Frankenstein is a book that really shocked me because I did not expect it to have such depth and meaning. The premises is absolutely preposterous. But...moreFrankenstein is a book that really shocked me because I did not expect it to have such depth and meaning. The premises is absolutely preposterous. But the story is told so eloquently and with such conviction that I was quickly able to get past that. Additionally, the characters are people you come to care deeply about, which makes the horrific events that dominate the second half of the novel very difficult to cope with, causing serious reflection.
There are really three central issues that Shelley brings to light that caused me to ponder seriously. First, the role that appearance has on how people accept them. It's easy to think we are not judgemental, but the reality is we are all probably guilty of this to some extent. The way this issue is presented in the book is brilliant because it caused me to really think about the ways I fall short.
Second, I felt Shelley addressed the role of being a creator and a parent as keenly as any book I have read. It's interesting to contrast Victor's own father with the kind of father he is to the monster. There are other fathers in the novel who are not the actual father of the characters to which they exemplify what it means to be a father. I found great insight on this issue by taking the time to think about all of these examples. Taking this a step further, I found myself considering the responsibilties a parent has to humanity by the actions they take in both the creation and nurturing of children.
Lastly, the issue of nature versus nurture is addressed with tremendous resonance and force. I have always been of the opinion that both theories are flawed and we are both a product of our environment and our natural selves. I discount both theories, but taken and studied together, I find I am able to make sense of how we have become our current selves. I think Shelley was able to present both of these theories without becoming didactic at all so that the reader is able draw their own conclusions on why Victor Frankenstein or the monster he created evolve throughout the novel.
These issues are as relevant today as they were nearly 200 years ago when this book was written, if not more so. In a world that is dominated by appearances and a general lack of acceptance and love, we need to study books like Frankenstein that challenge us to think about how we can make a difference in people's lives.(less)