Thursday, August 12, 2010

Who's the Monster in Frankenstein

Our book club read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley this time around. Remember reading Frankenstein as a kid so revisiting the book after decades has been an interesting journey. Here are things that I learned in the revisitation.

1. Mary Shelley wrote the book when she was about 19 years old as part of a writing exercise with other writers. Another person in the group wrote a book, The Vampire. Judging by the current trend of vampires, werewolves and such on the movie screens these days, I'd say what they wrote has lasting appeal.

2. There are words in the book that I didn't know and will have to look up. Identifying the new words is okay but looking the words up...that will be a drudgery but I assigned it to kids for decades so I should just do it without whining!!

3. The question remains after all the decades: Who is the monster in the novel, Frankenstein? Is it the creator Victor Frankenstein or is it the nameless creature? My opinion is that Victor was pretty much of a jerk to have created the creature and then spurn him so completely. What was he thinking? Why didn't he start with a smaller creature to try his experiment on? He wanted to play God and yet he could not face up to his responsibility of bringing new life to the world. Sounds like some other irresponsible and immature jerks I have known in my life. What's up with that?

Really enjoyed and appreciated the book. There were revelations and understanding. Allusions abound in the novel...for a lit major, it is like finding gold in a dusty mine...Ah...Rime of the Ancient Mariner...Paradise Lost...Prometheus...and so on. It is great to read the old school novels to see character development, dialogue, and description painstakingly built.

Wonder what we will read for our next selection.

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