Saturday, September 18, 2010

Frankenstein (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Victor Frankenstein is driven by his hunger for scientific knowledge and accomplishment. What he can not know is that one day, after he creates a living, breathing being, he will regret his scientific pursuits. This created being is hideous and rejected by all who meet him, including his creator. Rejection leads the creature to become a monster filled with despair and rage. In a futile attempt to pacify the creature, Victor agrees to create a female companion, but finds that he is unable to finish the task. At Victor's refusal to create the companion, the monster is filled with hatred and commits additional murders. The only recourse for Victor is to pursue his creation and destroy it.

This is not a book I would have chosen to read on my own. It was required reading for my current British Literature class and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Mary Shelley used three characters to narrate during the story: Captain Walton, Victor Frankenstein and the creature. I thought the chapters narrated by the monster were particularly interesting. They developed the character of the monster beyond just a hideous, killing machine. It gave insight was to why the monster behaved in the way he did. I suspect that Mary Shelley may have been making a statement about children. The creature craved love, affection and acceptance, just as all children do. Yet, when rejected and deprived of natural affection, the creature became a monster filled with pain and anger.

Mary Shelley was the daughter of writer Mary Wollstonecraft and the wife of poet Percy Shelley. I especially liked how Mary Shelley used some of her husband's poetry in the narrative of the story. The story behind the creation of this book is also unique. Mary and Percy were part of a small group which agreed that they would each write a ghost story. After being unable to think of a plot, Mary Shelley conceived the concept of Frankenstein during a resting period when she was neither conscious nor completely asleep.

This particular edition included an Introduction, Further Reading, Notes on the text, the Author's Introduction, a Preface by Percy Shelley and appendixes featuring works by others that were part of the group that committed to writing ghost stories.

No comments:

Post a Comment