Wish Fulfillment in Mary Shelly's Gothic Novel, Frankenstein
Everyone stores hidden desires, ambitions, fears, passions and irrational thoughts in his or her unconscious mind, according to Freud's psychoanalytical theory. These secret feelings, often stemming from a person's childhood, can manifest themselves in odd and sometimes extreme ways. This phenomenon is called wish fulfillment. We do not always fully understand why we make the decisions that we do in life, but a certain amount of these choices can be accredited to wish fulfillment. Mary Shelly's gothic novel Frankenstein illustrates several accounts of wish fulfillment through the actions of Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein in an effort to satisfy their various needs.
Robert Walton was raised by his uncle after his father died. On his deathbed, Walton's father entreated his brother not to allow Robert to pursue a seafaring life. Robert instead became a poet so that he "might obtain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated" (Shelley 16). Unfortunately, Robert was very unsuccessful in this task because it was never his true calling. Walton was consumed by regret as a child "on learning that [his] father's dying injunction had forbidden [him] to embark in a seafaring life" (Shelley 16). This regret caused Robert to only desire sailing, and so he fulfilled this wish by pursuing a career on the open seas.
Another unfulfilled desire for Walton is his need for a friend. He explicitly states in a letter to his sister, "... I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy... I greatly need a friend who would have sense enough not to despise me as a romantic, and affection enough for me to endeavor to regulate my mind" (Shelley 18,19). Walton's life has lacked true companionship, and as a result he frantically seeks out this...