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Nature Vs. Nurture (Genesis And Mary Shelleys Frankenstein)

1835 words - 7 pages

Elysia KeithSeptember 21, 2014Encounters: Professor MorefieldNature Vs. NurtureMary Shelley's Frankenstein and Robert Alter's translation of Genesis both support the idea that there are vast variations of evil in the world. However, God, in the book of Genesis makes it clear that human beings are intrinsically evil, while Mary Shelley refutes God's claim. In this paper I argue that Mary Shelley denies Gods' assertion that everyone is born evil, and instead argues one is made evil by the way they are nurtured. I will make this argument first by showing how Genesis argues that everyone is naturally evil from youth. I will then demonstrate, through comparisons between Genesis and Frankenstein, that Mary Shelley made parallels between the two texts. I will conclude by describing the lives of Victor Frankenstein, The Creation and Justine in order to show how Shelley's argument has refuted Gods' theory.Genesis argues that naturally, everyone is evil from youth. Genesis makes this clear by describing the evil acts that each character in the book commits. Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden and The Lord God told them "from the tree of knowledge, good and evil, you shall not eat"(Genesis, 2:7). The serpent convinces Eve that it is okay to eat from the tree despite of what God said. Once Eve realizes that the fruit is good, she shares the fruit with her husband Adam and "the eyes of the two were opened" (Genesis, 3:6) to immense amounts knowledge. Adam and Eve noticed that they were naked and they clothed themselves. God then came down into the garden; furious he gave Men and Women their punishments. Man's punishment is to work in the fields and Woman's punishment is to bear children and have periods. After being left in the world unguided, the human race began committing more violent crimes such as murder.This example of Adam and Eve could be contested by arguing that it was her surroundings (the serpent) that made Eve commit wicked actions. However, there are many more stories in the book of Genesis that portray acts of evil in humans such as; Cain killing Abel, and Canaan raping Noah. All Genesis characters create some kind of evil doings throughout their live which implies that being evil natural for the human race.The book of Genesis states "The Lord saw the evil of the human creature was great on earth and that every scheme of his hearts devising's was only perpetually evil" (Genesis, 6:5). This quote establishes that God sees the entire race as evil, not just one or two people, and that every human action was evil. Therefore, The Lord wipes out the human race with a flood and uses Noah to rebuild society. God soon realizes that every man is capable of this evil and says he will never wipe out humankind again because "the devising's of the human heart are evil from youth"(Genesis, 8:20). With this God suggests that there is no point to wipe out another race because everyone is naturally sinful from birth.The book of Genesis and Mary...

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