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On September 7th, Dr. Foss began our class session with one of his classic witty jokes, this one about Labor Day (I love these jokes, by the way). After his joke, we started class in a large class discussion about the conclusion of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the author’s portrayal of disability, and some thoughts and comments were spoken about the progression of both characters, Victor Frankenstein and the Creation. Through the analysis of the large group, it was noticed that there were mixed reviews on the progression of both characters, there was more progression in the Creation because of the development of the Creation throughout the book; having turned into a character that readers could fully sympathize with, identify as, or disagree with and Victor having his sort of progression with being more persistent with finding the Creation after the death of Elizabeth and showing more obvious signs of a form of disability according to the book.
The floor was opened to comments about Victor and the Creation’s progressions, and it was recognized that Victor had progressed to a more neurotic and frantic personality as he was trying to hunt down and find the Creation. This was a change to his personality as at the beginning of the book he was more indulged in creating something that was out of the ordinary. Once the Creation was created, he seemed like he was crazed and dealing with a mental disability, he fell ill and feverish and was taking medicine to help with this “fever”. It was depicted in our discussion that Victor was suffering from sociopathy and psychopathy and showed narcissistic values. When Victor received his threat from the Creation about his wedding night, he thought that the Creation was going to attack him. He neglected the fact that Elizabeth would also be there with him, meaning that he was only thinking about himself in that situation.
The other side is the progression or development of the Creation. Throughout the book, we saw a huge development of the Creation, from being created and learning the aspects of life to becoming a lonely murderer that wanted revenge. The Creation showed signs that he was susceptible to being loving and affectionate, this was shown when he would clear the pathway from the house of the blind man and his children and get them wood for their fireplace. The Creation is also shown as an extreme caricature or representation of disability. He just wanted to be accepted in the communities that he went through, but the people or society saw him as ugly or a freak or a monster because of his appearance. Even Victor saw him as a horror and did not want to help him when in need. This can be portrayed in the disabled community, especially those with physical disabilities. They want to be treated the same way able-bodied people are treated but society does not accept them that way. Society creates a stigma that creates a barrier to block disabled people from being accepted. This also compares to the other story that we had read for the day called The Birthday of the Infanta. The dwarf, in the story, was treated terribly in a sense but he was oblivious to this until the end of the story. With these comparisons, readers can empathize with the Creation because they would feel bad for the way he is being treated. The Creation developed into a murderer only because he was hurt over the fact that he was not accepted, and that Victor would not help him be able to not be lonely in his life. I suspect that he did not want to murder those people, but he wanted to make sure that Victor suffered the same way he was suffering.
To wrap up this summary, the class had some mixed answers and comments to the progression of both Victor Frankenstein and the Creation, because both have pros and cons and complexity to their progressive ways. It all depends on which aspect is picked up when the reader is reading. They could empathize with the Creation at one point in the book and disagree with his development and how this is displaying the representation of the disabled community, whereas you could disagree with Victor at the beginning and then understand his representation in the disabled community. The complexity of the two characters shows the similarities and differences in the disabled community.