Friday, July 10, 2009


Sat through a week of reading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and I've got to say that it's actually quite a good read.

Synopsis: A man driven by the ambition of scholarly knowledge discovers, upon years of research and study, the secret of life. With this knowledge, he (Victor Frankenstein whom the book is named after and not the monster) sets out to take on a role that only has been ascribed to God. Victor Frankenstein sets out to create life. In so doing, he ends up bringing to life a creature so hideous that humans flee from him in fright. The monster, shunned by his creator, seeks his fortune in the world and sets out to assimilate into humankind, only to discover that the rest of society cannot bear his hideous countenance and look deeper into his soul. The kind-hearted monster, miserable beyond mention because of his loneliness, slowly becomes a monster in the sense of the word. If he cannot receive the love that he longs for, he will thus destroy it for all humanity. On his path to vengeance, he sets as his ultimate goal the destruction of his creator, and that is the tragedy of Frankenstein.

Gothic in content, Shelley's novel opened up a whole new genre of fiction that we now know today as science fiction. The novel raises questions of human nature that are left strikingly unanswered. If vengeance is so satisfying, then how possibly does it end up destroying both protagonist and his degenerate creation? Is tragedy still tragedy if it is, as in the case of Frankenstein, self-inflicted? If the creator of such a monster is left with nothing but misery, what does that say about God?

Raising a great deal of questions, this required summer reading of my AP lit class, I've got to say, is an epic. All 200 pages of it. On a lesser note, it was an easy read, not as difficult to comprehend as the Victorian works of its time. After all, it must be mentioned that Shelley was all of 18 when she wrote it.

Whether it be good or not, you be the judge.


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