Monday, October 8, 2012

A Review of 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley

"Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen.  At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein.  Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but: upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness.  Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human?  What responsibilities do we have to each other?  How far can we go in tampering with Nature?  In our age, filled with news of organ donation, genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever."

I had the honor of reading and discussing this over the internet with Ezra!  I'm glad that I did too, because I would have been hopelessly confused for much of the book.  It helps to read this a few times to completely understand and gain meaning.

Dr. Frankenstein is really annoying.  He puts together a body made of human parts, reanimates it, and then runs away from his Creation because he thinks that he (the creation) is absolutely ugly and not worthy of being alive.  What's really disturbing is how long and how far he is willing to run from his problems, refusing to handle them.  The number of lives this "problem" costs is staggering-- far too many.  And those characters who died were relatively good ones too... Justine, Elizabeth, Frankenstein's brother, Henry... it's so sad.  And even after the many deaths of people he loves, Frankenstein refuses to stop running and avoiding the issue at hand.  Grr...

I loved how Frankenstein's creation developed as a character.  He was by far the most impressive, and not just because he is essentially the focal point of the story.  No.  Mary Shelley takes the time to explain (however indirectly) how this creation came to be, from living an aloof lifestyle in the shed of a rather unfortunate family.  There, he learns language and works up the confidence to assert what he wants.  In this respect, the story is very relate-able.  Who hasn't experienced that crippling moment where you know you want something but you don't feel that you're good enough to accomplish it?  He's looking for acceptance.  Who hasn't wanted or gone out searching for that?

Overall, this book is infuriating and devastating at the same time.  If you like science fiction, horror, and classics, this is a book that is definitely worth trying.

I give 'Frankenstein':
Thanks for Reading!


1 comment:

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