Sometimes I wish that mandatory schooling were still part of my life. It was a time when I was forced to read books that I did not care to read for my own good…that is one thing understood! But it was all character building and much appreciated in the future. These days, it is difficult to find the time to read with all of the responsibilities that demand attention like ravenous goldfish during feeding time! But one of the books that stand out in memory is Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein!
I enjoyed this book for a number of reasons. It is intriguing how much different it is from the iconic Universal Studios monster and popular Halloween staple with the bolts on its neck. The monster of Mary Shelley’s novel was born intelligent but was hideously deformed considering it was fashioned with the flesh of corpses stolen from the graveyard. Upon realizing the grotesque nature of his creation, Victor Frankenstein promptly abandons it and left the creation to fend for himself in an unforgiving world. The creation lived a life of intense suffering and even his heroic acts such as saving a little girl from drowning were met with violence from a fearful public. The only act of kindness he received was from a man who was completely blind and he was promptly beaten when the other occupants of the home eventually returned. The book explores the subject of nature vs. nurture. Are people born evil or do they gradually become that way over a long life of abuse and absolutely no breaks? It is my opinion that a small number of people are truly born evil and nothing that happens to them will change the future. With others, they are born with a greater tendency to do terrible things to mankind and the horrible experiences they have in life are the final straw that bring these malevolent tendencies to the surface.
The term, “Frankenstein Monster” became a metaphor due to this particular book. It implies that evil may be created and is manmade when society exploits someone or something without realizing the consequences of their actions. The book also focuses on the creator of the monster and how he goes back to trying to live his life as though nothing ever happened even though he tried to play God. Any boy can make a mess but it takes a man to clean it up. I believe that the condition of the environment and issues such as Global Warming are an example of a Frankenstein Monster because mankind created this issue by littering the ocean with plastic. We have a mess to clean up, and it is time to roll up our sleeves and get started. The Universal Studios monster is just like an emotionless, malicious shark. It is nothing like Mary Shelley’s original vision, which was nearly human.
The monster decides to seek vengeance against his creator for ruining his entire life from Day One. Due to the monster’s superhuman abilities he is unable to be stopped and ultimately ends up destroying himself after Victor Frankenstein dies from exhaustion. I believe that mankind has the ability to create incredible things but we also may suffer dearly from making unethical decisions or taking things too far. This is an ethical question with something like cloning. Or there is eugenics when scientists have the ability to determine what kinds of people are born and to weed out people with so-called defects.
I would like you to think about one of your favorite books and why it has left such an impact on your life. It could even be something juvenile such as one of the Berenstein Bear Books that taught a lesson or is the essence of childhood. In a world of YouTube videos, Netflix, overscheduling, and different forms of instant gratification it is easy to forget about the printed word. This is not an attempt to lecture all of you because it is surely a struggle that I currently have and wish that I had the same passion as during those childhood days of yore and yesteryear. There have been some times when I have read something on the treadmill at the YMCA and briefly rekindled that passion. Perhaps it will come back.