Even a Creature Deserves Rights

Throughout history there has been a debate about who and what deserves to have rights. Humans have had to fight for their rights for centuries. People have been enslaved because of their skin color, their religion, or because they were conquered. Women had to fight for rights until the 20thcentury and continue to struggle in countries and cultures around the world. The fight for rights even extends to other living things like animals and plants. There are certain rights that most people would agree that living things, especially humans, deserve. One of the most basic is the right to keep living once life begins. The creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankensteinis considered to be alive, so does he deserve to be given rights? I would argue that the creature does deserve to have rights.

Frankenstein’s creature is depicted as an unnatural being wrongly brought into the world by Victor in his quest to discover the source of life. The creature is considered hideous even though the most beautiful parts were used in his creation. Victor quickly abandons his creation when he becomes sick from creating something unnatural. We fail to see the creature as anything besides a monster because Victor refuses to acknowledge him or even provide him with a name. Although the creature is disfigured, he appears to act as an infant learning how to move his body. Even though the creature is created from previously deceased parts, he is still a living being with the capacity to learn.

Victor’s creature continues to learn, mastering basic skills for survival to intricate skills like speaking. He develops emotions and moral thinking. A hideous, unnatural creation is able to feel as if he were more human than his creator. The creature pleads with Victor to acknowledge him as a human and to treat him justly with the rights he deserves. He says, “Listen to my tale: when you have heard that, abandon or commiserate me, as you shall judge that I deserve. But hear me. The guilty are allowed, by human laws, bloody as they may be, to speak in their own defense before they are condemned. Listen to me, Frankenstein. You accuse me of murder; and yet you would with a satisfied conscience destroy your own creature. Oh praise the eternal justice of man.” This quote is unique because it highlights that Victor cannot condemn the creature of his crimes of killing without first acknowledging that he is human. We do not view a bear or another type of predator as a criminal if they are provoked to kill a human. A bear cannot be judged because they lack the ability to discern between right and wrong. Yet people acknowledge that the bear has a right to life. The creature gained the right to live when Victor brought him to life. If Victor destroyed his creation, then he would be no less a murderer than the creature and justice would not exist.

Once Victor supplied life to the body he created, the creature deserved certain rights. He had the right to be acknowledged as living and to be given guidance. We do not expect children to be abandoned by their parents and we do not deny rights to those with disfigurements. If Frankenstein made the creature into an unnatural monster, then the creature was able to make himself human.




What is the ultimate goal of life? Some people would say it is to live every day to the fullest and not worry about seeing tomorrow. Others are determined to build wealth or leave something behind in hopes they are remembered. However, it seems the most important goal in life, which is often overlooked, is to make intimate connections with others. It doesn’t matter who you are, you crave and long for a connection with another living person.

Connections are formed starting at a very young age. Children are dependent on their parents for everything and parents feel responsible to give their children everything. There is a direct biological link between parents and children. It is also important to note that a child is a physical representation of the connection between mother and father. However, this alone is not enough and we search out our own links. Robinson Crusoe, Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, and Frankensteinall display this search for others.

Robinson Crusoe is unique because it allows readers to see what someone truly craves when it is gone. Crusoe landed on the island with little to nothing and was entirely alone. He was able to build and salvage everything he needed to survive. There was one thing though that he desired above everything else, the company of another person. Crusoe says, “I cannot explain by an possible Energy of Words, what a strange longing or hankering of Desires I felt in my Soul upon this Sight; breaking out sometimes thus; O that there had been but one or two; nay, or but one Soul sav’d out of this Ship, to have escap’d to me, that I might but have had one Companion, one Fellow-Creature to have spoken to me, and to have convers’d with! In all the Time of my solitary Life, I never felt so earnest, so strong a Desire after the Society of my Fellow-Creatures, or so deep a Regret at the want of it.” Crusoe had always longed for adventure and wanted it at all costs. He sacrificed his family for his desires, only to long for the company of a stranger.  Defoe writes, “Those people cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them because they see and covet what He has not given them.” Crusoe was one of those people.

In contrast to Robinson Crusoe, Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, andFrankensteinall have characters which have never truly experienced what it’s liked to be truly loved by someone. Jane Eyre was an orphan who was sent away to an awful boarding school by her Aunt. She falls in love with Rochester only to discover that he is already married. Jane later trades three quarters of her inheritance just to be a part of a family. She had been poor all of her life, but a family was worth more to her than money. Charlotte Bronte wrote, “There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.”

Antoinette Cosway is similar to Jane Eyre in many ways. Antoinette was treated poorly during her childhood. Her father was dead and her mother constantly yelled at her. Although Antoinette gained a large inheritance from her step father, she still longed to be with someone. She gave up her entire wealth to be with Rochester. She even asked for the help of voodoo so he would love her once more.

The last example of an innate desire for personal connection and sense of fulfillment is Frankenstein. The creature was created from random pieces and brought to life in an unnatural way. He was cast away by everyone because of his dreadful appearance. Through observation and learning, the creature was able to understand his wish for a mate, someone to make a connection. A creature born of unnatural circumstances, lacking in age and experience, was able to feel and determine the need for another.

These four different texts were written at different times, different locations, and by authors of different backgrounds, but all of them point to a desire of acceptance and need of another. Everything people do is caused by an underlying desire to feel linked to another person. Although wealth or adventure is what everyone tries to obtain, they would quickly trade it when they are completely alone.

Dreams of adventure vs materialistic reality

Robinson Crusoe is an interesting character that resembles more than just maritime stories. Looking deeper into the book you can see Crusoe’s longing desire for adventure and discovery. He refuses to accept the simple and easy life he was born into. His father promises him a comfortable middle class existence, but Crusoe does not want to give up his dream of exploration. Robinson Crusoe is so determined to leave that he forgoes his inheritance and leaves on a voyage.

It seems to be ironic that someone would be willing to give up an easy life and money for adventure, but remain constantly obsessed with recording the amount of stuff they own. Defoe spent a great deal of time including an account of everything Crusoe was able to accumulate in life and while on the island. It would appear that there is more detail about material things than there is about the description of the island or the sea. A man who set out on adventure and self-discovery by giving up his wealth should not be more interested in recording what he possesses.

Defoe fails in this aspect by using an unchanging character whose values do not align with their true wants. Crusoe continuously fails to recognize the importance and beauty of nature because he is so focused on constant preparation and obtaining more stuff. According to Job 37:14-16, “Listen to this Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?” Crusoe wanted something more meaningful out of his life, but never succeeded because he couldn’t eliminate his materialistic wants.