A ghastly grin wrinkled his lips

Category: Body | Type: Discussion | Title: Frankenstein (in Context) | Author: Mary Shelley | Ch: Chapter 20

Are we to suppose that the monster is looking on with malignant pleasure or that he's merely anticipatory and happy? We don’t know, but, given the dead matter from which he was constructed, he can at his happiest never manage anything but a "ghastly" in the sense of ghostly rictus. 

Throughout, Frankenstein's standards for human bodies, beginning with the chemistry professor Kranch, suggest something fastidious about him, which may help explain his procrastination in marrying Elizabeth. But Frankenstein is not alone: the de Laceys and William judge wholly by the monster's appearance, which deafens them to his words and blinds them to his kind acts. 

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