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Frankenstein - Review by Jenna, Teen Blogger


When most people hear the name ‘Frankenstein’, they think of a huge, green monster with bolts in his head that walks around like a zombie. However, the original novel by Mary Shelley is not the story you think it is. It’s not about an evil monster causing havoc for the sake of being evil, nor is it about the task of creating this monster. Frankenstein isn’t even the invention; he is the inventor. The monster that most people think is called Frankenstein is actually a grotesque, nameless, and intelligent being that causes enough empathy in readers to make them believe that the real monster is indeed the scientist who created him.

Discover Catalogue - Frankensetin

Frankenstein is a story about human nature and God-complex, about whether or not we are responsible enough as human beings to deal with the consequences of defying nature and playing God. Frankenstein is a scholar who discovers a way to recreate life, and believes that creating a stronger, superior, and more intelligent being is what he should do. However, when the creature turns out to be hideous and grotesque, Frankenstein chooses to ignore it and his responsibility to guide the monster as its creator, which comes to haunt him.

An interesting aspect of this novel is that Frankenstein is retelling his experiences to another ambitious man. This man, named Walton, parallels Frankenstein; he is a motivated man who looks for greatness rather than wealth, who desires to know things about the world which no one else does. Frankenstein, however, is not brought to Walton by fate to befriend him. He tells his tale to warn Walton of the dangers of ambition:

“Learn from me, if not by my percepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.”

This theme of cautioning ambition or prioritizing knowledge over love is one that Shelley plants throughout the novel, along with the theme of the responsibility we owe our creations. The story resembles the creation of Adam and Eve, with Frankenstein playing the part of God, and his monster playing the part of Adam. Only Frankenstein is not a benevolent God. He creates a monster so hideous that it will forever be hated and attacked by society, and then continues to duck all of the responsibility and consequences that come from this mistake. In this, Shelley begs the question, do humans really have the maturity to handle being gods when things are not all great? Or are we too selfish, and thus our advancements in science should be stopped before we can no longer handle the responsibility that they bring?

Frankenstein is a wonderful work of literature, particularly if you’re the kind of person who likes to look for a deeper meaning in things. Although it captured my interest throughout, it could be a little dense at times, and it isn’t a nice, light read I would bring to the beach. However, those beach books don’t have Frankenstein’s thought-provoking and morally ambiguous themes or its ability to twist a reader’s opinions of its complex characters so often and so easily. There is an abundance of treasure in Frankenstein that is just waiting to be analysed, and I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is willing to search out those pieces of gold. As always, this novel can be found at Halifax Public Libraries.

Jenna,
Teen Blogger

 

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