Blaise's Reviews > Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus

Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
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's review
Dec 31, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: all-time-favorite-novels
Recommended to Blaise by: Emily Harris
Recommended for: Anyone
Read in January, 2008

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 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.
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03/04/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Dro (new)

Dro Blaise,

Great insight. We are currently reading this in my Senior English class and you are right on. Shelley does a great job at allowing us (as readers) to make our own decisions about the responsibility we have as parents and also about the potential damage we cause when we shun those who are physically different than we are.

What's also great about the book is that the majority of people who haven't read it have a preconceived knowledge of what the book is about and they are completely wrong.

Most people (as they read the book) will sympathize with the demon/monster whereas before we read the book for the first time, we see him as a heartless, killing machine that has no feelings. Nothing could be further from the truth. He just wants the person responsible for his lonliness (his creator/father) to feel the exact same way.

Blaise Dro, I agree with you. I definitely had some preconceived notions about the book that were completely shattered. My sister, Emily, took a class at BYU last semester where they spent the whole semester just studying this one book. She kept telling me how great it was and to give it a shot, so I did. The interesting thing is I ended up liking the book even more than her.

Ruth I thought that the book would be like the famous black and white film, but I was wrong. I enjoyed reading this book because it expressed both main character's point-of-views. At one point I sided with the creature and at another with Victor. It was also refreshing to write a paper on it for my english class. The novel had so much depth and material that it kept feeding my paper.

Brandon Pearce I really liked your comments on this wonderful book. I wanted to address one thing that you said: that the premise was preposterous. It is, of course, but keep in mind that the full title is Frankenstein: Or The Modern Prometheus. Shelly is retelling a myth. Also she is writing in the Romantic Era and is not burdened by our modern need for realism. As a matter of fact the Romantic authors were actually dead set against it. (They are reacting to the neo- augustan logic and fact mentality) To her mind, a story ought not be realistic, rather it needs to invoke the imagination, and through the imagination find the mythological truths that a "realistic" story cannot tell you. :)

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