too that makes him explore and reach
the North Pole: “I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which
braces my nerves and fills me with delight. Do you understand this feeling?
This breeze, which has traveled regions towards which I am advancing, gives me
a foretaste of those icy climes. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my
daydreams become more fervent and vivid” (Shelley 1). As Robert Walton chases
his dreams and discovers new places, his knowledge and position leave him a gap
between his shipmates. He thinks that his shipmates are too uneducated to share
his dreams and feelings. In brief, Mary Shelley uses the three male characters
to express and build the themes through their senses which give vivid and real
imagination to the reader.

Shelley also uses irony to show how the three male characters are seeking
companionship to build relationships so that they can connect their feelings
and thoughts. The monster does not choose to look horrible and get rejected. He
feels unconnected and seeks companionship and understanding from human society
and Victor which is seen:

I endeavored to
crush these fears and to fortify myself for the trial which in a few months I
resolved to undergo; and sometimes I allowed my thoughts, unchecked by reason,
to ramble in the fields of Paradise, and dared to fancy amiable and lovely
creatures sympathizing with my feelings and cheering my gloom; their angelic
countenances breathed smiles of consolation. But it was all a dream; no Eve
soothed my sorrows nor shared my thoughts; I was alone. (Shelley 111)

The monster feels alone and is
looking for a living creature that will give the care and understanding, which
his creator and the society have not given to him. It also leads the monster to
learn things just by himself.

Not only the
monster is seeking companionship but also Robert Walton. He mourns the absence
of a friend in his life. This is seen when he is updating his sister through a

But I have one
want which I have never yet been able to satisfy, and the absence of the object
in which I now feel as a most severe evil. I have no friend, Margaret when I am
glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my
joy, if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in
dejection… I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose
eyes would reply to mine. (Shelly 4)

Robert Walton cannot find a
companion in his shipmates because of his position as their captain. He shows
his depression as he has no one to share his feelings and no one can relate to
him because of his knowledge. The knowledge separates him from his mates.

 On the other hand, Victor is stuck with his
emotions as he receives a letter from his father about his brother’s death,
William. This is seen when Victor is on his way home: “My journey is
melancholy. At first, I wished to hurry on, for I longed to console and
sympathize with my loved and sorrowing friends; but when I drew near my native
town, I slackened my progress. I could hardly sustain the multitude of feelings
that crowded into my mind” (Shelley 58). Victor is questioning himself how his
brother died. The questions that have filled his mind which causes him to
return home slow. It is so mysterious to him. 
The punishment that Victor faces in being blinded in creating and not
understanding the monster is the loss of happiness, downfall, and destruction
of his family. Furthermore, Mary Shelley uses irony that keeps the reader
intrigued as far as the themes are concerned. It also helps as the story
becomes more interested and the three male characters experience struggles just
to feel connected.

Other than
imagery and irony, Shelley also uses objects as a symbol that represents the
themes. To prove it, as the monster is looking for his mate, the symbolism of a
window often takes place when this happens. This can be seen when Victor is
working on the female monster that he and his creation’s deal up, while the
monster is watching him through the window: “I trembled and my heart failed
within me, when, on looking up, I saw by the light of the moon the demon at the
casement. A ghastly grin wrinkled his lips as he gazed at me, where I sat
fulfilling the task which he had allotted to me” (Shelley 145). Victor realizes
that creating the female monster is one of the ways to make sure that his
family remains safe. Apparently, he thinks that the female monster might cause
more conflicts and struggles rather than cause resolutions.

Likewise, the
monster feels inspired and envy at the same time by the De Lacey family, as he
sees the care and love that they have for each other. This is seen when monster
observes the De Lacey family through a window:

I have found
that one of the windows of the cottages had formerly occupied a part of it, but
the panes have filled up with wood … he raised her and smiled with such kindness
and affection that I felt sensations of peculiar and overpowering nature. They
were a mixture of pain and pleasure, such as I had never before experienced,
either from hunger or cold, warmth or food, and I withdrew from the window,
unable to bear these emotions. (Shelley 89)

Through the De Lacey family, the
monster learns how a family should be. The way how the De Lacey family has
love, care, and support for each other despite their poor situation. It also
triggers the monster to ask a female mate. The window shows significance to the
monster as he watches Victor creating his female mate and observes the De Lacey
family through it.

Victor isolates himself as he spends most of his time in his laboratory. The
laboratory represents Victor’s knowledge, time, and effort as it is one of the
roots why the monster is created: “In a solitary chamber, or rather a cell, at
the top of the house, and separated from all other apartments by a gallery and
staircase, I keep my workshop of filthy creation …” (Shelley 39). Through this,
it shows that Victor is hiding something. He keeps his laboratory separated and
secret, and is the only person who has access to it. He leaves his family and
spends most of his days in his laboratory studying for his creation, that
causes him to isolate himself. It is also evident by the lack of visitation and
letters from the family, which suggests his focus and interest in science other
than anything else.

Moreover, Robert
Walton feels alone and has no one to get along with. The only person he has is
his sister but too far away from him. The only communication he has is through
the letter. The significance and meaning of the letter shifts throughout the
novel. In the beginning of the novel, the four letters of Robert to his sister
is about his voyage, lack of companion and when he finds Victor Frankenstein
nearly frozen in his voyage towards the North Pole:

Good God!
Margaret, if you had seen the man who thus capitulated for his safety, your
surprise would have been boundless. Her limbs were nearly frozen, and his body
dreadfully emaciated by fatigue and suffering … we accordingly brought him back
to the deck and restored him to animation by rubbing him with brandy and
forcing him to swallow a small quantity. As soon as he showed signs of life we
wrapped him up in blankets and placed him near the chimney of the kitchen
stove. (Shelley 10)

Through Robert’s action of
kindness, it clearly shows how the absence of a companion effect on him. His
longing to have a friend shows on how he takes care of Victor, and is looking
forward to be Victor’s friend. At the end of the novel, Robert Walton continues
the story in the form of letter to his sister about how the dangerous knowledge
leads to tragedy and failure, the death of Victor Frankenstein and the
unfinished business of Victor to the monster as he wants Robert Walton to carry
on. Apparently, as stated in the final letter, the monster regrets what he has
done, ready to die and says:

I am content to
suffer alone while my sufferings shall endure. When I die, I am well satisfied
that abhorrence and opprobrium should load my memory. Once my fancy was soothed
with dreams of virtue, of fame, and of enjoyment. Once my falsely hoped to meet
with beings who pardoning my outward form, would love me for the excellent
qualities which I was capable of unfolding… (Shelley 196)

The letter shows the perspective of
a person from one another and gives importance as a way of communication.
Through this technique, it helps the reader to understand the narration of the
novel as it is subjective because of the character’s absorption. Through this,
the letter represents the realness of a character as Robert Walton uses letters
to share the important information about Victor Frankenstein. Overall, Mary
Shelley conveys the themes through symbolism as it helps to establish the
meaning and importance of an object that is connected to the three male
characters and to the themes.

In conclusion,
the literary devices show a great importance and significance of the three male
characters as they undergo such hardships just to feel they belong, which also
establish the themes of loneliness, companion, and social rejection. The themes
of loneliness, companion, and social rejection are three of the most important
themes in the novel. It also follows a pattern that is repeated in the novel.
Victor Frankenstein chooses to isolate himself because of his desire for
scientific knowledge that leads to disaster. Robert Walton has the passion for
science too like Victor, but pursuit it knowledge that represents a good human
being. The monster which he tries to fit into the society like other people,
but his hideous appearance becomes the main reason why people keep pushing him
back away from them. In this case, Should Victor create the monster or not?







Works Cited

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein; with a new foreword by Walter James Miller and an
afterword by Harold Bloom. 2000.


DeWall, C. Nathan, and Brad
J. Bushman. “Social Acceptance and Rejection: The Sweet and the Bitter.” Current
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Theme of loneliness and
rejection. In: UKEssays. https://www.ukessays.com/essays/literature/theme-of-loneliness-and-rejection.php.
Accessed 7 Jan 2018


Brannstrom, Carina. “An
Analysis of the Theme of Alienation in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Diva
Portal, Lulea University of Technology, 2006, www.google.ca/url?sa=t=j==s=web=1=rja=8=0ahUKEwjz7O2f0NDYAhWM34MKHXjiCAIQFggqMAA=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.diva-portal.org%2Fsmash%2Fget%2Fdiva2%3A1016264%2FFULLTEXT01.pdf=AOvVaw3dSk_tTtnM-iHiYbWNC5Ry.


DISTANCE IN ‘FRANKENSTEIN.'” Studies in the Novel, vol. 6, no. 4,
1974, pp. 408–417. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/29531685.


Veeder, William. “Modern
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