I’m late! I know and I am sorry. I didn’t get a SIM card until Friday and I had bookish plans all weekend but I am back now 😀
Frankenstein. Well, this is just a tale of man playing God and being punished for his foolishness and ambition? Wrong. Or right, but it’s much more than that.
The rather dull English teacher interpretation is something about the romantic human meeting the magnificent but frightening world of science but let’s not go there 😉 I want to talk about humanity. About how we treat people who look different from ourselves. Because Frankenstein is not just a horror story – it is a tale of how we are human, what makes us so?
Frankenstein builds the creature and flees in horror and disgust after giving it life – he spends the rest of the book in deep agony and self pity. The creature finds shelter near a poor family from whom he learns love, compassion and language. He is a very intelligent being but every time people see him they judge him by his wretched looks and scream and flee because of his hideousness before he can explain that he is not a monster. He decides to approach his maker to make him build him a wife so he won’t be alone anymore but before he finds Frankenstein himself he meets Frankensteins younger brother and out of anger and vengence he kills the boy and frames a dear friend of the Frankensteins for the murder. Frankenstein is certain that the creature is the killer but the evidence is overwhelming and the woman is sentenced to death.
I will be honest that reading this for the first time years ago I was quite sure that F got it wrong – that Shelley wanted to show us that the monster rarely look as we think it does – but no. The killer is indeed the creature, and he doesn’t stop here. When F refuses to create him a wife the creature murders Fs best friend, then his wife and then his father dies from grief – Frankenstein starts to pursue the creature and we end up in the arctic sea where we began. So we are left with two monsters. The creator who shunned and abandoned his own creation and the creation who ends up the monster everyone thinks him to be.
And this is what I want you to take away from the story to think about – had the creation been treated differently would he then have acted differently? Had the creature been met with love and understanding 6 people (7 if we include the creation as a person) would not have lost their lives. There is no excuse for murdering a human being (and that includes the death penalty imo) but the creature was not a monster to begin with. The constant hate and fear he was exposed to drove him there. He was an intelligent being with a wish to be a part of human society but was shunned and metaphorically hunted with pitchforks. I am not saying that every human being is capable of horrific actions when pushed to the extreme or that there is any justification for the actions whatsoever – but the deaths might still have been avoided.
To me there are no easy answers to the questions that Frankenstein raises about humanity. Is it human to commit murder? Lots of humans do it – but does the action then take away their humanity or is it part of human nature? Is it part of humanity to fear those who look different from ourselves? Looking at how alive racism still is, it certainly looks that way. Most who exhibit racist behavior are in other aspects of their lives decent and normal people – they are not devils just as Frankenstein was a loving son, friend and husband – but a complete asshole towards his own creation.
Now, you may have read Frankenstein and now you are thinking: Okay, what the hell is she talking about?!
But that is the beauty of tales like Frankenstein – we will all see different things as points of interests. The very conservative religious person may see this as cautionary tale of not to mess with creation. And you may have focussed on something else entirely. I’d love to hear what you took away from the story if you have read it .
Also it is hard for me not to draw parallels to Don Rosas Bombie the Zombie that is hunting Scrooge McDuck after his ambition drives him to destroy a native village. I think there might have been some inspiration from Frankenstein.
Don’t forget to check out the posts from Sara from In a nutshell, Noelle from The Classy Junk, Kristina from The Eyre Effect and Helene from Circle Skirts & Petticoats and see what they thought of the book and which outfits they chose to go with Frankenstein 😀 I promise you all of them is worth a look! This time because I’m super late I had the chance to read all their posts before they could read mine >.<