Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein’s Monster

In reading excerpts from Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein, it is striking to me how these two books – while being quite different – illustrate the two most fundamental sides of being human. Our narrator in Robinson Crusoe, after being washed on the shore of a deserted island spends most of his tale dealing with the more basal needs of man (ie. food, clothing, shelter). He describes in an almost clinical detail, his mastery over nature, the need for goods over money and dominance over his surroundings. In Frankenstein as the monster awakens, he is confronted by the emotional needs of man (ie. a need for identity, need for companionship and a thirst for knowledge). The monster finds himself betrayed by his ideas about humanity because he cannot find a counterpart or sameness among those whom he observes. In reading these two texts I was struck by the innate desire for primary needs – companionship, nourishment, safety, identity – and I believe that while the journeys for both of these characters are completely dissimilar, these stories force their readers to examine the fundamental needs of man, whether emotional or physical and help to identify humanity’s desires at their most primitive roots.

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