Subalternity and Cultural Multiplicity

Foundations of Literary Studies: The Myth of Frankenstein

The monster in Frankenstein attempts to receive enlightenment and education from a European ethnocentric perspective. As he recounts his education from the de Lacey family, the monster learns about humanity and language as Felix teaches Safie, the daughter of a Turkish Muslim father. The oriental Safie was instructed by Felix from Volney’s Ruin of Empires and learned about the “manners, governments, and religions of the different nations of the earth” (108). Even the creature’s method of learning was inferior, as he only learned via “minute explanations” and acknowledged that he “should not have understood the purport of this book” (108). By receiving this Eurocentric, westernized education, the creature is internalizing his inferiority and becoming conscious of his status as an “other” amidst enlightened, rational, European society. The “cursory” history that the monster receives laments the “slothful Asiatics” but lauds the “stupendous genius and mental activity of the Grecians and the…

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Foundations of Literary Studies: The Myth of Frankenstein

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