Book 78: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Finished reading on October 10, 2013

Rating 7/10

It seems impossible that there would be someone who’s never heard of the story of Frankenstein, however it doesn’t seem to unlikely that not many have read the actual book.

For some time I’ve been proud enough of my knowledge that Frankenstein was not the monster, but the maker of it. However that was the knowledge with which I went in to it.

I was expecting something slightly different I guess, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

First off it’s told from the perspectives of a few characters and there are parts that give away something that has not yet happened.  That is it jumps from the end of the story to the very beginning on how Victor Frankenstein goes off to Ingolstadt to learn medicine. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to have much in common with the professors who condemn him for believing in the old practices that were not in use anymore but about which Frankenstein had read a lot about. And is still interested in. So in a way the book starts with showing how the higher education system doesn’t prevent mad scientists from unleashing monsters… although Frankenstein wasn’t really insane, he was just curious in a rather usual way being interested in a rather unusual topic. And naturally he had to try it out, to see whether he can create a living being.

(So in a way if his professors had at least told him that trying to make a living being out of pieces is a bad idea, then it might have helped as much as physicists saying you can’t build a perpetuum mobile…)

And then there’s the creature!

And suddenly Frankenstein becomes really sick after having given life to this monstrous and after the descriptions a hideous creature of awful proportions.

In a way that reminded me of Dostoyevski’s “Crime and Punishment” where Rodion becomes sick after having committed the crime.. or maybe he became ill even a little while before. Those two books were published 40 years apart, but it’s neat  how the same kind of psychological and physiological disorder occurs because of a real or perceived crime.

But back to the book – so monster’s gone, Frankenstein is sick and the Frankenstein’s brother is murdered. This leads to Frankenstein returning home and realizing that his brother had been killed by the monster…and he naturally wants revenge as William’s nanny was hanged innocently.

Now’s the part where it gets exciting. Frankenstein meets the creature and hears his story, which is rather interesting, as he tells about how he learned to speak and understand language, and about the people he was living next to until one day when he tries to make friends with them, is driven away. Unfortunately the monster, although big in proportions, is acting rather childishly and wants revenge on his creator,  who made him so ugly and big that he can never know love and affection and the happiness that can be gained by the presence of women. And also he burns down the house of the people who drove him away…

That’s why the monster goes after Frankenstein. The monster first tries to make a deal with Frankenstein so that the latter would create another monster of the opposite sex and he’ll leave Frankenstein and all of humankind in peace after that. And Frankenstein agrees.

When Frankenstein’s almost finished with his other monster, he suddenly realizes that maybe it’s not a good idea, since the second monster might be even worse than the first one and then they’d breed and there might be a serious threat to humankind… So he destroys the second monster before finishing it and has to feel the wrath  of the first monster.

That is one of those parts where the story could have gone differently – Frankenstein finishes the second monster and the two leave and are never seen again except in stories where there’s talk of yetis or snow-people etc… So what if that would have been it? Everyone lives happily ever after? Or maybe indeed the monsters would have started killing even more people than the one already had and later did? I guess it’s one of these times when it’s either saving yourself or humankind…

Well there are several murders and after that Frankenstein decides to pursue the monster and kill it or die trying and ends up in the Arctic sea on a boat. And that’s where he tells the story.

I found the book interesting because it wasn’t all about the same settings and characters and moods – it starts with the excitement of trying to create a living being, followed by the dismay and sickness after realizing what was created. After that there’s the dread and then the monster jumps out and tells his fluffy pink story of how he wanted to be friend with everyone and nobody likes him because of his appearance… And then there’s Frankenstein feverishly trying to make another creature to satisfy his first creation. And then running from him or trying to be ahead of him and protecting his friends and family. And it all ends with Frankenstein running after the monster to put an end to it all. And then there’s the fluffy monster again saying he would have been fine without killing so many people if only Frankenstein had done this and that…

And here’s the morale of the story:

Never make big ugly monsters, always make sure your monsters are small cuddly and cute! 😀

 

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