Isolation can create a lack of human connection, causing alterations in a person’s physiological and mental state.
When a person is alienated from others like themselves then they start to lose strong social networks that they would otherwise get in companionship. While companionship allows a way to share feelings and ideas, isolation places barriers between these interactions, causing only interactions within yourself. This can lead to destructive thoughts and a blurred view of right and wrong. Although people may or may not have chosen a life based on alienation, it can become a recurring problem throughout their lives. In the science fiction novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley uses alienation to show how a person’s psychological state can be altered by not being able to express feeling and ideas with companions.Throughout the scientific novel Frankenstein, Walton displays the struggle of alienation causing problems with finding companionship. For instances, Walton’s thoughts display a significant moral dilemma, for he longs for the power of knowledge and the power of friendship. In the end, Walton must decide which one will make him a happier person in life.
Walton expresses his underlying desire when he states, “the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe evil. I have no friend” (Shelley 10). When Walton says, “a most severe evil,” he is referring to the feeling of alienation. Calling alienation “evil” shows how Walton realizes how people’s desire to discover divine knowledge is actually an evil pursuit and they become separated by this evil nature. Not only does Walton know the harm alienation can cause, he knows the only way to prevent it from encompassing him is by gaining the “object” of companionship. Additionally, Walton notices that companionship can help a person make decisions when he says that there are “unfashioned creatures” that need a companion’s “aid to perfectionate their weak and faulty nerves” (Shelley 16). Saying that humans are “unfashioned creatures” implies that people need others to help polish them into figures that are accepted in society. Companions are needed to help improve human’s “weak and faulty nerves” by building strong social connections and by expressing benevolent feelings towards one another.
All in all, Walton has experienced the struggle of alienation and companionship and has dealt with the consequences of both.In this novel, Victor experiences alienation through his family, scientific work, and even human society, which consequently causes his demise. Victor is a man whose goal in life is to understand miracles of the world, such as creating life. He alienates on himself when he locks himself in a solitary laboratory to create a creature. Without having any human companionship or a way to share his ideas and feelings, Victor’s train of thought digresses into a warped form of right and wrong.
This altered version of right and wrong blurs Victor from seeing the truth of what he is doing. Victor claims that because he pursues divine knowledge, “solitude was his only consolation” (Shelley 60). By implying solitude was his “consolation,” Victor reverses the definition of a prize. Victor starts to believe that being isolated is something that he should embrace as a reward for his intellectual quest. Victor’s values have been altered because of his alienation, so he cannot see the good in things. With no one else to consult about his feeling and desires in life with, Victor only knows the feeling of being isolated, which is not necessarily a good thing. Even though Victor chose alienation, he always blames the creature he created as the reason he is alienated from society.
At first, Victor alienates himself to keep the secret of his creature from his family and friends, but it then evolves into trying to protect the people he loves from his creation. When Victor reluctantly agrees to make a spouse for the creature, he feels as if was “placed under a ban- as if I Victor had no right to claim their sympathies as if never more might I enjoy companionship” (Shelley 101). By believing he has “no right to claim their sympathies,” Victor is under the impression that he can never enjoy companionship again. Because Victor has never experienced a lot of companionships, he does not understand that it relies on forgiveness and trust between two people. Companionship is all about forgiving mistakes and sharing feelings but Victor is scared that they may never forgive or forget what he has done.
Alienation has blocked Victor from experiencing true companionship, causing his viewpoint of reality to be reliant isolation from everything he loves. In addition to Victors and Waltons experiences with alienation and companionship, the creature also displays a reliance on alienation rather than companionship, even if it is not self-imposed. In the novel, the creature is a character who is isolated because of his hideous appearance rather than choosing his separation. In reality, all the creature wants in life is companionship but after having many attempts to try to fit into society, he realizes that humans will never accept him for who he is.
The creature explores many ways to try to make companions but it is always in vain. Even when the creature is first given life, Victor shows no empathy towards the creature and leaves his creation to experience the world in isolation. This upbringing causes problems with the creatures mental state for if his father does not love him then why would any other human.
As a result of this harsh upbringing, the creature starts to wonder if he will ever gain a companion in his life. With the monster believing that life relies on companionship, he is desperate to evade isolation from society by any means possible. The creature tries to befriend some villagers because he realizes that it might be the last chance he has before he becomes the savage society wants him to be. Before his last attempt of gaining companionship, he says “for if I fail there, I am an outcast in the world forever” (Shelley 89). By the creature implying that he is an “outcast” shows how alienated he feels deep down. He knows this is his last resort before he becomes the image society has dealt him.
The physical appearance is an apparent barrier between gaining companionship because it shows that society only deems the beautiful as worthy successors of companions. This displays a key example of how society perceives people different than themselves as people who are unworthy of their love and sympathy. Because of this, Victor’s creation seeks out an equal to himself since he feels that his problem is “no Eve soothed his sorrows nor shared his thoughts” (Shelley 88). When the creature says, “Eve,” he is implying that he is in need of a wife to share his feeling. When Adam was given Eve for companionship from God in the story “Adam and Eve” the creature also believes that Victor, his God, shall give him a companion. His belief is that he shall finally find happiness with a companion, which shall keep him from becoming the savage the world is trying to shape him into.
In conclusion, these three characters all display the contrast Mary Shelley shows between alienation and companionship. In this scientific novel, both Walton, Victor and the creature display the how Mary Shelley uses the contrast between alienation and companionship to convey the idea that companionship can help keep a person’s psychological state stable and healthily. Companions allow a person to express their feeling and ideas, causing the stable balance between right and wrong decisions. All of the characters fail to keep themselves from becoming encompassed by alienation causing them to lack in human connections. Although isolation places barriers between these interactions with others, companionship allows people to express feelings and ideas that can boost a person’s psychological state into something positive and productive. Without any companionship, the characters in the novel develop destructive thoughts and a blurred view of right and wrong, causing them to lose any sort of connection with society.
Even though humans believe that they must be isolated to achieve success in life, they must allow companionship to come into their lives, for it is key to become the person they truly want to be.