Minor Character Analysis

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Letter III

Volume III, Chapter 7

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Minor Character Analysis

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                                          Minor Character Analysis Essay

Among the themes of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, is the author’s early belief that loving family of patriarchal type could be sufficient in its supportive and protective abilities for its members to endure the hardships and injustices of life.

This is the implied message in the portrayal of the De Lacey family unit and is of importance to understanding the first several months in the life of the abandoned by its creator (unknown to him at this time), Creature. Especially significant and powerful in ensuing new emotions to the Creature, different from the basic ones of hunger, cold, warmth or physical exhaustion is the old De Lacey. His interactions with the rest of the family- his daughter, son and later daughter in law turn into a source of routine observation for the Creature and a yearning to discover himself to them and grow to be part of their life.

“The silver hair and benevolent countenance of the aged cottager” (Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, 1818, p80), the kindness and affection he has for those around, become the first positive models of social behavior for the Creature and a shelter from the hostile, cold and incomprehensible reaction of the humans he encounters previously (the shepherd and villagers) on his way. Further more; the blindness of the old man makes him more approachable and carries the significance of hope for unprejudiced, fair acceptance, unbiased to the visually ugly to hideously deformed features of the Creature.

Gentle mannered, pensive, encouraging, and always supportive of his children with gestures and smiles, felt instinctively by the Creature watching their life through the small hole in the window of his hovel adjacent to the poor cottage they live in, the father DeLacey possesses also the gift of playing a musical instrument. Through the universal language of music the Creature starts feeling “sensations of peculiar and overpowering nature”, “a mixture of pain and pleasure” never experienced before. The old DeLacey becomes the nearest to a father figure for the Creature, the source of trust, inspiration for his self improvement and hope for finding his own identity and acceptance.

 The father inspires goodness, love and respect through his stories and musical performances. Described and perceived as the center of “the superior beings, who would be the arbiters of my destiny” (Frankenstein, p.86) the old cottager is the only human in Mary Shelley’s book, who does not instantly reject the Creature.

 Frenchman by the nationality, once respected and living a life of “refinement of intellect, or taste, accompanied by a moderate fortune” (Frankenstein, p.92) the De Lacey and his children become victims of political persecutions through the young De Lacey’s involvement in a defense and aided escape of injustice served to the father of the girl he falls in love with- a story relating to the uncertainties of the times and a new source for the Creature to study the many aspects of human nature.

Despite of the desire to support and aid the Creature in his attempt to be accepted, De Lacey is too dependent himself on his children due to his age and disability to be effective, but his willingness and understanding gives the Creature a short lived hope for his future. The idea of society and all its members being responsible for those who become violent because it refuses to support them and care for them due to physical differences that labels them monstrous, is reinforced once more through the De Lacey's character.