Mary Shelley, the “founding mother of science fiction”, obviously lived a life filled with struggle. Her mother died when Mary was only three days old. Her surviving father disowned her after the elopement of her and her husband, Percy Florence. She then lost her husband and three of her children, all by the age of twenty-four. Not surprisingly, she battled serious depression off and on for most of her before she passed away in 1851 at the age of fifty-four. It is believed that her sad life led to the mood of her well known story, Frankenstein. In the story, Shelley’s main character, Victor Frankenstein, creates a creature that, in the end, wreaks havoc on all that Frankenstein knows and loves. The Creature performs all of his evil deeds only out of the revenge he seeks from his creator for abandoning him. One might easily connect this theme of abandonment to Shelley’s real life abandonment issues that were caused when her father disowned her.
However, Shelley’s depicted creature character was not a monster in the beginning of the story. He was “born” into the world extremely innocent and simply curious. He described to Frankenstein his delight of discovering birds for the first time. Referring to the birds, he stated “I tried to imitate the pleasant songs but was unable” (91). The creature possessed traits at the beginning of the novel much like that of a young child. He was extremely eager to learn and explore the everyday motions of life. When he happened upon a family of cottagers, he developed the skills of speaking and reading within only months. Other early traits of the creature included his loyalty to the cottagers, his willingness to help, and his dire need for friendship. He so longed to only be loved, just as he watched the cottagers love one another. However, his atrocious outward appearance kept him from acquiring any friends, which eventually added to the cause for his evil deeds.
Before he decided to turn away from humanity, he put forth an extreme amount of effort to help his beloved cottagers that had never laid eyes on him. He would spend a large percentage of his day foraging for food and firewood in the forest for them. After these instances, the cottagers (also referred to in the story as the De Lacy family) thought of the creature as a “good spirit” (102). In the novel, when relating his past to Frankenstein, he said “when they were unhappy, I felt depressed; when they rejoiced, I sympathized in their joys” (100). This statement is evidence of the kindness and empathy the creature was capable of. Another strong suit of the creature was his intelligence. Shelley goes into great detail throughout the novel