Book Notes: "Frankenstien" by Mary Shelley

FrankensteinFrankenstein by Mary Shelley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I must say that reading classics often leads to a surprising plot. Stories such as Frankenstein have been re-imagined to death, revived and then re-imagined again so many times that the original story is completely lost, and one's imagination has already been influenced. Nonetheless, the morality of the sciences, when considered in its proper historical context, means that this work is extraordinary no matter how one analyses its significance. Is Shelley really trying to critique the overly task-focused masculine role in child-rearing and the consequences of a lack of nurturing? Or is it simply a case of the morality of the sciences meddling with the unknown, or a critique of the grotesque practice of body-snatching before the introduction of the Anatomy Act of 1832, Shelley's revision of the text and subsequent introduction in 1831 were at the very least contemporaneous. To put it simply, the story addresses multiple issues and provides numerous launching points for discussions that go far beyond the mere plot. As for the plot itself, I couldn't help thinking that Frankenstein was a wimpy complainer who whinged and whined endlessly, even in the re-telling of his tale it is surprising he didn't collapse and die of shame before making it to the ice. I found it unnecessary for Shelley to belittle the Turkish businessman and revitalise the Crusades simply to enable Frankenstein's creation to learn to speak, read and write, but I am often surprised by seemingly intelligent people who are racist and ignorant to the core. Other than that, the higher-level super-plot issues make it worth the effort.

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