The face of Frankenstein’s monster, has become known as Frankenstein himself, and that is only the beginning of the misinterpretations brought about by the cinematic version of Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein.
For years I have loved the aesthetic of those dramatics portrayed through film, the lightning, the hunch back assistant hobbling around, the popular phrase, “Its alive!” You’ll find none of that in this book. There is no ominous laboratory, or corpse like descriptions of reanimation, and while the creature doesn’t destroy the town in a manner worthy of pitchforks and townsfolk, but there is plenty to emotionally invest in. Devastating losses, and paranoid ideations plague Victor Frankenstein after he creates his creature, and we are taken with him on his remorseful journey of elusion as he recants his tale at sea on the frozen Arctic Ocean. This story, from both the point of view of Victor Frankenstein, and his creature was something far more emotional than I would have ever expected.
That recommendation is straight from my top five books post, but I couldn’t find a better organization of the words, of the feelings, of the meaning that Frankenstein delivered than that first slue of words that came so effortlessly. When I consider my journey with this piece of literature, it was slow to start on multiple levels. While most had long ago fallen in love with Frankenstein during their adolescents, I had never had the opportunity to find Mary Shelley’s work in my hands. It wasn’t until after I began college, and my Gothic Literature class passed on without mention of Frankenstein, that my taste for that classic, decrepit type of Gothic horror, demanded more of my experience with it. I chose my first edition, of the countless covers, and took home a piece of literature I was proud to own, only to end up not reading it immediately.
A few months passed, as school and work swelled up above my interest to swallow all of my time, and reading was placed on the back burner. When I would have a moment for literature, the initial letters in the beginning of this book, although filled with beautifully lyrical descriptions, would fail to grab my attention. At the end of the last letter, there was little that could be done to separate myself from this book. When it becomes clear that this salvaged stranger, plucked from his watery arctic death, turns out to be Victor Frankenstein, ready to share his tale, I was more eager to read a book than I had been in months. I knew, going into this, that the cinematic version was absolutely nothing like the book, but it takes reading it for one to realize just how many liberties were taken. Frankenstein on film, in any retelling, is little more than a similar concept with recycled names.
Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein, takes you on an emotional journey from two separate points of view, where for different reasons, a man and a creature are in search of the same type of emotional satisfactions in their lives, and they happen to destroy each other on the way to achieving their purely selfish desires. I’ve heard negative reviews of Frankenstein, that it is nothing more than a grown man complaining, and while that certainly does occur, I wish more adults would complain in such an linguistically eloquent fashion. More men and women should shake that preconceived notion that we are weak when we are emotionally exposed, Victor Frankenstein and his creature showed raw emotions, they explained them, and expressed them. There was no need for an illusion of character between the two or to any they should meet as I find far too often, and so frustratingly slow in other stories. Why must we wait for the person who is causing our emotional grief to be whisked away by the plot before we can tell them how they are making us feel? Frankenstein was something so real, and raw, and if I’m to not be a hypocrite, I should confess that at the end of this book, I was impressed beyond words, and moved to tears.