Frankenstein!

After many bus rides to and back from work, I have finally managed to finish Frankenstein. Probably one of the first observations I made about it was how much it felt more-so science fiction than gothic/romantic (as it is usually referred as).  I had some trouble staying tuned into the story at times (although bumpy bus rides probably didn’t help my focus…). Mary Shelley’s prose was first person, but often second or third hand (one person telling another person’s story who was then telling yet another story). Nevertheless, it did make for compelling reading at times. Secondarily, whilst the monster’s creation and subsequent actions have influenced the plot well, the story is focused on the life of Victor Frankenstein, the monster’s creator, and his family. I have yet to see a movie rendition that focuses on this, not to say there isn’t one out there, but if you mention the name “Frankenstein” it is more often than not referred to as the monster rather than the man who created him.

Probably one of the biggest problems I had was that I did not relate to any of the characters probably because none of them had any redeeming qualities. Victor Frankenstein came off as arrogant and thought he could play God by “creating” a creature from bits and pieces of the dead and revived via lightning. The way he removes himself from the people that care about him (Elizabeth for instance) and drowns in his frantic pursuit of knowledge is heartbreaking. The creature had every opportunity to learn right from wrong and appeared to have done so, but ultimately let revenge and self-pity rule over his decisions. The cumulative havoc the two cause to those around them is shocking and pretty inexcusable. Whilst the characters can be sometimes relatable, I feel like the strength of the book lies through its conveyance of themes, and as Mary Shelley seems to promote (subtle, we elaborated on this in the seminar…), I may have benefited from giving the book a second read.

Nonetheless, it was pretty enjoyable. It wasn’t the most thrilling piece of literature we have read in Arts One, but again I tend to enjoy philosophical texts a bit more….

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3 Responses to “Frankenstein!”

  1. Kevin Sun Says:

    I feel your pain with regards to bus rides…maybe even more so as I’m prone to motion sickness on motor vehicles. I actually like Shelley’s style of writing (when she’s actually trying to write properly), but wholeheartedly agree that her characterization is abysmal. This book ultimately disregards interesting personalities in place of huge thematic overtones, which is certainly appropriate to the subject matter and serves to perhaps direct our focus to what Shelley is trying to say rather than how she’s saying it (or she could just be a bad writer).

  2. Julianna Says:

    I think that the monster’s allowing hatred and revenge to rule over him actually represents an important proponent of the idea of creation. In his acting this way, he demonstrates a child, completely consumed with selfishness, and acting out in an attempt to receive attention. This works well with the manner in which Frankenstein treats him, completely ignoring him. I feel his revenge actually demonstrates the progression of the monster’s emotional comprehension, and shows a lot about the idea of man’s own development, especially since he actually laments all the pain he caused Frankenstein at the end of the work, showing a sort of emotional maturity. I’m not sure if I agree with you on your beliefs regarding the writing style. I felt the switching between narrators and points of view allowed me to become more immersed in the piece, but maybe that’s just me 🙂 Very interesting post!

  3. raphinater Says:

    Is it possible that Shelley had no intention of creating likable characters? Perhaps this was the very intent of the author, maybe she was trying to extend the distance between characters by applying it to the reader as well. Again, this is posted with a large question mark.

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