It’s Monday! What are you reading? Frankenstein

51eg4L0o4OL._AA160_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?

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About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Book Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to It’s Monday! What are you reading? Frankenstein

  1. LOVE THIS!!! Frankenstein is my absolute favorite novel. So intense! Mary Shelley was quite a woman!

  2. I read this in college, but my book group read it last fall and I really enjoyed reading it again. I agree with you that it’s “an amazing piece of writing” and really thought-provoking. Well worth a second (or first) read!

  3. Linda Baie says:

    I’ve taught this book but it’s now been several years, maybe time to return to it? Thanks for reminding about this amazing Mary Shelley. I agree about the complexity of those who were literate during that time, but remember also not everyone even knew how to read in other parts of life. One of my uncles, who ran his own auto service shop for years always told of being in trouble at school & not being a good students. He invented quite a few things in his life time & it was only much later that he shared that he wrote poetry, which was beautiful. He read prolifically, was quite educated, but no formal ed after high school. His story will always interest me, Joanne.

    • Joanne Toft says:

      Great story Linda- you are so right. We only hear of the few high scholars from history – the others get lost. It sounds like your Uncles story would be a great one to write about. You should give it a try.

  4. Thank you so much for this reminder. I remember reading Frankenstein many years ago. I think it has great sadness in it. Kenneth Oppel has a spin off series on the go right now, (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein) that many of my readers are into, but it’s too gothic for me. Thanks to your blog, I think I will go back and reread this classic.

    • Joanne Toft says:

      Thanks – I haven’t looked at Oppels books but will. Do you know any other books that are spin offs or more futuristic but following the same line of thinking?
      I am gather books for a museum exhibit about Frankenstein and Mary Shelley.

  5. Myra GB says:

    I just read this last year – but with the beautiful steampunk illustrations by Zdenko Basic – are you aware that there’s a steampunk version paired with the original text? Here’s a link to my review that you may want to check out:
    http://gatheringbooks.org/2014/11/27/unremitting-sadness-and-furys-rationale-in-mary-shelleys-frankenstein-the-steampunk-version/

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