Mini Classic Review: Frankenstein

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Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley’s chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Byron’s villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world’s most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity

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I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.

Someone needs to tell Frankenstein that all of his problems were caused by himself and he needs to stop with the whining. But no matter how much Frankenstein cried about his life, I still absolutely adored this book.

Frankenstein follows Victor Frankenstein who is sent off to university where he quickly becomes disillusioned with his studies. One night, he makes a remarkable discovery and within weeks he has reanimated a corpse made from multiple bodies. Frankenstein is immediately horrified by what he has done and abandons his creature. As Frankenstein makes his way back home, unfortunate events and deaths follow in his wake, and he soon realises that his creature is after him and trying to enact revenge for his abandonment.

I quite like reading Classics books but I’m still surprised by how much I loved Frankenstein. The gothic aesthetic, the beautiful writing, the lovely scenery all made for a wonderful reading experience. I also listened to a portion of this book as an audiobook, which is narrated by Dan Stevens, and OMG! That man has an incredible voice, I highly recommend you listen to his audio production!

Like most people, I had a pretty good idea of what Frankenstein was about before reading it as it’s become so entrenched within the media and culture, but even so there was a lot that took me off guard. For example, I had assumed that Frankenstein spent a bit of time with the Creature before he inevitably abandons him, but no: as soon as the Creature opens his eyes, Frankenstein is overcome with horror and disgust and immediately leaves him. So the Creature has to raise himself by learning how to speak, learning how to cook for himself, etc., which he does by watching a poor family. It’s awfully heartbreaking and you can’t help but feel for him.

There’s a lot of interpretations readers can draw from the novel: themes of mortality, comparisons of Frankenstein as God and the Creature as Lucifer; but my favourite is Frankenstein as a symbol of the government and people in power, and the Creature as the working class/poor. Frankenstein, as the creator, is meant to care and provide for the Creature, and he is supposed to take responsibility for him. Instead, he forces the Creature to support himself and makes it so incredibly difficult for the Creature whenever the he attempts to better himself. Shelley is showing how powerful institutions are corrupt and do not take responsibility for the wider public as they are supposed to. The Creature (the working class) is so angry at this refusal of responsibility that he begins to fight back — like the working class of the 19th century would revolt against the government.

No matter what your interpretation of this book is, Frankenstein is a book that should be read by everyone. It’s evocative and fascinating, and Frankenstein himself with make you laugh from his constant whining about how horrible his life has become, when he himself is the reason his life is so terrible.

7 thoughts on “Mini Classic Review: Frankenstein

  1. Azia says:

    I’ve just finished reading this for the first time myself!! I can’t say that I loved it as much as you, but I really appreciate Shelley’s symbolism and themes. It’s really brilliant overall. I think I was put off by the pacing. But everything else was so well done. I was really surprised by how quickly Frankenstein abandoned the monster too. Not what I thought had went down based on all the other versions of the story I’ve seen. But the show Penny Dreadful does a pretty excellent job adapting this story! Very dark but extremely compelling show. Highly recommend haha

    Like

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