A baby is born helpless in the world, innocent and naive. In the quest for personal development, nature itself was the enemy for Frankenstein’s monster. Mary Shelley compares the helpless creature to that of a baby, and without the help of his creator, has to teach himself about the outside world around him. By using naturalistic sensory imagery and the creature’s personal grown and development, whether he is learning to differentiate between his senses or how to walk, the monster is emphasized as a newborn child. At the start of the creature’s story, the plot was moved solely by the basic human sensations of the creature.
The monster, a newborn, stated that “[a] strange multiplicity of sensations seized [him] and [he] saw, felt, heard, and smelt, at the same time” (lines 4-6). He was only able to use his senses on a primary level and could see only the dimness in the night. There was a personification of the night around him as saying that it “came over [him]” in order to show that the monster could not even tell that darkness was not a living thing (line 10). After seeing strange bodies walking around the woods at the edge of his view, the monster was determined to learn how to walk in order to avoid any danger.
Just as soon as he set his mind to it, he quickly went from walking to running. In doing so, the creature learned to differentiate between his senses and how to control his own body. After learning to walk and control is body, he tried to learn how about the nature around him. The reflection of his internal shift is mirrored in the overall shift in setting from night to day. “[He] was a poor, helpless, miserable wretch; [the] feeling [of] pain invade[d him] on all sides” (lines 36-38). He felt the heat of the rising sun and wanted shelter, felt hunger and wanted food, and felt cold and wanted clothes.
As much as he wanted all these things to quench his desires, his young nature and lack of Receveur 2 general knowledge about the world prevented him from knowing what to do about it. “[He] felt light, and hunger, and thirst, and darkness [. . . but] the only object that [he] could distinguish was the bright moon” (lines 48-51). While growing up and walking, he was still an adolescent. The contrast between his primal senses, the only thing a child can feel, and the imagery of the moon, which showed that he was aging, overall added to his youthful portrayal.
The fact that he was drawn to the bright orb in the sky rather than the hum of desires in his head shows his movement past instincts into intellectual thought. Just like a child, he soon took off running from there. For every desire he had, he manipulated the nature around him to quench it. “[T]he clear stream […] supplied [him] with drink, and the trees shaded [him] with their foliage” (lines 56-58). He perceived light as a canopy which was a “radiant roof” over his head, another personification of nature (line 64). Wanting to convey what they see, children soon learn to talk.
Even the youthful monster wanted to talk to others around him, starting with the animals around him. He began by trying “to imitate the pleasant songs of the birds, but was unable”. When he was not capable, the creature moved on to “express [his] sensations in [his] own mode, but the […] inarticulate sounds” that he made “frightened [him] into silence” (lines 66-70). The child-like nature of the trial and error technique in his learning to talk further exemplified the infant portrayal of the creature. The world can be a harsh reality, and it can be detrimental for a child to face that reality alone.
Frankenstein, having to teach himself the lessons in life, had an extra hard time growing up. The nature fighting his personal growth is further personified by the dark imagery, but even that is not enough to stop him from becoming the mature person he wanted to be. He learns to walk, talk, and differentiate between his senses as well as function at a primal level. It can be argued that the monster was not as monstrous as he seemed to be. Rather he was just a harmless child trying to find his own way in the world.