In society, an outsider is banished or exiled from the norm. This is due to certain aspects of the person which are abnormal. It can be appearance, personality or certain abilities that make them separate from humanity. People within civilization, though they may not know it, need outsiders to feel secure in their hierarchy. Uniting in prejudice against an outsider helps support the balance within the hierarchy. This is why they need outsiders to function accordingly. Frankenstein’s creation is an excellent example of this. The era Mary Shelley lived in was on a brink of a huge revolutionary movement called the Romantic.
This period in time had an increasing interest in the nature and the thirst for knowledge. Mary Shelley also gives examples in the growing awareness of scenery and how the correct type of scenery can create a gothic atmosphere. She uses an isolated laboratory for the building place of the creation ‘the dissecting room and the slaughter house furnished many of my materials’, a bleak hut for the hiding place of the creation ‘and the death of William is in a wood. None of these places that involve the creation would help him understand the notion of love, care and security. This starts to bring up the notion of an outsider.
On the whole, this movement influenced a lot of the gothic atmosphere and the idea of nature versus nurture used in the novella. At first, Frankenstein’s creation may appear to be a monster. ‘His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness’. This stark contrast implies that the monster is alarming at first glance and is bound to be an outsider. This explores part of the social and historical context, by exploring scenery and nature. However, the creation is not monstrous.
Though he is very adult like in his appearance, he is very baby-like and unable to think or even stand for himself. ‘His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. ‘ This proves he is very vulnerable and lacks the realism of what the norm would call reality. He sees Frankenstein as newborn human or animal would see their mother. Nonetheless, Frankenstein is still too traumatised by the manifestation of the creation to see past this. On the night of the creation’s birth, Shelley uses adjective, adverbs and writing techniques to attain a gothic affect.
She sets the scene firstly, by using nature in juxtaposition with the idea of creating life in an unnatural way and the mood of the characters. She starts ‘it was on a dreary night of November’ which links in with the idea of the creation being a negative creature. The time and place of the creation is also an important aspect of the gothic feel of the birth, ‘it was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out’ gives the atmosphere a dark and bleak feeling, making it more dream like to Frankenstein.
Shelley begins to use more powerful images of scenery as she explores the growing interest in nature. He is soon brought back to reality when the creation is born. Not the sort of environment the birth of life would usually be. This links back to the creation being an outsider even from birth. Being rejected by his creator eventually leads the creation to be rejected by society. The creation, with no food or shelter, then flees the town of which he was first brought to life and takes refuge in an outbuilding of a hovel owned by the De Lacey family.