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Frankenstein - The Quest to Create an Artificial Life

            Mary Shelley's classic novel, "Frankenstein," tells the story of young scientist Victor Frankenstein and his pursuit to create an artificial life. Intrigued as a child with unconventional science, Frankenstein isolated himself from his friends and family because of his obsession to play the role of "god"; he dreamt of giving life to an intelligent, yet unnatural being. After many months collecting pieces of bone, muscle, and flesh from cadavers, Frankenstein sews each piece together forming a hideous monster. Before Frankenstein becomes aware of what he is doing, a bolt of lightning strikes and his creation comes to life. The appearance of the creature as well as the remarkable event that has just taken place overwhelm the scientist so much so that he flees from his apartment and immediately becomes ill with a fever lasting several months (Shelley 48-56). The events which follow the creation of Frankenstein's monster, as well as aspects of Frankenstein's early life and the tribulations his monster endures, are all elements author Shelley experienced. Many of Shelley's experiences in her childhood and adult life, as well as her political views, are all elements the author interjects into her novel, Frankenstein. .
             In the novel Frankenstein, the protagonist's family travel throughout Europe for the first five years of his life. During a visit to Italy, Frankenstein's mother, Caroline, chooses to visit the poor. While visiting a family with five children, Caroline becomes enthralled with a small blond girl. The peasant parents relate to Caroline that the child's mother had died during birth, and when the family is more financially secure, they had agreed to nurse the child. Because the child's father was a Milanese nobleman, his whereabouts are unknown. The novel states, "Whether he had died, or still lingered in the dungeons of Austria was not known. His property was confiscated; his child became an orphan and a beggar.

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