Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Creepy Classic Review: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

What can I say about a classic like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein?  Brilliant, methodical, soul-searching... yes, all of these and more.  With fevered intensity, Victor Frankenstein conspired to wield the hand of God.  Shelley artfully described Victor’s outlandish beliefs and passion for the impossible, and I found it inspiring to read to say the least.  Such dedication to one’s plight to forgo relationships, food, sleep to the point that one's life becomes a hodge-podge of research testing and theorizing.

Salvaging spare dead body parts to create life, Frankenstein was a man obsessed.  At first, he believed he’s done what he so passionately strove to do, create a living, breathing being.  When he wakes from his one night’s slumber, he realizes the thing is wretched and horrible to view.  In a mad dash, he leaves, retreating in his mind, conspiring on his next moves.  In doing so, he stumbles upon an old friend and feels inclined to bring him back to him home.  This next part was laugh out loud funny. Frankenstein’s a character.  He believes the monster’s in his home and won’t let his friend in see his place.  Once he realizes the beast is gone, he joyfully invites his friend in for refreshments.  Oh joy!  Like I said, he’s a character.

Moments later, Frankenstein faints, succumbing to vicious fever.  Finally reviving from his debilitating condition, he thinks he’s imagined the monster – and that he doesn’t really exist.  Two years later, he spies the creature and suspects the wretched thing actually does.  In his mind, he traces it back to that fevered night.  “Alas, I had turned loose into the world a depraved wretch…”  Despair swallows him once he believes the monster is the murderer of a beloved brother, William.  Is Frankenstein’s plight all in vain and his monster retaliating, an eye for an eye?  Or in the beast’s case, with my life, I give you death?

Frankenstein finally meets the monster.  And the beast speaks too and quite eloquently I might add. He’s lived the last two year experiencing life, learning emotions, absorbing every nuance of detail…and for what?  To hear the monster describe his short-time living among humans and thereafter, the sorrows and dejection that rob his mind was gut-wrenching.  One can’t help but feel sorry for the beast.  And now he wants a companion.  A female one too. Can you blame him?

The story morosely unfolds from there, delving deeper into the challenge that Victor has.  Can he concede to the demands of a wretched beast?  What guilt besieges him in creating life in the first place?  And now he must do it again?  Can he?  What about his own life?  What’s it worth at this point?  I won’t say any more you’ll have to read it yourself.

Shelley was so ahead of her time with her gothic, gloomy tale, it confounds me.  In embarking on this novel, she created an eternal stamp in the literary world of monsters we crave so much today.  And her discussions on life – living it and the attempts to create it – well, just look at the world we live in now.  Amazing.  Mary Shelley was amazing and so is her classic, Frankenstein. I give it a 5, hands down.

Now you have no excuse. Go get this book and get it now.

Until next time…looking for something to read…try a Creepy Classic, try Frankenstein.

Mina B.

2 comments:

Top Ten Books said...

An aged classics and it has a reason why it's being read for 150 years...

Mina Burrows said...

Agreed.