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Frankenstein

Frankenstein

by Mary Shelley

Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

My days were spent in close attention, that I might more speedily master the language; and I may boast that I improved more rapidly than the Arabian, who understood very little and conversed in broken accents, whilst I comprehended and could imitate almost every word that was spoken. (13.12)

Okay, we can't exactly blame Mary Shelley for being just as racist as every other English person in the early nineteenth century, but we still can't help rolling our eyes a little: even a monster is better at speaking Western languages than an "Arabian."

Quote #2

Another circumstance strengthened and confirmed these feelings. Soon after my arrival in the hovel I discovered some papers in the pocket of the dress which I had taken from your laboratory. At first I had neglected them, but now that I was able to decipher the characters in which they were written, I began to study them with diligence. It was your journal of the four months that preceded my creation. (15.8)

This is a communication that both the monster and Victor probably wish they'd never read. Some things shouldn't be done—and some things shouldn't be written down. (Pro tip: never, ever, ever write down anything you don't want someone else to see. Especially if you're texting or emailing it.)

Quote #3

And what was I? Of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant, but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. (13.17)

Without language, the monster has no way of knowing anything about the world except what he learns himself. Is he better discovering things for himself? Compare Victor, who gets seduced by all those crazy books he reads as a kid. It seems like Shelley may have some conflicted feelings about writing.

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