Do people react to situations from things they learn? People have the ability to react to situations from a hereditary standpoint or the acquired standpoint. This statement is the idea of the nature versus nurture debate and how it affects our lives. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley shows examples of the nature versus nurture debate by showing how the creature wants acceptance and to show that he wasn’t born evil. With nature versus nurture being a widely discussed debate it is easy to tie into different situations.
“The debate within psychology is concerned with the extent to which aspects of behavior are a product of either inherited (i. . genetic) or acquired (i. e. learned) characteristics” (McLeod). There is two sides to the debate nature and nurture. “Nature refers to all of the genes and hereditary factors that influence who we are from our physical appearance to our personality characteristics” (Cherry). Basically saying that the nature side of the debate is about what you get from your parents and your family’s genes. “Nurture refers to all the environment variables that impact who we are, including our early childhood experiences, how we were raised, our social relationships, and our surrounding culture” (Cherry).
The nurture side of the debate is basically the things you pick up from you friends, community, and your environment period. The debate seems to tie into everyday situations like domestic abuse, the way people adapt, retaliate, and their attitudes. “The main question of this debate is whether human behaviors, attitudes, and personalities are the result of innate biological or genetic factors” (Garcia). Humans have built in feelings and actions. They also learn from their surroundings and the people present to observe. In Frankenstein, a monster is created from different parts of different creatures.
The main question is what influences the creature to do bad or good? In the book, the creature showed many examples from both sides of the debate. Sometimes he showed one side of the debate more than the other depending on his actions and feelings. In the novel Frankenstein, the monster displays both sides of the debate but the nature side a little less. With the nature side of the debate being about biology and genetics it is mostly focused on what is already instilled in your body. The brain triggers everything the body does. “Yet is it realistic to believe that single genes can have a major impact on behavior?
Much attention is currently focused on the genes that code for proteins involved in the transmission of electrical signals in the brain” (Davies). Not knowing what brain the creature has explains the doubts of the nature side of the debate. “Also there is a certain level of dopamine that the body produces in the brain for the body to react to certain things” (Garcia). “Researchers identified the DRD4 gene, which regulates levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for giving people a sensation of pleasure in socioeconomic status” (Garcia).
The creature didn’t have these levels of dopamine that is known, so he couldn’t react certain ways to certain things. Genes make people who they are. They make people who they are but not the creature. He really doesn’t have genes to make him up. “Claims” for genes controlling addiction, shyness, thrill-seeking, and most controversially, sexual orientation, in reality these genes have provided little more than tantalizing clues to these traits” (Davies). A few times the monster shows where the nature side of the debate applies to him.
The first time is when Victor finishes making the monster and he lays down to rest but can’t really fall asleep. He finally falls asleep but he is awakened by the feeling of something staring at him. He wakes to find the creature staring at him, admiring him, and then smiling at him. “I startled from my sleep with horror; a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and every limb became convulsed; when, by the dim and yellow light of the moon, as it forced its way through the shutters, I beheld the wretch–the miserable monster whom I had created.
He held up the curtain of the bed; and his eyes, if they may be called, were fixed on me. His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks” (Shelley 44). The creature was not “born” bad or evil. The quote shows that the creature is sweet and doesn’t have bad intentions. This quote also shows his good side because the creature didn’t try to harm Victor as soon as he saw him. Another time he shows that he had good built in him is when he saves a little girl from drowning, but later is attacked by a man with the girl because; He thought the creature was trying to kill the girl.
I was scarcely hid when a young girl came running toward the spot where I was concealed, laughing, as if she ran someone in a sport. She continued her course along the precipitous sides of the river, when suddenly her foot slipped, and she fell into the rapid stream. I rushed from my hiding-place and with extreme labour, from the force of the current, saved her and dragged her to shore… On seeing me, he darted towards me, tearing the girl from my arms, hastened towards the deeper part of the wood” (Shelley 130). The creature knew it was a good thing to save the girl so that’s what he did.
He feels it’s his duty. This action shows that the creature knows good from bad and only has good intentions no matter the consequences nor the actions of others. The nurture side of the debate is also shown in this book. Victor builds a creature knowing that he would not be equal to everyone else around. He still makes him with the intentions of him being beautiful and intelligent. When he creates the creature he sees that the creature isn’t beautiful or intelligent; he hates the creature right away enough to abandon it right away.
Once he separates from the creature, it turns evil and starts to do bad things like murder to get back at Victor. He runs away to find himself hiding out at the De lacey family place. He was hiding out in their shed. He views the family as perfect and having it all together. Being here is where the nurture part of the debate really ties into his life. Here he learns compassion, new languages, the meaning of family, hunger, poverty, and mostly love. He thinks that this family is perfect, but the whole time they have their own problems.
They are very poor and hungry. A considerable period elapsed before I discovered one of the causes of uneasiness of this amiable family: it was poverty, and they suffered that evil in a very distressing degree. Their nourishment consisted entirely of the vegetables of their garden and the milk of one cow, which gave very little during the winter, when its masters could scarcely procure food to support it. They often, I believe, suffered the pangs of hunger very poignantly, especially the two younger cottagers, for several times they placed food before the old man when they reserved none for themselves” (Shelley 99).
Before finding out that they were suffering and hungry he takes their food for himself. The creature knowing that these people we’re going through periods of hunger stopped taking their food and started helping them out. “This trait of kindness moved me sensibly. I had been accustomed, during the night, to steal a part of their store for my own consumption, but when I found that in doing this | inflicted pain on cottagers, I abstained and satisfied myself with berries, nuts, and roots which I gathered from a neighboring wood” (Shelley 99). This is another example of the creature’s good built in.
In conclusion, the nature versus nurture debate shows that it a life is equally filled with nurturing and nature attributes. One can mimic behaviors viewed by those close to them or influential in their growth while others display behaviors unexplained when never exposed to examples. It is nice to know more about the things inherited by people and the things they learn from others and their surroundings. The creature in Frankenstein didn’t have the ability to do this. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley shows examples of the nature versus nurture debate by showing how the creature wants acceptance and show that he wasn’t born evil.