Reflections on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Artwork by gattadonna on DeviantArt (above) and Luis Prado cover art below.

coverart

The Gothic novel was created for a specific purpose: to enchant and horrify through its mysteries and monsters. Anyone who has ever read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus (1818) can insist it bears all the elements of terror and astonishment the Gothic novelist aimed to unleash. Yet, one cannot ignore the plaguing sense of despair upon completion of the novel. The dejection of humankind and their lack of compassion to embrace Victor Frankenstein’s ‘monster’calls on all sorts of modern day cases of victimization and alienation felt by the ‘other’ in society. Anyone who sits in the pocket of opposition (whether due to gender, race or personal preference) becomes this ‘other’: becomes the ‘monster’ that wearily trudges through Shelley’s pages. Was this ‘monster’ not a victim of a population so ensnared upon physical beauty, that they would instantaneously bare their fangs at an initially innocent, distorted creature? This nameless being, after all, did not ask to be born into a world which denies him loves and acceptance. A world void of kindness that persecutes him at the first chance they get, for his apparent differences. He was spurred into existence by a man consumed by ambition and greed, hungry for knowledge and power yet proving in the end to be clueless and powerless. Victor Frankenstein shuns his creation, his ‘baby’ if you will, and looks on him with shame that would turn any child cold. Discarded and disregarded, forever condemned to live a life drowned in misery and loneliness. The torture that ensues to destroy Victor Frankenstein’s life is a pity, but my sympathies lie nestled in the cold hands of the monster. He craved what we all crave: affection and tenderness. Anyone made to live a life of brutal rejection and attacked for their differences would retaliate in much the same manner, unless you’re a deeply enlightened or unaffected sort. But how do you make sense of indifference and enlightenment when you are the only one of your kind? Mankind has millions to comfort him and yet still feel the isolation that comes with questioning one’s existence. This ‘monster’, alone and condemned, had no chance of being a hero. Shelley chose to challenge the tropes of Romanticism which influenced her, bringing out a complexity and rawness that could only be nudged along by Gothic fiction.

frankenstein quote

So consider…

If you were to wake, to an exquisite new world filled with curiosities, to find your own mother curse you from birth with mad, murderous Lady Macbeth eyes…would you not learn to hate? Would you not see the futility of happiness if you were always on the outside looking in on it? So, when you reach the last page of Mary Shelley’s beautifully written novel, ask yourself who is the real monster? And most surely  you will find it is to be found in the mirrors of every home on earth.

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Published by

Kamalini Govender

I'm that girl that looks badass in her black boots reading Gothic Psychoanalytic Lit but really just wants to pew pew pew with someone.

7 thoughts on “Reflections on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.”

  1. I completely understand your point of view, and in fact agreed with it the first time I read the novel as well as now when I read your post. When I read it this winter, I was somehow furious with the monster. It’s an interesting question: is he the victim or does he make others his victim? Really, there are so many issues to consider: the roles and responsibilities of the scientist, what we do with the pain we suffer, etc. But basically, I agree with your post. This was a hard book (for me) to write about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I really appreciate that! I think I’ve read this book about 20 times now and it always draws me to consider new angles. Sometimes it can lead to despair. But I think what we should take away from it, is that we should be loving and respectful to all. And that’s a pretty beautiful plus to get out of a book that is drenched with darkness and misery. Thanks for the chat…I look forward to reading your future posts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Amen! I absolutely agree with your synopsis, that we should be loving to all. Now, if I had written that, my review would have been much easier!

        I was able to ponder the book more deeply after reading some of the comments on my post. One that particularly stuck out was the idea that Dr. Frankenstein himself was the monster. That’s another idea that, as a Christian, I agree with. I don’t believe we should take the creation of other beings into our own hands (i.e. laboratories). And it’s no wonder that chaos followed when the doctor assumed the role of God.

        I look forward to discussions with you, too, even though I’ve become a terrible commenter lately on blogs. I’ll do my best. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m new to the book blogging world, so the time you’ve taken to discuss my post with me kinda takes you off the terrible commenter list :p I totally agree with you. We have to step back and realize that playing an idea of a God ( a power hungry almighty one) as compared to living out the humane, loving principles that should exhibit the idea of a kind God, only leads to chaos and self destruction. Thank you for the excellent conversation 🙂

        Like

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