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Isolation and Community in Frankenstein

            In Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," isolation is a key theme that reveals the importance of community. Shelley's personal life had a considerable impact on her work. Her mother died early and her father rejected her as a young adult. Furthermore, she was physically secluded from the outside world when she was writing the short version of Frankenstein. The solitary background of Shelley influenced the development of the characters in her novel as both Frankenstein and his creation suffer physical and emotional consequences from isolation. Frankenstein deliberately separates himself from his family in pursuit of the highest level of knowledge–the creation of life. The creature, on the other hand, experiences seclusion through his creator's abandonment and the harsh reality of the world. Both characters are neglected by society. The difference between the two characters' isolation is that one is self-inflicted while the other is imposed by outside forces. Walton, in contrast, chooses to embrace his own community which leads to his survival. Rather than describing the importance of community, Shelley shows its significance by depicting the negative aspects of its absence. .
             The self-inflicted isolation of Dr. Frankenstein that leads to his downfall shows the importance of community. To acquire higher knowledge, he arrives at the college of Ingolstadt where he develops a profound interest in the creation of life. His search leads him to become distant from his family and his health suffers. The extreme focus on his work can be seen through his own words: "The summer months passed while I was thus engaged, heart and soul, in one pursuit" (Shelley 33). Likewise his health deteriorates: "Every night I was oppressed by a slow fever, and I became nervous to a most painful degree" (Shelley 34). The main reason behind Frankenstein's separation from his family is his goal to improve society.

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