Sean Barrs the Bookdragon's Reviews > Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
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it was amazing
bookshelves: classics, sci-fi, darkness-horror-gothic, 5-star-reads, shelley-s, romantic-movement, favourites, veganism-and-vegetarianism
Read 3 times. Last read November 20, 2017 to November 29, 2017.

"My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid, to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment. My companion will be of the same nature as myself, and will be content with the same fare. We shall make our bed of dried leaves; the sun will shine on us as on man, and will ripen our food. The picture I present to you is peaceful and human.”

The Creature’s diet is unmistakably vegetarian. Vegetarianism becomes a way for the creature to renounce his creator by demonstrating his more inclusive ethics. Indeed, he includes within his moral code animals as well as man, but learns through his experience with the world that both he and animals are excluded from the moral compass of humanity: they are not on the same level.

I find this entire representation fascinating, that much so I wanted to add to my review here. I spent a very long time last year researching Percy Shelley’s poetry and how his politics are ultimately shaped by his diet choice. Some of that content is latent in Mary’s work; it does not take the forefront of the narrative, but it is certainly there for a reader who is willing to look for it. There’s much here to use for a proper developed argument, arguments I am eventually going to explore fully in my eventual PhD project. One of my chapters will be a critical address of Frankenstein and The Last Man in conjunction with politics and diet.

Indeed, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein mirrors her husband’s discourse in A Vindication of a Natural Diet. In the essay Percy Shelley directly references the promethean myth; he states that it is a prime allegory for man’s lost nature (his fall from the golden age), as when Prometheus applied fire (for culinary purposes- Percy Shelley states) he created a disgusting horror. His liver was wrecked by the “vulture of disease” and all tyrannical vice, this unnaturalness, was born from the despoiling of innocence as it “consumed his being in every shape of its loathsome and infinite variety.” The Creature, after trying cooked offal left by a campfire in Frankenstein, decides to adhere to his own diet; he rejects the promethean fire that humanity has taken, and instead develops a mode of morality separate to the norms of humanity; he wishes for the opportunity to live this peaceful picture away from the corruptions of human company: he wishes to be better.

Orginal Review from 2015

Let’s have a party Victor. Let’s get together and celebrate all things Gothic, and dark, and wonderful. Let’s have it in an attic in an old house in the middle of a thunderstorm, and then afterwards let’s go to the graveyard with our shovels and our body bags. Sounds good doesn’t it Victor? We could then create our own doppelgängers from the corpses of criminals and geniuses. Then we can abandon our marvellous creation to fend for itself with his childlike innocence, and then wonder why it goes so horribly wrong and blows up in our faces.

Ahh..Victor you silly, brilliant, man. On second thought we probably shouldn’t have that party.

Because if we did it would end in blood

description

Yes, lots of blood: the blood of everyone you love, the blood of all your family Victor. You blame the monster, but you are his creator. You should have taught him the ways of the world and guided his first steps. The things you two could have accomplished together. So I ask you this Victor, who is the real monster? Is it the creature that has gone on a murderous rampage or it you? You are the man who played at god and was horrified at the consequence. You judged your creation by his physical appearance, which was more a reflection of your vain soul. Ahh..Victor you silly, brilliant, man. Surely you don’t wonder why the monster revenged himself upon you?

“I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel...”

Indeed, the real monster of this novel is Victor Frankenstein, and not his monstrous creation. The creature is a monster on the outside but Victor is on the inside, which is a form much worse. By abandoning the creature he has taught him to become what his appearance is. The first human experience he receives is rejection based upon his physicality. His own creator recoils in disgust from him. He cannot be blamed for his actions if all he has been taught is negative emotion, he will only respond in one way. He is innocent and childlike but also a savage brute. These are two things that should never be put together. Woe to Victor Frankenstein’s family.

“There is love in me the likes of which you've never seen. There is rage in me the likes of which should never escape. If I am not satisfied in the one, I will indulge the other.”

description

Mary Shelley raises questions of the danger of knowledge, and shows a probable consequence of trying to play god; the novel portrays nineteen century fears for the rising field of science and knowledge and questions how far it could go. Indeed, in this case Victor takes on the role of a God by creating new life. She also shows us what can happen to a man if he so driven by this thirst for knowledge and how it will ultimately lead to a fall. Victor reminds me somewhat of Doctor Faustus (The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus) in this regard. Faustus is a man who sold his soul to Lucifer for unlimited knowledge in the form of arcane magic. Victor, like Faustus, has stopped at nothing to gain his goal, but in the end is ultimately dissatisfied with the result.

Suffice to say, I simply adore this book as you may have gathered from my ramblings. I think this, alongside Dracula, are amongst the strongest representations of Gothic literature. Furthermore, I have a real soft spot for epistolary means of storytelling. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s the stronger sense of intimacy you fell with the characters as you see their words on the page rather than an impartial narrators. You see inside their heads more and understand their motifs and feelings.

My favourite quote:

"This was then the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and bone. The feelings of kindness and gentleness which I had entertained but a few moments before gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth. Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind.

Listen to the passion, to the intellect and witness such a wasted opportunity. Victor, you’re a silly, silly, man.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 17, 2014 – Shelved
June 17, 2014 – Shelved as: classics
September 7, 2015 – Shelved as: sci-fi
December 31, 2015 – Shelved as: darkness-horror-gothic
February 13, 2016 – Shelved as: 5-star-reads
Started Reading
March 4, 2016 – Finished Reading
September 5, 2016 – Shelved as: shelley-s
November 29, 2016 – Shelved as: romantic-movement
March 16, 2017 – Shelved as: favourites
November 20, 2017 – Started Reading
November 29, 2017 – Shelved as: veganism-and-vegetarianism
November 29, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-38 of 38 (38 new)

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Katie Brock Frankenstien is awesome and is also written by a woman. boo yah! Love to hear you enjoyed this, I saw the National Theatre play of this story in 2010 and it was just the right amount of creepy, gory, and heartfelt.

I've yet to read Dracula but I want to love it as much as Frankenstien. :)


message 2: by Carol (new)

Carol Storm Your brilliant review made me realize that the relationship between Victor and the Monster is just like that of George and Lennie in OF MICE AND MEN!


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Katie wrote: "Frankenstien is awesome and is also written by a woman. boo yah! Love to hear you enjoyed this, I saw the National Theatre play of this story in 2010 and it was just the right amount of creepy, gor..."

I bet that was wonderful :)

The telivison show Penny Dreadful has a great representation of Victor and his creature. That's where those pictures came from.

If you liked this then you will almost definetely like Dracula. One thing that I found quite funny with Dracula is at the beginning the damsel in distress was actually a man who was rescued by his wife who had a “man’s brain.” It was quite an ironic twist of the roles!


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Carol wrote: "Your brilliant review made me realize that the relationship between Victor and the Monster is just like that of George and Lennie in OF MICE AND MEN!"

mmmmmm... I've never looked at them quite like that, but I can see where your coming from. Lenny wasn't responsible for the murder he commited because he didn't know what he was doing. He should never have been left alone, which is also true with Frankenstein's monster. Interesting :)


Henry Avila Enjoyed this book and just read her father's Caleb Williams, excellent also.


Katie Brock Sean, it was. Benedict Cumberbatch made the creature child like which made the story horrific but also made you feel sorry for him.

I never got into Penny Dreadful surprisingly. Too weird for me.

I will definitely give it a go then!


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Henry wrote: "Enjoyed this book and just read her father's Caleb Williams, excellent also."

I've not heard of that, but I'll be sure to check it out :)


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Katie wrote: "Sean, it was. Benedict Cumberbatch made the creature child like which made the story horrific but also made you feel sorry for him.

I never got into Penny Dreadful surprisingly. Too weird for me..."


That guy can bring depth to any role! :)

I suppose Vanessa’s madness was quite scary at first.

I hope you like it as much as I did! :)


Chris Great review. I loved this book so much!


Roisin Yes, a great review. I'm revisiting this book at the moment. Read it first a long time ago now and I agree with you about Victor. Fascinating stuff! Mary was young when she wrote it. It is full of ideas and things that Shelley (her other half) and Byron talked about, books and poems that she read and her experiences too. It features quite a lot of interesting books also. Great atmosphere. A dramatic, passionate piece of work.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Chris wrote: "Great review. I loved this book so much!"

Thanks, I loved it too! ;)


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Roisin wrote: "Yes, a great review. I'm revisiting this book at the moment. Read it first a long time ago now and I agree with you about Victor. Fascinating stuff! Mary was young when she wrote it. It is full of ..."

Yep, I couldn't agree more. It’s a shame I don’t get to study this one more deeply at university! :)


Krista Ivy I assigned this for my SciFi-Fantasy Book Club and we went over time talking about it. There is so much depth to it. My favorite gothic literature.


Fernando What a flawless review...


message 15: by Jessi (new) - rated it 1 star

Jessi Wow, your review makes me want to pick this one up again and give it another chance.. I'm not sure why I didn't like it as much, it certainly has the Gothic horror elements that I enjoy in the genre. Maybe it was the characters... I found most of them unlikable especially the main character . Victor Frankenstein rejected his own creation when it should've been the opposite. The "monster" simply wanted love and companionship and acceptance in the world. The part when Frankenstein backs out on the promise and promptly destroys the female creation meant to be a companion to the "monster" was so cruel... Now that I've read your review, I think I may give it another go and hopefully enjoy it more!


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Fernando wrote: "What a flawless review..."

wow. thanks!


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Krista wrote: "I assigned this for my SciFi-Fantasy Book Club and we went over time talking about it. There is so much depth to it. My favorite gothic literature."

I know it's very dense.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Jessi wrote: "Wow, your review makes me want to pick this one up again and give it another chance.. I'm not sure why I didn't like it as much, it certainly has the Gothic horror elements that I enjoy in the genr..."

They're all pretty much unlikable, but that's what makes the story. Victor tried to play at God and suffered the consequences. If anything the novel represents nineteen century fears of science. How far could it go? What horror and wonders could it achieve? What is humanity? I think there’s also a lot of social comment on the fickle nature of society.

I’m glad my review what to make you try it again! :)


message 19: by Jessi (new) - rated it 1 star

Jessi On a side note, I do like that beautiful edition of Frankenstein! I might pick it up for myself. Barnes and Noble does really beautiful collections of the classics. Their leather bound editions are especially nice. Whenever they come out with a new edition I'm always tempted to pick it up even though I already have more than one copy of the same book...


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Jessi wrote: "On a side note, I do like that beautiful edition of Frankenstein! I might pick it up for myself. Barnes and Noble does really beautiful collections of the classics. Their leather bound editions are..."

It's so good! I have many, many of them. Look here's my lot: barnes and noble leatherbound.

Since posting that I now have two more....

And I know that feeling, I have three copies of A Christmas Carol and two lots of Jane Austen's works.


Djamel Bouchenaki Great review!! I totally agree with you saying that alongside Dracula, it is the best representation of gothic literature. A great review really !!!


Anne Brilliant review, Sean! This is amazing. It's honestly baffling how much you can take from a book, and how well you communicate your insights. I just have to shelf(and read) this because you raised one hell of an interest in me :D


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Djamel wrote: "Great review!! I totally agree with you saying that alongside Dracula, it is the best representation of gothic literature. A great review really !!!"

Thanks, I had so much fun writting it. :)


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Anne (Anneshka) wrote: "Brilliant review, Sean! This is amazing. It's honestly baffling how much you can take from a book, and how well you communicate your insights. I just have to shelf(and read) this because you raised..."

I think I'm just a big nerd. I thought it'd be cool to direct the review at the protagonist for a change.

I must say a lot of my feelings about this novel developed when I watched Penny Dreadful. The relationship established on screen between Victor and his Creature is powerful, thought-provoking and scary. It's the best portrayal of characters I've seen form this novel. (they’re the ones in the pics I used)

And thanks, I love writing reviews. I’m glad they don’t come across as too weird. And I also read this three times, I think that helped .


message 25: by Anne (last edited Mar 06, 2016 02:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne Bookworm Sean wrote: "Anne (Anneshka) wrote: "Brilliant review, Sean! This is amazing. It's honestly baffling how much you can take from a book, and how well you communicate your insights. I just have to shelf(and read)..."

You read it three times already?! Woah. You definitely are a nerd ⬅ meant in the coolest way possible. And I think I've heard about Penny Dreadful before! Somewhere... Somewhere... I'm sure I have. I'm really interested in watching the series. I think if it's such a good representation of the book, then watching it before I read Frankenstein won't be such a terrible move. I usually prefer to read books before watching their movie adaptations. It's hmm... Safer and more interesting that way. Gahhh I'm already mentally preparing for the blood. I'm a bit ewwy about blood if it isn't in a controlled environment. Like a surgical room? :D

I hope you keep writing reviews, they're so very helpful. **thumbies**


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Anne (Anneshka) wrote: "Bookworm Sean wrote: "Anne (Anneshka) wrote: "Brilliant review, Sean! This is amazing. It's honestly baffling how much you can take from a book, and how well you communicate your insights. I just h..."


I shall keep writing reviews. I think I'm developing an addiction, and sometimes it helps to make me realise exactly how I feel about a book. It's a good channel for thoughts. I’m glad they’re helpful. ;)

And I read it when I was fourteen, once last year and again last week.


message 27: by Nick (new)

Nick This year in accelerated L.A we read this book and i found out that the book is nothing like the misconceptions that the public knows it for. We read the 1818 edition. Right now we are reading both Much ado about nothing and Macbeth so wish me luck.


Carmen Great review! I have the same beautiful copy of Frankenstein. It's one of my favorite books. :) I agree with you about Dracula and epistolary novels.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Carmen wrote: "Great review! I have the same beautiful copy of Frankenstein. It's one of my favorite books. :) I agree with you about Dracula and epistolary novels."

Thanks, I just love ❤ it


Morgan Just finished this and I would like to hear your thought on her vs. her husband.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Morgan wrote: "Just finished this and I would like to hear your thought on her vs. her husband."

I would argue that he was responsible for much of this. He edited her manuscripts and her thoughts here clearly followed his from his early works. After he died, she never wrote at the same level.


Morgan Bookdragon Sean wrote: "Morgan wrote: "Just finished this and I would like to hear your thought on her vs. her husband."

I would argue that he was responsible for much of this. He edited her manuscripts and her thoughts ..."


I bet! I like her husbands poems better, but I was surprised how well written this was...the movies lied to me hahaha


Roisin I prefer the 1818 edition which has more of her ideas and those of her parents than the cut down edited later edition.


message 34: by Vahid (new)

Vahid Wow, this book was my Bible Sean.... Beyond perfect...


message 35: by Rina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rina What a wonderful addition. Sounds like a great PhD project!


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Vahid wrote: "Wow, this book was my Bible Sean.... Beyond perfect..."

it is fantastic. I love the allusions to other literary works and writers, to Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, Godwin and her mother Mary Wollstonecraft.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Rina wrote: "What a wonderful addition. Sounds like a great PhD project!"

Thank you- it will be a fun project. My plans are coming together slowly! :D


message 38: by Jenn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenn C. Standing ovation for this review. I need not add one after this sums it up so perfectly.
I also found in it a tale of what can happen to a soul, a life when you let anger and rage take over. We see this in both Victor and the monster. We see how ultimately futile long held anger is and how it destroys a person. I kept waiting for Victor to have an epiphany and take responsibility but he remained a coward through and through. He was too vain, too prideful to admit he failed to give his creation the respect he deserved. He failed his creation in every possible way and could never admit that. Pride - a deadly “sin”.
Thanks for the great review!


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