Frankenstein and Friendship

Kristen Beard

In Mary Shelley's book "Frankenstein", friendship and relationships play a key role in the novel.

In Frankenstein, friendship, companionship, and relationships are all frequent throughout the book. Based on the quotes and events in the novel, it is very clear that having relationships and companions is an important thing to Mary Shelley, and it is a recurring theme in the novel. In the novel, we see how the creature longs for a companion of some kind, and a relationship with his creator. We also witness Victor's demise after his relationships are slowly taken away. Friendships and relationships are important to our well being.

Robert Walton writes letters and mentions a need for a friend.

" I desire the company of a man who could sympathise with me; whose eyes would reply to mine. You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend. I have no one near me, gentle yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious mind, whose tastes are like my own, to approve or amend my plans. How would such a friend repair the faults of your poor brother!" (Shelley 4)

The creature hopelessly wants a companion because he feels entirely alone.

"I am alone and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects." (Shelley 123)

The creature becomes aware of what he is, and hates Victor because he is doomed to loneliness.

" 'Hateful day when I received life!' I exclaimed in agony. 'Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even YOU turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred.' " (Shelley 110)

Robert Walton is very lonely. He writes to his sister and admits to his solitude.

"I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection. " (Shelley 4)

Victor explains here his excitement of seeing an old friend from home.

"Nothing could equal my delight on seeing Clerval; his presence brought back to my thoughts my father, Elizabeth, and all those scenes of home so dear to my recollection. I grasped his hand, and in a moment forgot my horror and misfortune; I felt suddenly, and for the first time during many months, calm and serene joy. I welcomed my friend, therefore, in the most cordial manner, and we walked towards my college." (Shelley 44)

The creature longs so dearly for only someone to talk to. He does not do so because he is aware of how he looks and believes that he will only suffer continued misfortune.

"What chiefly struck me was the gentle manners of these people, and I longed to join them, but dared not. I remembered too well the treatment I had suffered the night before from the barbarous villagers, and resolved, whatever course of conduct I might hereafter think it right to pursue, that for the present I would remain quietly in my hovel, watching and endeavouring to discover the motives which influenced their actions." (Shelley 91)

Victor is miserable without his lover. He is losing everyone he was close with, and it is taking a toll on his health and well being.

"Sweet and beloved Elizabeth! I read and reread her letter, and some softened feelings stole into my heart and dared to whisper paradisiacal dreams of love and joy; but the apple was already eaten, and the angel's arm bared to drive me from all hope. " (Shelley 167)
The Big Bang Theory - The Friendship Algorithm

Frankenstein portrays friendship and companionship a necessity.

As readers go through the book, friendships and relationships are a frequent topic they stumble upon. In the novel, a large portion of the plot was contributed to because of relationships. While reading, it can be noted that many situations occurred because of relationships, whether good or bad. It shows the positives of relations with others- such as Henry Clerval tending to Victor while he was unwell, or seeing Victor light up with excitement when he is with Elizabeth. There are also strong connections to family, seeing as Victor begins his studies that led to the creation of the creature, it all began after he lost his mother and was devastated. Without these relationships present, we see that the creature becomes angry and resentful, Victor becomes unwell mentally and physically, and Robert Walton is miserable because he feels so alone.

Modern connections

The theme of friendship and having connections to others is still relevant to the present day. In addition to Sheldon's friends in the video keeping him in check, friends have a multitude of other ways to help. Recent studies have found that friends are great for support, and also general well being. As seen on, having friends is a great boost.

"Being social boosts your immune system. Being socially engaged leads to more positive emotions, which in turn may actually boost your body’s immune system and reduce the physical signs of stress, say health experts."

Perhaps some of the characters in the novel Frankenstein could have been healthier and happier if they had proper interactions with others.

How does social media come into play?

Social media has been on the rise for the past few years. As seen in the picture below, it seems a vast majority of people are getting connected online.

This can mean a few things:

Businesses and companies are able to get the names of their product out to consumers faster and more efficiently than ever.

The general public is online frequently, which means more people are interacting with each other.

But of course, there are negatives.

When 25% of users don't bother with privacy settings, that means that their information is easily accessible to anyone in the world. Aside from just friends, this includes strangers, employers, families, and possible attackers.

What this can do is prevent a person from getting hired, this can exploit personal information to those the user may not have intended, and because so many users are online so frequently, that information gets passed at a rapid rate, in more areas than just your hometown.

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Connections to social media and Frankenstein

Social media is in a way, a false sense of connection.

This was noted on an article that discussed all the negatives of social media.

"According to Cornell University's Steven Strogatz, social media sites can make it more difficult for us to distinguish between the meaningful relationships we foster in the real world, and the numerous casual relationships formed through social media. By focusing so much of our time and psychic energy on these less meaningful relationships, our most important connections, he fears, will weaken."

Victor Frankenstein had meaningful connections with others, and "casual relationships" were not exactly in existence in his day. In the time period of the book's setting, all communications were done directly for the most part. There was no "celebrity gossip". There was no scrolling through BuzzFeed quizzes to determine which musician you related to most. Everything was done face to face.

Other characters in the novel also had real connections with people, and they either wrote letters, or spoke to someone in person.

Society's idea of socializing, relationships, and friendships has surely changed since Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein.

A final thought...

Social media has not ruined friendship like the question in the assignment asks. Although, because of the advancements in technology, the concept of friendship has evolved, and will continue to do so as we progress into the future.

Humans have clearly begun to shift in their morals and in their ideas of what friendship and relationships mean.

But overall, humans have always had a desire for relations with others. In society today, that statement still stands true.

Mary Shelley was correct in her ideas that friendship and relationships are a key to a happy life. As readers, we must interpret those ideas and concepts into a modern view, even if that means we make flowcharts on how to socialize with others.

Works Cited

  • Vann, Madeline, MPH. "The Importance of Friendships." Everyday Health, 22 Dec. 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
  • Jung, Brian. "The Negative Effect of Social Media on Society and Individuals." Small Business. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
  • Cooper, Belle Beth. "10 Surprising Social Media Stats To Make You Rethink Your Strategy." Buffer Social. Buffer Social, 16 July 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.