In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein is a wealthy, curious science nerd who becomes passionate about creating life. Frankenstein does in fact succeed in doing so and without much thought he pulls together all of the greatest limbs of dead people he can find so that he can give life to a living person. He succeeds. Frankenstein is a brilliant thinker, scientist, creator, but when his creation comes to life, there is one role that Frankenstein never considers and that is father. Frankenstein finds that his creation is hideous, this is not his child but instead a “monster”. Frankenstein abandons the monster and it is not until later in life that he is forced to deal with how his monster-neglect has actually created a monster.
At first I felt sympathetic for Frankenstein who knew not any better than to bring a new life into this world but then I thought about motherhood as I have witnessed it and concluded that Frankenstein is doing a very sorry job with little effort. First I thought about how Frankenstein’s immediate reaction was to abandon his creation because it was ugly. Frankenstein did not even know that true nature of the “monster” before the monster’s yellow skin made him fear for his life and run away. What does Frankenstein think he looked like as a new born? He was probably a few different shades of yellow, blue, purple, and red, was covered in blood and gunky yellow stuff, had a tail coming about of his belly button and had no teeth! Yet, his mother did not abandon him out of fear because he looked different. Eve did not abandon her first child when it did not look like her or Adam.
Men as child bearers make for lonely families. Though Frankenstein did not oppose creating a companion for the monster because of the birthing pains (which he probably would not have considered), he does refuse to give the monster a companion. Even after promising to give Frankenstein another monster lady with whom he can roam around with, he recants this decision after tormenting thoughts of all that could go wrong. This, of course made the monster incredibly angry and drove him to seek vengeance.
It seems to me that much of Frankenstein’s plight was because of his marriage to the idea that his job was to simply create life and then sit back, hands-free, and let it take its course. Frankenstein had no idea of the sacrifice and work that it would take to bring life into this world. So, of course he was preoccupied with distress when he did not do this job as a creator/mother/father and decided to suffer rather than to love and teach his creation.
I know a woman who gave birth to a monster of sorts and she had a much different approach- Bella Swann Cullen. In Breaking Dawn Bella gets pregnant. The father is a vampire so this means that Bella will be having a little blood-sucking vampire. Vampires are real monsters. It is in their natures to kill people, they do not necessarily have souls, and they are thirsty for human blood. Bella’s pregeancy was perilous and though she human, she had to drink human blood to feed her baby. Though Bella’s baby Renesemme was flawless and beautiful, Bella still had a child with the possibility she would have a blood thirsty baby.
Both Frankenstein and Bella are crazy but raise questions for me. What does one need to know before having a child? What kind of responsibilities are necessary for a mother/father to have without leading to child neglect? How can a creator see past the horror he or she has created to locate its potential for growth and love?