Normalism In Frankenstein

1691 Words 7 Pages
The Other, despite its strangeness, functions ironically in the two texts as a parallel to the normal, thus destabilising the normalised and in turn serving as an effective critique of society’s rigid over-simplified belief system – one that involves the flawed tendency to judgmentally delineate what is normal or not.
In Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, the monster as the traditionally conceived Other (arising from its distorted looks) disturbingly mirrors his creator Victor who supposedly is more ‘normal’. Victor, though hailing from a respectable family and being largely assimilated within human society, essentially transmutes into the same ground as the Other through his alignment with the creature. To illustrate, both characters bear striking
…show more content…
Interestingly, Keats, in contrast to Apollonius, does acknowledge the Othered Lamia as fundamentally occupying a place within the scheme of normality. In the poem, he effectively brings out her victimisation through humanising her. As Apollonius persecutes her, she metaphorically shape-shifts into a weak and abused lady, a far cry from her former serpent-like countenance. To illustrate, her “deadly white” (276) face generates the pitiful figure of a pale and terrified woman undeservingly punished. Her agonised state is further exemplified from how Apollonius’ condemning gaze “went through her utterly” (300) as painfully as that of a “sharp spear” (300). The violent image efficiently highlights her tortured state, painting a picture of her soul writhing in anguish under the sophist’s piercing glare. Finally, unable to endure the horrifying torment, she vanished with a “frightful scream” (306), eventually subdued and utterly defeated. All these visual enactments are directed towards the purpose of evoking within the readers sympathy for the unjustly brutalised Lamia – a subjugated Other who has been destroyed by a knowledge-bound society that over-generalises her as ‘abnormal’. Furthermore, the association of Lamia with an “awful rainbow” (231) which is being figuratively unwrapped by philosophy as from “unweave” (237) indicates a dispassionate and systematic breaking down of her alluring mystery. Such fragmentation subsequently shreds her apart and denigrates her to be a mere menacing serpent. This suggests, possibly, Keats’ rejection of pure reason for he criticises the “cold philosophy” (230) which Apollonius epitomises. Hence, through craftily constructing the Other as being unsettlingly congruent with the normal or even part of the secure, the Other gets

Related Documents