analyze frankenstein to early childhood development
Childhood Development Stages of “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelly
In this essay, we shall speak about the Childhood Development Stages, focused on the Mary Shelly book “Frankenstein”. In order to do a thorough and complete examination on the Childhood Development Stages, we shall consider the following subtopics: The Creature’s birth; its abandonment by Victor, his creator; his requests for a mate; his feelings toward his creator; the monster’s feelings of revenge; and his final decision of joining Victor in death.
In order to do so, we will use the theories of development stages proposed by Erikson, and Piaget. Both stages depict different visions of the development stages and are equally useful to illustrate our point. In order to advance in our essay, we shall show Erikson, and Piaget’s theories in order to advance in our discussion, and establish a conceptual floor to unfold our discussion. However, since these theories are quite extensive, we shall speak only about their relation with the childhood development.
Erikson Childhood Development Stages. Erikson proposed eight stages of psychosocial development. In this essay, we shall speak about the first five.
The first one, or the stage of Basic Trust vs. Mistrust, proposes that through interactions of the toddler and what surrounds it, it learns both trust and mistrust. If the toddler learns it, it will develop successful social relations (Flemming 7). The second is called “Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt”. It refers to the moment where the child learns to do its things without the help of the adults. However, adults know that children are not able to do everything they think they can. At this moment, since children consider themselves able of doing a sizeable amount of things, they feel ashamed when they realize adults do not always let them. The third stage is called “Initiative vs. Guilt” and occurs at the moment when the child’s attempts to imitate what it sees, often with mixed results. In the same way, the child feels guilt when he sees itself in competition with its parents. The fourth stage, or the stage of “Industry vs. Inferiority” happens when the child has mastered the usage of tools and skills that could help it in achieving its desires. In this stage, children who are not prepared accordingly in the usage of social tools are likely to fail, hence, feel inferior. The fifth, and last stage we will speak of in this essay is the “Identity vs. Role Confusion”. This stage happens in the teen years. In this stage, the sexual organs are mature and many new expectations of social and academic adjustments. In this stage, the child intends to separate from its parents and assess an identity of its own. This is one of the most difficult stages as many people do not succeed on it, until very old age. (Flemming 9).
Piaget’s Development Stages. Piaget development stages are more in the lines of cognitive development. In this light, it is important to assess ourselves in the cognitive development of the monster, in order to understand what might have been passing through his head. The first stage, or the sensorimotor stage, refers to the beginning of the motor activities. In this stage, children are not in complete control of their body, and every reaction is unpredictable and new. The second stage, the preoperational stage refers to the stage where the children begin to use language; memory, and imagination. In this stage, children engage in make believe interactions and use their imagination. (Wood 3). The third stage or the concrete operational stage refers to a stage where logical thought I starting to develop, and children manipulate symbols and link them with concrete objects. The fourth and final stage is the formal operational stage on which adolescents and adults engage in abstract concepts, formulate a hypothesis and think about the relations between objects and their concepts.
We are all familiar with the novel, and we will not refer to plot points unless it is necessary. We shall then proceed to speak about the relations between the topics aforementioned, and the childhood development theories.
The Creature’s Birth. About this particular topic, upon reviewing the book we see that, upon created the monster was not able to speak an articulate language and did not have proper control of his limbs (Shelley 63). This, according the Erikson’s theory would situate it in the first stage. In the same way, with this first approach, the child would certainly learn mistrust instead of trust.
The abandonment of the Creature by Victor. When Victor finally realizes the atrocity he had committed, he decides on leaving the monster to his own devices. The monster then learns how to speak and how to conduct himself. This is a clear sign of the monster passing through the Piaget stages of development, and developing physically as an adult.
The monster’s requests for a mate. After killing Victor’s brother, the monster asks for a companion (Shelley 174). The monster appeals to the sense of duty Victor has toward him, and tells Frankenstein that he was evil because he was lonely. This shows that the monster is in the Erikson’s third stage, as he imitates what he sees in others and considers that by having a mate, he would behave properly.
The monster’s feelings of its creator. The monster has mixed feelings toward his creator and did not know what to think. At first he was angry with him for being abandoned, and he eventually considers he could forgive him if he creates him a mate. In this case, we can see that the monster is in the fifth stage of Erikson’s stages of development. According to this stage, as the monster intends to assess an identity of his own, wants his creator to create him a wife to be able to completely separate from him, and live a life of his own.
The monster’s feelings of revenge. The monster makes Victor responsible and accountable for all the things that had happened to him and intends to destroy his life, in order to seek revenge (Shelley 124). In this case, we can see that the monster is, according to Erikson’s stages, in the fourth stage, as the monster has mastered the tools in order to succeed, but since he has not been prepared to succeed in life, he feels inferiority and grudge.
As we can perceive, the monster is not in only one developmental stage, as he sees, feels, and thinks many things. This happened probably as he is not well-adjusted to the society he lives in. This, of course, is not weird, as he was not meant to born. In this case, knowing this, makes the monster feel even worse, and having a father that does not care for him, drives him utter crazy and mad. If the monster would have had a different life, or raised different, the things would have unfolded differently.
Flemming, J. “Erikson’s Psychosocial Developmental Stages.” Web. 2004 <http://swppr.org/textbook/ch 9 erikson.pdf>.Shelley, M. “Frankenstein.” Web. 19 Apr. 2013 <http://www.planetebook.com/ebooks/Frankenstein.pdf>.
Wood, K. C., Smith, H., Grossniklaus. “ Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development.” Web. 8 Sept. 2014 <http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/>
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