Looking for an intense read? Take time to go back to the original story of Frankenstein written in 1818 but Mary Shelley. If you haven’t read it – I think you should. If you read it in high school you might want to return to it. It is great to read the classics and it is also important to see the world from a different time period.
This short, intense and dense story was written by an 18 year old girl during a time period when woman did not have much of a say in anything. Her life alone is a great story.
- She was extremely well read – versed in science, poetry, literature. (In her writing she easily includes lines or ideas from The Iliad, Paradise Lost, Shakespeare and others.)
- She is traveling and conversing with Percy Shelley, who becomes her husband, and Lord Byron when this story came into creation.
- When she began this writing she was still known as Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. She had two children (one died in child birth) and was unmarried.
- and novel reading at this time was often thought the cause and the result of idleness. (Read not well accepted – one should only be reading the facts to educate yourself)
If you get the idea this author was not your everyday teenager.
Given the back story of the author I also marvel over the intensity that she builds in her story telling. Yes, there is violence – people are killed but those scenes are quick and not a focus of the tale. It is the push and pull between Victor Frankenstein and his monster that creates the tension we feel as we read.
Victor Frankenstein is seeking to understand the world and what is life. This leads him to an awful creation. He then can’t stand what he has done and runs from his work. The fiend or monster, a very cultured being, is also seeking to understand and be understood. His loneliness and inability to make connections with anyone leads him to anger and revenge.
Shelley’s use of language creates a cold and dark world with lots of questions to ponder. It is a short book but for me a long read. I needed to take my time, breath and reflect on complexed emotions that she brings to us.
It also made me wonder about our learning gap. What have we lost over time as we live in a world of speed – twitter, e-mail and the quick picture?
This was written by an 18 year old!
I feel our loss of language, the loss of complex stories and deep emotions which are present in this classic. I know we can find writers like this today who pulling bits and pieces of others work into their story. Yes, Mary was certainly unusual for her day.
Even so how many of todays stories will still be around 197 years from now? Which stories will still be quoted, made into movies (or what ever we are watching/experiencing in the future)?
It is an amazing piece of writing and well worth the time to read (not watch) this master piece.
Have you read Frankenstein lately? What do you think?