through the eyes of an outcast

“It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account, we shall be more attached to one another.”

While reading Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley, I found myself infatuated with the monster. I could not fathom why I was drawn to such a grotesque character who was obsessed with destruction and revenge. Further analysis allowed for me to learn the significance behind the monster’s character and Shelley’s connection with him. From there I was astounded to see how the monster played a role in my own life.

Upon analyzing the text through several literary lenses, I discovered how Mary Shelley had written herself into some of the characters, specifically the creature. In a society that only acknowledged women as essential to reproduction and care taking, Mary Shelley could herself be considered a monster. She suffered through several miscarriages; failing to bring life into the world and thus, failing to fulfill the single purpose of a woman. Shelley was also able to find her voice, which for many other women was often lost in a sea of men, through her writing. As a young girl in the 21st century, I wholeheartedly admire Shelley’s ability to channel her pain into a literary masterpiece. Yet back then, a woman like her was deemed unworthy of the praise and admiration I would bestow on her. She was a monster. An outcast in a world that saw her as different because she did not meet the expectations they set for women. Victor Frankenstein, driven by the loss of his mother, intended to defy the rules of nature in order to defeat death, a feat Shelley could only imagine and write about. However, the outcome of Frankenstein’s experiments is ultimately a physical manifestation of how Shelley felt within her own life. A “revolting” creature of man.

The time I spent considering the idea of Shelley writing herself into her antagonist provided me an opportunity to contemplate why I was drawn to him despite his immoralities. In my own life, I have felt like a monster, completely set apart from others on account of my appearance and personality. As a mixed kid, I never felt like I belonged to a particular race. In the eyes of everyone else I was too white or too black; no one at school let me feel like I could be both. For many years, I kept quiet as people ridiculed my skin colour, my lips, my forehead, and even my hair. I have grown up believing that there is beauty in everyone, so I was shocked that minor details about another person evoked such cruelty. Even my music choices, my passion for drama, and lack of sports ability have been at the centre of criticism from those around me. People tend to attack differences because their small mindedness only permits them to appreciate aspects of others that are similar to themselves. When I was introduced to the monster in the novel, I immediately felt connected to him. His love for society was squelched by their hatred for his monstrosities and in return for the pain they dealt him, he sought revenge. Granted, there was wickedness in his deeds but I resonated with the feelings that drove him to murder.

The antagonist is often labelled as the only true bad guy within the storyline. But my personal connection with the character, the author’s own feelings highlighted within the character, and the gentle side of the monster described in the novel proves to the audience that this stereotype simply is not true. Mankind can be extraordinarily cruel to those among them who exhibit differences, whether they be insignificant or grotesque. Shelley brought to life not only a monster, but the hatred society can have towards things people they deem as outcasts. By writing herself into the character, readers are able to connect with the monster who experienced what many of us have experienced in our own lives.

Through the eyes of an outcast, I saw myself. Dejected and broken down by a society who did not appreciate me for me. My beauty was overlooked, my voice was not heard, my differences were attacked. Through the eyes of an outcast, I discovered how such an inspirational author suffered through hardships by failing to remain similar to other women. Through the eyes of an outcast, I discovered a monster who had experienced hatred for his differences come to life at the hands of the woman who was him. And I did not feel alone. Because it turns out, we are all monsters.

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14 thoughts on “through the eyes of an outcast

  1. Lexi,

    Thank you. All I can say after reading this phenomenal piece is thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I consider myself very blessed to be in your table group, and this post is a perfect illustration of why. Where I can get stuck in rationality, in science, in objectives, you view things through the lens of emotion, and your analyses have made me consider a whole new dimension to these texts and made me appreciate the value of Pathos. My biggest attachment in the novel was Victor, but this piece has made me consider just how much depth the monster holds. In addition, your analysis of Frankenstein from an autobiographical standpoint is something I have not seen, and it just makes me more fascinated with the amount of depth in this book.

    I was honestly so wrapped up in my enjoyment of this piece that I forgot to look for any areas of growth, and I was hard pressed to find one. I can honestly say that I have nothing to say in terms of improvement. You took the advice you have received and married it to your own beautiful perspective, and if there are any major areas for improvement in this piece, I have yet to find them.

    I will end with another thank you, this time for your openness about your experience. As a mixed kid myself, I can absolutely relate to the feeling of never being enough to be one or the other, and constantly having to negate pieces of yourself to cater to your current audience. It is an experience that is all too common for kids like us, and I thank you for speaking about it in your incredibly elegant and poetic way. Your last paragraph is some of the best writing I have gotten to read thus far in my life.

    Once again, thank you.
    Love,
    Maria

    1. My beautiful Maria,

      You have filled me with such joy and gratitude. I am humbled by your words of praise yet I owe it to you for offering your insight into how I could improve my writing. It is spectacular that we are able to connect through this novel even if we are coming at it from an emotional and a scientific angle. What an inspiration you have become in my life, I am left in awe at how incredible you are and I will continue to remind you of this. Thank you for the impact you have had on me and thank you for your kindness. From one mixed kid to another, I adore you.

      Lexi

  2. Dear Lexi,

    This piece was absolutely captivating. The choice of your blog reflected well on the topic of what the term “monster” meant as opposed to what we often depict it as. I, too, was quite perplexed on why I resonated with the monster even though most of his intentions became malicious. Mary Shelley became an author who I truly appreciated once I had been provided her autobiography and when I had compared it to her literature. I also began to see what overlapped and what was underlined. How you gracefully incorporated all this into one very structured blog really does impress me.

    I loved how you correlated this strong prospect to elements of your own life. I do agree. There are ignorant people in the world who want to find even the slightest of insecurities and turn them into flaws. My advice would be to just let you know that there are also people who know that you are incredibly beautiful, including myself. Honestly, Lexi, both you and your personality are absolutely gorgeous. 🙂

    In terms of constructive criticism, the only thing I can say is perhaps be cautious when starting sentences with conjunctions. “While reading Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley, I found myself infatuated with the monster. But I could not fathom why I was drawn to such a grotesque character who was obsessed with destruction and revenge.” Personally, connecting these two sentences together or omitting the word “But” would have flowed more easily. I understand this can be a writing choice and I respect that.

    Overall, I am glad to be getting the opportunity to read your piece. I learned a little bit about your experiences and your values. This was indeed well written and I look forward to more of your posts!

    Kindly,

    ~Naomi

    1. Dearest Naomi,

      I greatly appreciate your generous feedback. Thank you for warming my heart with your love for my work and for me. It has been amazing spending more time together, you are such an angel. As for your critiques, I definitely see where you are coming from. I will be sure to watch the use of conjunctions so it won’t interrupt the flow of writing. Again, thank you so much.

      Lexi

  3. Hey Lexi,

    As usual, your piece is amazing. At every sentence you had me saying amen. As another mixed woman I completely understand your connection to the monster. When I read the novel I felt so connected to him and I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why until now. Your piece touches on the pain of being an outcast and an “other” and having been both of those things at some time in my life I really resonated with this piece. This piece is eye-opening and amazingly written and I couldn’t have expected anything less from you. Every time I read your pieces I am baffled by your amazing word choice and overall eloquence in your writing. Your writing often makes me rethink things and always touches my heart.

    I honestly don’t think I’d make any changes to your piece. I think it is perfect as is.

    Overall I just want to say that I love this piece and I love you. Over the many years I have known you you have never failed to provide insight into things I many times cannot fathom. I am excited to be able to read your pieces in the years to come and I am eternally blessed to have you in my life.

    Love,
    Abby

    1. Abby, my love.

      Without people like you in my life, I would not be able to smile as much. Thank you for gifting me with these words of kindness and I pray that we remain close throughout the coming years because I could not imagine losing your beautiful soul.

      Lexi

  4. Dear Lexi,
    Well… I am at a complete loss of words. Every time I go to write something about your masterpiece, I can’t seem to finish a thought. I am completely in awe. Your ability to captivate a reader in your use of words and flow of your writing is impressive beyond belief. As you resonated with the monster, you connected yourself to the reader at the personal level, where you confidently opened up about you personal life. When you did this, I saw nothing but the truth pouring out of your writing. I am absolutely in love.

    In regards to constructive criticism, I simply can not find anything to work on! Your writing has inspired me and I can not wait to read more from you!
    Lots of love,
    Juleanna

  5. Juleanna,

    After eight years of friendship, you continue to remain such a bright light in my life. Your words of encouragement and love bring a smile to my face. Thank you for taking the time to write this comment. I am absolutely in love with you.

    Lexi

  6. Lexi,

    Beautiful…
    It’s hard to imagine that a girl as amazing as you ever went through a time where you felt any less than what you are. Yet of course society takes a toll on the best of us. Your ability to weave Frankenstein’s story into your life is impeccable; you mirrored yourself so purposefully to Mary Shelly’s own story that it sounded like you two would’ve been best buds, if given the chance. I saw your use what we learned about literary criticism (specifically psychoanalytical criticism) to show this story of the Mary Shelly as a parallel of the monsters which was too a parallel of your own life!

    There was only one thing I would improve…
    I would’ve loved to see the the idea of the “outcast” woven even more throughout your piece. The final paragraph hits hard with the use of, “through the eyes of an outcast,” but it almost comes out of the blue. By pairing the ideas of being a “monster” and being an “outcast” throughout your own life as well as the introductory paragraph I feel there would’ve made it an even greater theme.

    However my ideas work or not is truly up to you because you are a stylistic writer and know how to and when to break the rules of literature, like: “My beauty was overlooked, my voice was not heard, my differences were attacked,” you implicitly decided to not use “and” to give significance in the parallelism that you are used. Overall Lexi, you really are the quintessence of what beauty can be and you exemplify in your writing. Your skill truly is a monster that can stand on its own level from what others can achieve; an outcast in it’s own excellency.

    Love,
    Luca

    1. Luca Rios, my dear friend.

      I truly appreciate your words of love. It would have been incredible to be friends with Mary Shelley but I guess we can only dream about it. I love your criticism, it definitely helps to strengthen this piece and actually help to make that last paragraph not so random. Thank you so much for everything.

      Lexi

  7. *Alexis Hope, I have no words.

    Well, I actually do. Your writing is so undeniably beautiful. And I’m not the first nor will I be the last to say that. I have always admired your eloquence and articulation when speaking in front of people. I should have known that your writing would be just as mesmerizing. Your voice encapsulates your strength and elegance so perfectly. This piece felt so intimate and warm. There were lines upon lines imagery that perfectly flowed, but you would effectively hit the audience with a line so simple it resonated. Especially: “She suffered through several miscarriages; failing to bring life into the world and thus, failing to fulfill the single purpose of a woman. Shelley was also able to find her voice, which for many other women was often lost in a sea of men, through her writing. As a young girl in the 21st century, I wholeheartedly admire Shelley’s ability to channel her pain into a literary masterpiece. Yet back then, a woman like her was deemed unworthy of the praise and admiration I would bestow on her. She was a monster.”

    “She was a monster.” How intentionally placed that line was.

    The way this piece allowed me to understand more of your experience and feelings of otherness was so personal to you, yet it felt so familiar to my experiences in a way. We haven’t gone through the same things, but I can understand the feelings you’ve described.

    I love you forever <3
    mia 🙂

    1. My beautiful Mia,

      You are an inspiration to me and your words of praise LITERALLY MAKE MY HEART SOAR. If it were not for people like you in my life, I would not be able to produce pieces such as this. Every day you continue to be a ray of light in my life and I will forever be thankful for that. I love you and thank you.

      Lexi

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