Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Member

Dr. Erin Goss, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Jillian Weise

Committee Member

Dr. Brian McGrath


This thesis uses Edmund Burke’s concepts of the sublime and beautiful to consider social categories within Frankenstein. Reading the creature as excluded from the aesthetic categories of the sublime and the beautiful, the thesis locates Frankenstein’s creation within a category all its own: the ugly. Since the creature is clearly left out of the category of the beautiful, one might imagine he could be comprehended under the classification of sublimity; however, he actually produces horror and disgust. The final section reads the creature’s label as ugly as a reflection on the classifications of the beautiful and the sublime. Looking at representations of beauty and sublimity in the novel, the thesis shows that the rejection, violence, and abuse towards the creature throughout Frankenstein reflects the structural boundaries that keep bodies deemed unacceptably different from participation in a social world.