Frankenstein and If Nights Could Talk
Even though most people associate the word "monster" with ghouls, goblins, and other creations of the horror genre, monsters can exist in the more common shape of human beings. People who have suffered sexual abuse, people who suffered neglect as children, and people who have chemical imbalances in their brains have committed worse crimes than Bram Stoker's Dracula ; Adolf Hitler seems more of a monster than Mary Shelley's. However, most people who can behave so horribly towards other humans were not born monsters; rather their experiences and relationships molded their hideous forms. As Shelley's Frankenstein and Marsha Recknagel's memoir If Nights Could Talk demonstrate, the experiences of those who care for these creatures affect their fates as well.
Mary Shelley, or perhaps Victor, neglects to give the monster a name and refers to him as "the monster" or "the daemon" throughout the novel, however he does not truly become a monster until he commits William's murder. The monster had no murderous impulses when first created; Victor simply called him so because of his hideous appearance. While spending his first night alone in the forest, the monster felt "...half frightened, as it were, instinctively, finding myself so desolate...but feeling pain on both sides, I sat down and wept" (Shelley 71). Like a child, though not in the shape of one, the monster helplessly suffered as he tried to find his way in a strange world without a parent to guide him. When he finally finds himself at De Lacey's cottage, the monster shows interest in humanity and a longing to become a part of society. He reads Milton's Paradise Lost, Plutarch's Lives, and Goethe's Sorrows of Werter which foster in him a curiosity about his creation. He grows to care for the cottagers; at first he became accustomed to stealing food from them "...but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained" (78). Only after the monster loses his relationship with the cottagers and receives as recompense for saving a little girl from drowning "...the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and bone" (101) does the monster begin to hate the human race. He kills William out of rage for his creator who punished him with life. As his "father," Victor receives responsibility for the monster's actions because Victor did not fulfill his obligations to his creation, to provide the monster with guidance and introduce him to society.
Like the monster, Jamie's experiences with his parents etched his monstrous form. Practically abandoned by his mother and father, he became unable to cope with daily life and retreats into the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Tentatively he asks Marsha, "Sometime could you explain to me about what's normal?" (Recknagel 155). He feels ashamed because "Even how many movies to rent at one time was a question for him" (155). Also...