Elliot's Reviews > Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
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's review
Dec 11, 10

bookshelves: ap-literature-2010-11
Read from November 29 to December 08, 2010

As obvious as it seems now that I write it down, I had a remarkable epiphany when my class was discussing this novel: We do a very bad job of delineating monsters from humans. What is monstruous? There is no monstruous deed that a human cannot perform. We define what is evil by what we ourselves are capable of doing, if only we were abit more morally lost or confused, if only we were captured by rage. It is a simple statement, but the reason why we don't consider hurricanes or earthquakes "monstruous" (unless by metaphor) is because what is monstruous is only what is human.

We, then, can be daemons, or humans, or gods, if only given a chance.

This novel makes me feel dumbstruck, as if I've swallowed a ball of ice that gets struck in my throat, and even as it melts away and sinks down, it leaves an imprint of its temperature and pressure. Horrfyingly beautiful, beautifully horrifying, addicting, repulsive -- this is a book of extremes about the very extremes which define human existence. And though Shelley does not reconcile these extremes (frustratingly so for many readers, I imagine!), I feel raised enough by the knowledge of their being. While the writing (at least in the 1818 edition) can lean towards the clunky at times, this is an astounding novel.
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