Sunday, February 12, 2006

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

I thought that I was familiar with the story of Frankenstein and his monster, but I was surprised at how different it was from my expectations. There was no spooky castle in the mountains, no lightning to bring the monster to life, no fear of fire, no Igor. Instead, the creature is created in an apartment and ends up being both intelligent and well-spoken. The story doesn’t focus on the monster, but on the torment that the doctor puts himself through after bringing his creation to life. His angst was a bit much to take (the good doctor wails loudly at seemingly every opportunity), but didn’t blunt the main theme of not all knowledge should be pursued.

The writing is surprisingly unimpressive for such a famous work; every character (including the monster!) speaks with the same flowery style that sounds as if they consult a thesaurus before making a sound. For instance, the monster has this to say when he first confronts Frankenstein: “Remember, that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather thy fallen angel ... I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy and I again shall be virtuous. If you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends!” Quite a mouthful from a being that learned English by eavesdropping.

First Sentence:
You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.

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