Frankenstein

Out of all the books that we’ve read so far in Arts One, and perhaps including the books that we have yet to read, Frankenstein is my favourite. I liked it for both personal and academic reasons. We’ve encountered various monsters throughout the various texts we’ve trudged through, but I think the creation in Frankenstein is the ultimate monster that dominates and eclipses the rest. He’s not the type of evil, seductive monster one would encounter in The Odyssey, or the raging feminist Medea, or the type of “good” monster that unites human beings together in Leviathan. In some ways the creation in Frankenstein is the stereotypical monster. We once agreed, as a seminar class, that the definition of a monster is an individual that is socially isolated, misunderstood by society, want to be accepted, yet use the wrong methods. I’d say Frankenstein fits this very definition, or stereotype, of monsters that exists in the educated mind (the less educated would say a monster is one of those boogeyman who hides in one’s closet, then jumps out at night).
Some people could arguably say that the Frankenstein’s creation is the monster in the novel, but I honestly never thought of it that way. I think Frankenstein himself is more the monster, but I’ll explain why later. Initially, I thought the name “Frankenstein” referred to the creation itself, and not the creator. Various cartoon series I used to watch when I was little made me think that way. In reality, “Frankenstein” was the creator. The novel never gives the creation any name, let alone call it “Frankenstein.” This somewhat influenced me to think that perhaps the creator, Frankenstein, is the monster- although, I admit, I have associated the word “Frankenstein” so much with a monstrous individual that my thoughts may be biased. Maybe there were no monsters! But to me, Frankenstein is the obvious monster.
Frankenstein, in some ways, represents society. We agreed in our seminar discussions that society’s expectations and norms give birth to monsters, who don’t quite fit into these regulations. Frankenstein was expecting a creation that resembled a human physically. What he failed to realize was that he had created a human emotionally, but that the creation was encaged in the physical body of a “monster.” Frankenstein only saw the physical side to his creation, and that was enough to repulse him. The creation itself represents the kind of social misfit who can’t fit in anywhere, and turns to destructive means. Many serial killers and notorious criminals could probably relate to Frankenstein’s creation, as well as those responsible for school shootings.
Another reason why I thought the creation outshined other monsters we’ve read about in Arts One was because while the other monsters showed some human characteristics, this monster was almost entirely human except in physical features. In other words, this was the most human monster we’ve encountered to date. I can use one word to describe this monster: haunting. Even more hauntingly beautiful than Caliban’s speeches in The Tempest. I think the last image the novel leaves us with has imprinted on my memory for indefinable reasons. There’s something so human about this monster that I can’t describe it, and something so pitiful and admirable that no words can express it. He’s human because he was born good, he wanted acceptance and couldn’t get it. He had a much purer and innocent heart to begin with than many humans I know nowadays, but because of his deformed features, he was doomed to be forever alone. Most people in such situations would probably go off on a murder spree without feeling an ounce of remorse, but this monster actually had a conscience. He lamented the death of Frankenstein when I probably would’ve celebrated the event. Frankenstein gave him nothing but a cursed existence, but the creation felt responsible for the death of his creator and offered to kill himself as compensation. It’s his love for humans and need for acceptance (a human trait) that ultimately killed the creation in the end.

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1 Response to Frankenstein

  1. I completely agree that the Frankenstein monster is probably the easiest ‘monster” to sympathize with in the texts we’ve read so far. You could say he the easiest creature to relate to. He’s been abandoned by his God, and desperately does what he can to fit within society to fulfill his needs as a social creature. His greatest sin is his birth, something he had no say in. He’s unnatural and cannot be accepted by anyone reflecting our own monstrosity within society. The ending where he weeps for his creators death, demonstrates his human capacity and shows that even after all the crimes he’s committed and hatred he’s succumbed to he’s still capable of showing repentance and remorse.

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