What is OUR Responsibility?

I believe that we, as readers, bear the responsibility to judge justly- to view the story of Victor and the monster with objectivity and, in essence, act as a jury; however, this is not an easy task and one that I feel I have failed.

After my group’s discussion on Tuesday and reading the blog questions to choose from, I was most eager to consider the reader’s role in the novel. Something we centralized a majority of our discussion around was our duty as reader’s to make judgments. Shelley, as an author, knows she can’t force our judgments; however, she guides us in making them through her use of multiple points of view and structuring of the novel.

Throughout the novel, I found myself identifying with different characters at different times. Most of the time I was able to parallel the feelings and circumstances of Victor and the monster with personal feelings and circumstances I have dealt with in the past. For example, the monster bearing ridicule, Victor’s helplessness and sense of entrapment, the monster questioning his place in society, etc. All of those examples (and others not mentioned) are ways I was able to connect with the monster and Victor. However, interestingly enough, after finishing the novel I realized the only character I never connected or identified with, at least to the extent of the monster and Victor, was Walton. I mean, if in fact I should be personally identifying with a character in the novel, I would think it would be Walton; Walton is in essentially the same position we are when we receive Victor’s story- he is a third party, just like us as readers. Walton even has a similar response, like that of most reader’s, when hearing Victor’s story for the first time. He writes to Margaret that it is a “strange and terrific story,” one that makes “your blood congeal with horror” (206). After realizing this, I began to examine the irony: of all the characters whose point of view Shelley allows us to see from, the point of view most similar to ours is the one I found myself least connected to throughout the novel. This realization that I was least connected to the most disconnected, and thus arguably objective party in the entire novel, made me question if I had failed my duty to be an objective reader and to make just judgements.

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