Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.
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Initially, I picked up this book for an assignment in English class, but slowly the story enveloped and carried me along the emotional tides of Frankenstein’s storytelling. Because that’s what it is… Frankenstein, the doctor, telling the story to Walton, a ship’s captain. I had no idea what I would encounter beyond the basic knowledge I grew up with: a doctor creates a monster from the dead. What I found within these 166 pages was much better than I could ever imagine.
The letters at the beginning of the book confused me initially because I expected the book to open with Dr. Frankenstein creating the monster. Instead, Mary Shelley shows a sense of humor through her introduction of the monster (who I really believe needs a name) and Dr. Frankenstein. This isn’t a spoiler, but it does give away some of the humorous surprise: Frankenstein’s monster is seen on a dog-sled sledding over the ice, and, a few hours or days later, Frankenstein is seen on a dog-sled chasing his monster. When Frankenstein boards the ship, he begins to tell the story of how he started chasing the mysterious man, aka his monster, across treacherous ice. At this moment, I knew I would love the story.
While the story itself moves at a fast-pace the “old style English” slowed my reading, initially. I haven’t been a big one of classics so reading the longer and complex sentences at a time for leisure really tired me out. (I may have almost fallen asleep once while reading and listening to a slower song.) Definitely by the time Frankenstein’s monster began telling Frankenstein his story of after the escape, the book started flying by twenty to thirty pages at a time before I would check the page numbers or time. At this point, Mary Shelley writes Frankenstein’s monster’s story within Frankenstein’s story within Walton writing letters to his sister. Literally story-ception at a master level.
Now, back to the plot. I loved it! Again, I wasn’t quite sure what I got myself into when I chose this book for English. I just knew I HAD to read it no matter what. Boy, I am glad I did. This book inspired me to definitely start the “A Classic A Month” challenge due to how much I love it. The plot starts with Walton, an average man who wants to head on a ship northward and do science-y stuff. Then, Frankenstein appears and begins telling a story of his life from toddler age. Initially, I felt the beginning of the story could have been thrown out, but as the story developed I discovered the importance of the back story in the reasoning for Frankenstein’s actions towards the monster.
Overall, I fell in love with Frankenstein and his monster. I rooted for both despite their conflicting opinions and actions towards each other throughout the majority of the story.
Have you read Frankenstein? Will you be participating in the “A Classic A Month” challenge? Which classic book do you recommend next? Tell me in the comments!
Much love, XOXO,
~A Writer Named Charley~