Frankenstein by the beach

Week 2 Holidays

What did I do?

Read Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley … at the beach

I am currently up to chapter 12. My initial thoughts were (sadly) of confusion; going into the novel without much prior knowledge of what the original tale actually owned was slightly disorienting. The cute appropriations of the story that I had seen before this were greatly skewed from Mary Shelley’s tale.

Firstly, there is no lighting strike and cry of “IT’S ALIVE” during the manufacture of Frankenstein’s ‘monster’. … I feel like I have been lied to; I was looking forward to this part. The actual method that Frankenstein discovered, to “create life”,  is very ambiguous – it not mentioned at all! I can understand why whoever included the miraculous lightning of life did so.

I am finding that the novel’s style, written as the recount of person’s life story, is frustratingly fatiguing. I am not sure if it only because I have become more accustomed to reading classics or if it is simply because of the nostalgic tone used, but it puts me to sleep. Sentences are long and very explanatory; just as you would suppose the speech of a man of science would be like. Shelley quotes published works frequently. For example: her use of the poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge emphasises the sense of guilt, “fear and dread” felt by Frankenstein after his creation of the monster. She used the concept of the emotional distance of an outcast, seen in Coleridge’s poem, to convey the torment and guilt that Frankenstein experienced.

How well do I think that she has conveyed her messages?

Following the Romantic ideals of nature and its aversion to the advancements of science, I believe that Mary Shelley has, so far, effectively conveyed what she perceives science to be, a danger. There is a constant theme of nature V science throughout the novel, developing from a wonder of the ways of nature into the thirst for knowledge and closure that led him to make the monster. There is a sense of awe when he returns to his home town and he finds peace and beauty in nature once again. Shelley clearly indicates that nature is safer, more beautiful and less dangerous when it remains in its original state and that to attempt to improve upon nature, to try and trump God, is a dangerous and terrible thing. This theme is what makes me believe that the film The Prestig(2006), directed by Christopher Nolan, would be an effective related text because in its own way, it warns against giving in to a lust for more power.

Is there anything that I don’t understand?

  • The intelligence of the monster.
  • The mystery [method] of his creation?
  • The meaning behind the death of his brother?

Holiday To-Dos:

  • Look at previous HSC Exams and…
  • Draw up ideas for creative writing
  • Watch Bright Star (2009) directed by Jane Campion
  • Finish reading Frankenstein

Image: My own (edited with PicsArt)

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