Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

This is a classic well-deserved of it’s reputation and replay through popular culture – although if you ask me it goes for about three pages too long.

We all know the premise  – Victor Frankenstein attempts to create life from the dead, and somehow manages to create a monster instead.  But the original novel has depths that modern slash-and-dash horror interpretations choose not to delve into.  Its interesting to look at some of the ways the monster has been depicted in popular culture – as you can see from my photos.

While Victor takes one look at the misshapen creature he had designed to be beautiful and flees, the creature is left to fend for itself in the wilderness and learn what he can of humanity – and his separation from it.  The middle chapters of the novel – told by the creature – show a beautiful and intelligent mind that learned from the cruelty and narrow-mindedness of humanity. I felt tremendous sympathy towards this creature, and very contemptuous of Victor.

The two battle right until the end of the novel, when the creature is left to mourn the loss of his creator.  But Shelley feels the need to wrap things up in a nice little bow by having the creature explain all of his motivations.  This was just a bit trite for me.  Its lovelier to show, rather than tell.

It will be a terrific text to work with in the classroom and I am interested in student perspectives.  Shelley was also clearly very interested in exploring the relationship between man and nature  as the metaphors here are pretty constant.

Some interesting set up of the narrative too – I read for a full page before realising that Victor was neither the sole nor the original narrator.  This does give us some outside perspectives on the characters – mostly flattering to Victor – and probably needed given my reaction to him.  Definitely one I will be able to get my teeth into.


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