Frakenstein and critical disability studies

Frankenstein follows the story of a man determined to create life but convinces himself that the life he created is nothing short of a monster. However, the problematic aspect of this is that what he created had no initial aspects of being a monster. It wasn’t inherently aggressive and showed no signs of wanting to be a monster. On the contrary, for a good portion of the movie, The Monster tries to find ways to not feel alone. He even begs his creator to make him a mate and promises to hide and to never be seen again. This could be contrasted with the ideas of critical disability studies because of the idea of being seen as “other” without getting to actually know them. The monster was subjected to being seen as less than because of his different looks and figure inherently making them feel like there isn’t any other option to be seen as any other thing. This made the monster feel like it was hopeless and the only thing left to do was to become the very thing everyone else already assumed he was, a monster.

We can explore this further with the aspect of “loneliness” in the film. Frakenstein’s monster loneliness could easily be compared to many people with disabilities. The monster felt left out and alone because he wasn’t seen as the same as everyone else. He wasn’t given a chance to show anyone that he could be an accepted individual in society because of their initial bias to how he looked. In comparison to our society, many people with disabilities feel the same way. They at times can be discriminated against by society because of simply how they look or act without being given the chance to be involved. This could make many disabled people feel lonely, similar to how Frakenstein’s monster felt.

Victor could also be compared to the people who are stereotyping disabled people in our current society. In the film, Victor, the monster’s own creator, feels that the monster is disgusting and doesn’t deserve to be integrated into society. In our own society, there are people who feel the same way about the disabled. This creates an “us and them” culture which is very apparent in Frankenstein and in our own society. 

I think horror films are made to generalize the idea of fear that we don’t experience often because we are so privileged. Living in the west has made it easy for us to live lives where we don’t have to fear for our survival like in most horror films. It allows us to feel a controlled level of fear where we experience the sensation but are not in any actual danger. Similar to haunted houses or roller coasters.