I can’t believe that none of my English classes in high school made us read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It is perhaps one of the greatest books I just read in my college literature class and it will forever be one of my favorites from now on. It was so hard not to be absolutely smitten with the language and the way the book just draws you in. Maybe those who have read the book don’t have the same opinions that I do but I was completely captivated by it. There were too many great quotes and the different perspectives from Victor Frankenstein and the creature make you sympathize with both of them! I don’t know about you but I love it when the villain character isn’t completely evil and there’s a line between what we see as good and bad.
I haven’t watched any movie adaptions of the book yet but in this society, the archetypal villain always includes Frankenstein and his usual ugly image, a man with green skin and metal screws in his head. Already I’m imagining the Scooby-Doo depiction of Frankenstein. But the “Frankenstein” in the novel is absolutely not similar to the media portrayal of him. He is extremely intelligent and humanistic. Honestly, you will start to sympathize with him more than Victor Frankenstein. And on that note with names, the creature that the media labels as “Frankenstein” does not actually have a name! Frankenstein is the creature’s creator, so the crazy scientist that goes “HE’S ALIVE” in the film adaptions. So now I’ll have a hard time when referring to the monster since he’s nameless unless you say that he’ll still be called Frankenstein since he adopts the name of his creator, Victor Frankenstein. Well, that wasn’t confusing.
I apologize for being such a fangirl but it’s hard for me to find books that are absolutely fantastic, in which I can call a favorite of mine. I can go on and provide an analysis of why I think the book is so amazing but I don’t want to bore anyone. But I honestly recommend the book to anyone and everyone. It’s only about 160 pages so not too long. I read the 1818 version so I have no idea if the other versions are different.
Also, you have to believe me when I say this is a good book since I never finish reading anything if I’m bored with it, even if it’s a class reading/assignment and that I will be tested on it. So the fact that I finished this book just shows how interesting it really is.
Now I will provide some quotes from the book that I find to be awesome.
“Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.”
“Increase of knowledge only discovered to me more clearly what a wretched outcast I was. I cherished hope, it is true; but it vanished, when I beheld my person reflected in water, or my shadow in the moonshine, even as that frail image and that inconstant shade.”
“This was then the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and, as a recompense, I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound, which shattered the flesh and bone. The feelings of kindness and gentleness, which I had entertained but a few moments before, gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth.”
“For an instant I dared to shake off my chains, and look around me with a free and lofty spirit; but the iron had eaten into my flesh, and I sank again, trembling and hopeless, into my miserable self.”
“How mutable are our feelings, and how strange is that clinging love we have of life even in the excess of misery!”
I must tell you that if you didn’t already know who spoke these lines, you can’t really tell between Victor Frankenstein and his creature at all. They are both tragic characters, actually I don’t want to use the word “tragic” because that hints that this is all destiny, which it is not (at least in this version of the tale). So rather they are pushed to these circumstances that result in misery and anger due to their own desire for more knowledge and accidental happenings.
Perhaps we are all drawn, to a certain degree, to these dark and horrific novels because they speak to the misfortunes that we also face in reality. Although not to the same extent but the misery and the darkest emotions are depicted, which are usually not portrayed in those happy ending novels.
We will die, we will face consequences for our actions and we will suffer for our mistakes and while that is not a pretty picture, it is a real picture. It doesn’t matter if the novel you read is fiction or non-fiction, if you can get a message from it that has substance and quality, that’s all you can ask for.
(also despite this post and my previous posts, I am not depressing, I swear! I just think that only certain emotions such as anger, grief, etc. inspire creativity in me for some reason. Oh right, because I only use writing as a way to escape/ purge those negative thoughts. Which means, my readers get to read those…)
Pick up a copy of Frankenstein if you want to see what’s so special that I would dedicate a post to it.
Until next time xx