Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I recently finished Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and these are my slightly weird, and incoherent thoughts. Whoo.

The book
This is a ridiculously famous book. It’s been adapted a gajillion times, in different mediums. So how would you not know what it’s about? And why am I chastising you? Who knows? It starts with a ship captain who is going to the Arctic, and while he’s sailing he sees a huge monstrous man on a sled. The monster disappears and another man shows up and is saved by the crew. That guy is Victor Frankenstein, a young Swiss Doctor who is following the monster. He tells the captain his story. Frankenstein made the monster, he reanimated a dead person, and the monster then went on a rampage. So that’s fun.

It’s odd that even though I’ve only ever seen one Frankenstein adaption I have this image of Frankenstein’s monster as this big, lumbering, grunting, idiot monster. He’s not. Also the adaption I saw was Young Frankenstein, so I’m not even sure I have a good enough frame of reference as far as adaptions go. The monster isn’t like that. He is big, but he’s not lumbering, or grunting. He spends almost a year in a cabin and learns French by listening in on a family. He then learns another language. He is bilingual, yeah. He’s smart, he learns languages by just, hanging around. He knows what berries and roots to eat. He’s a clever cadaver.

It’s fantastically interesting. It is a story of morals and ethics. Basically Victor Frankenstein makes this creature. He figures out how to reanimate people. Yeah. The novel doesn’t explain it, which was fun. Basically he’s just working, and then he has a cadaver, and suddenly it’s alive, which is just great. Then he gets completely disgusted by what he’s done and just leaves his room, leaving his creature alone. Because that’s smart. Then he comes back and the creature is gone, and he just thinks: awesome, he’s split, perfect. Shelley words that a bit differently.

Victor is clearly very horrified by what he’s done. He feels awful. He wishes the monster would go away somehow and just leave him. He does think about it a lot. He feels like he’s toyed with nature and fucked up everything, and this will ruin everything. And he should feel these things. He created someone, just because he can, and then leaves the creature to fend for itself. He knows it’s wrong what he’s done, but still.

Basically the creature leaves Geneva, where Victor is hanging out, and he basically finds this family in a cottage and spends his days staring at the people in a cabin he stumbles over. He doesn’t understand what they’re saying at first, but by watching them, and because there is a woman in the house who doesn’t speak the language either, he learns as she learns. He finds these people fascinating and he wants to meet them, talk to them, and be loved by them, like he loves them. When he actually reveals himself to them he’s rejected and he snaps. He goes on a murderous rampage basically. Well rampage is a bit of an overstatement. He figures that the reason he isn’t loved is because he’s too different and too damaged and fucked up, so no one will love him. And this is Victor’s fault. So he decides to torture him by killing his loved ones until Victor makes him a mate. It’s a solid plan, let’s be honest.

I think Victor’s qualms and his discussions with himself regarding this mate is very interesting. He has this very serious debate with himself, about whether he can with good conscience make another monster, even if the creature promises they’ll go away. I really like his decision and his rationalization. I found it an interesting choice. He is very aware of the consequences of his choice and he still makes it. To be fair, both choices are completely shit and have awful consequences. If he makes another creature he’ll be responsible for another monster, if he doesn’t the monster will terrorize him and kill his remaining loved ones. He also thinks a lot about how the potential will react to being made, like the creature did, and will she love the creature? Or will she reject him too? Will she go on a murderous rampage? And is this the only way of getting the creature to leave him alone? This is me trying to avoid spoilers. 

The whole thing is just so dark, and hopeless and Victor is just so desperate to rectify his mistake, but he has no way of doing it. The creature is desperate to have someone love him. He is trying so hard. He saves a little girl from drowning and her dad chases him off. He tries to help the people in the cottage, and they reject him. He wants his creator to make him a mate, just so he can have someone equally unappealing in the world, because then that person will love him. He really only does wants someone to love him. I thought that was fascinating.

Final thoughts

It’s so dark, and so awesome. And oh my God, so many feelings.