Title

The Monster’s Language Acquisition in Frankenstein: Access to Community and Identity

Presenter Information

Hyun ji ShinFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

English Literature and Language

Minor

Gender and Diversity Studies

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Staci Stone; Dr. Carrie Jerrell

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1831), the monster’s aspiration to learn the language comes from various reasons: His instinctive desire to be protected and recognized from others and loved for his existence as any ordinary human, his curiosity about “the art of language,” and his hope to become a member of community. The initial sequence of the language acquisition process is the same as ‘listening-imitating,’ regardless of whether the subject is learning a native or foreign language. The creature’s language learning process is quite similar to the human experience. Also, his acquisition of language leads him to an interest in reading books. Literary works help him not only indirectly gain the knowledge but also establish his self-identity by comparing the characters in literary works to himself. However, his insufficient articulation and a lack of interaction and communication with people who can provide communicational feedback, isolate him as a stranger. The monster’s several attempts to interact and communicate with people are rejected because of his hateful physical attributes, and people’s prejudice against him. The experience of failure makes the monster feel hostility towards people and form negative self-identity.

I examine the damages to his growth due to insufficient articulation and interaction with others, which form his negative identity and isolate him from any community. Through this research I realize the fact that ordinary humans are constantly influenced by each other. That’s why we are not entitled to deny or isolate a stranger like the monster in Frankenstein because we are all equally human.

Spring Scholars Week 2019 Event

Senior Seminar in Literature: Research Presentations

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The Monster’s Language Acquisition in Frankenstein: Access to Community and Identity

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1831), the monster’s aspiration to learn the language comes from various reasons: His instinctive desire to be protected and recognized from others and loved for his existence as any ordinary human, his curiosity about “the art of language,” and his hope to become a member of community. The initial sequence of the language acquisition process is the same as ‘listening-imitating,’ regardless of whether the subject is learning a native or foreign language. The creature’s language learning process is quite similar to the human experience. Also, his acquisition of language leads him to an interest in reading books. Literary works help him not only indirectly gain the knowledge but also establish his self-identity by comparing the characters in literary works to himself. However, his insufficient articulation and a lack of interaction and communication with people who can provide communicational feedback, isolate him as a stranger. The monster’s several attempts to interact and communicate with people are rejected because of his hateful physical attributes, and people’s prejudice against him. The experience of failure makes the monster feel hostility towards people and form negative self-identity.

I examine the damages to his growth due to insufficient articulation and interaction with others, which form his negative identity and isolate him from any community. Through this research I realize the fact that ordinary humans are constantly influenced by each other. That’s why we are not entitled to deny or isolate a stranger like the monster in Frankenstein because we are all equally human.