I shut my eyes involuntarily
These two sentences encapsulate a highly complex aesthetic and moral
act. It is against his will that Walton closes his eyes; yet with eyes
closed he occupies an essentially different space from that in which he first
viewed the Creature a second before. He has unwittingly placed himself in
the position of the elder DeLacey, who is the only stranger not to have
rejected the Creature at first sight (2.7.7). DeLacey's blindness and Walton's
closed eyes remove from their judgments the beautiful as a determining
aesthetic criterion. With its absence each is able to act on what purports
to be an objective moral plane, or at least not to have
pre-determined aesthetic categories prejudice their responses.
Paradoxically, an act that is reflexive and therefore deterministic in
its inception becomes the means by which unexamined, normative standards of
behavior, which are truly deterministic in their impulse, can be
transcended, allowing an exercise of free will. Since Walton is not
actually blind, his act in its ethical import is unique for the novel.