There are often times when your perception if someone can be skewed by their appearance or stereotype. For most, it takes spending time with them and getting to know their abilities and differences to understand who they truly are. The novel Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley tells the story of a scientist, Victor Frankenstein, whose life becomes consumed by a grotesque monster that he has created. The monster gradually learns how to read and write, and after reading Paradise Lost, realizes the horrific manner of his creation and thinks he will be alone for the rest of his life. Although the monster appears hideous and terrifying, all that he hopes for is a female companion that he can spend the rest of his life with. He experiences feelings, sympathy, and revenge. Even though the monster is the science experiment, his inner self has more human-like qualities than the creator.
It becomes clear that there is more within the puzzled together body parts than just a mean creature when his character becomes more developed and we begin to learn about his journey in Germany. After he sees the hurt that he has caused the family he stole food from, he feels terrible and secretly helps them by fetching food and cutting fire wood. He hoped to become friends with them, but as he predicted, they were terrified by the sight of him and rather than getting to know him, sent him away. The fact that the monster wants to have a companion, and feel love with someone similar to himself, shows the human quality of compassion. If he really was as terrible as others thought, there would be no such thing. Even after spending years searching for the revenge of his creator, the story comes to a close as the monster weeps of Victor’s dead body. He realizes and regrets what his rage of revenge turned him into and now that his creator is dead, he wishes to be dead too.
A couple weeks ago I saw the play Our Country’s Good. I’ve never been one to thoroughly enjoy plays but I found it very fascinating. The set was creative and I could tell that each actor spent a lot of time studying and becoming one with their character. The play is about a ship of prisoners and officers from England on the way to Australia to a prisoner camp. One of the officers, Ralph, has the idea of putting on a play as a way of being recognized by his higher authorities. The only problem with this is that they would have to use the prisoners to make the cast complete. The other officers, especially Ross, thinks that this is a terrible idea because the prisoners are inferior and not fit to put together something such as a play. They see it as a complete waste of time and it is a while before they decide to give it a shot.
Although the prisoners seem like useless, filthy criminals, each officer gets to know them for who they truly are, past the harsh attitudes and raggedy clothes. Yes, the prisoners are prisoners because of the actions that they have taken, but the cause of most of those actions trace back to the area that they were born in, or the lifestyle that they have lived in. Most may have been placed into this label without a choice, similar to how the monster in Frankenstein has nothing but a lonely life ahead of him thanks to Victor’s cruel and thoughtless aspirations. While the monster and prisoners are immediately judged at first sight, it becomes clear throughout the play Our Country’s Good, and the novel Frankenstein, that they have so much more to offer than what others think.
I know that in the past I have been one to “judge a book by its cover”, but as I have matured I’ve realized that it is crucial we accept everyone for who they are, not who they appear to be. It is not only important to accept, but maybe even engage in some sort of relationship where you’ll possibly find similarities that you can take and use to grow as an individual. This is a trait that can bring someone the willingness to welcome others, and also accept them for who they are and the life that they live.