Frankenstein is classic literature, written by Mary Shelley and published in 1818. This novel has been classified as one of the first science fiction and a true Gothic novel. As per popular assumption, Frankenstein is not the monster, in fact, quite the contrary Dr. Frakenstein is the scientist who created the monster. The monster does not have any name in the book.
The story has been told in 3 frames of reference. First is Walton who is on an expedition to the northern hemisphere and is telling the story to his sister via letters. He peculiarly met Dr. Frankenstein and in the 2nd frame of reference, Victor Frankenstein tells his life story to Caption Walton. In his pursuit of science and knowledge at the University of Ingolstadt, Victor learned a secret technique to give life form to non-living matter. To prove himself, he created a humanoid and gave life to it only to realize that he has created a monster.
Feeling the hatred of the world and being left on his own by his own creator, the monster found himself very alone in this world, and to take revenge he killed Victor’s brother. On confronting him, the monster tells Victor his narrative and makes an unusual demand from him. And Victor has been doomed both ways either he fulfills this demand or he denies it.
My experience reading it
I picked this book as part of the #RubyReads book club. Even though this book is quite popular and well-loved, I think I wouldn’t have picked this book myself due to the gothic genre, but I am so glad I picked this book. Usually, I take my own sweet time when I am reading a classic, because the stories are mostly slow, but this book was quite a page-turner for me.
There are few things which I really want to talk about. First is the God complex. I think there are so many movies or books written on this idea, but I feel this might be quite an advanced one for its time. It really raises the question that just because humans can do something, should we do it? In every such book and movie we see that whenever human tries to become God, the entire civilization is doomed. Take Jurassic Park for example. Just because scientists can create dinosaurs, should they create them?
Recently I was reading the book Sapiens wherein the concluding chapters the author mentioned the advancement humans have done in the fields of genealogy and they are thinking to recreate other extinct species of humans, like Neanthredals so that they can study it better. But after reading this book I was just thinking are we taking any lessons from these stories. How far we will go just in the pursuit of knowledge? Do our cognitive abilities which lead to our current civilizations & monopoly on earth as a species will be the cause of our doom also?
The monster was so much hated by all the humans in the story. In reality, he was just an ugly-looking creature who craves some love and company. And denied that by everyone including his creator, he turns bitter and murderous. It was so heart-breaking to read his story. It can be parallelized to some extent to unwanted kids who are born just to face the hatred and repulsion of their parents throughout their life. But still, they get a chance to form bonds outside their family. It is very difficult to imagine being completely alone in this world and still having the sanity of mind to live a healthy life.
In conclusion, I just absolutely loved this book and will highly recommend it.