Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die discussion

Frankenstein
This topic is about Frankenstein
218 views
1001 Monthly Group Read > December {2010} Discussion -- FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley

Comments Showing 1-41 of 41 (41 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Charity (charityross) You know the drill...discuss!


Melissa I think Victor Frankenstein is one of the most egocentric, delusional, idiotic characters of all time. The scene where he lies delusional in the prison after Clerval is found dead, and he whines about how sad his fate is having to deal with a horrid lowerclass woman who has no compassion- killed me!


message 3: by Amanda (last edited Dec 16, 2010 08:28AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amanda Victor Frankenstein is a difficult character to be sure; the first time I read Frankenstein I was half mad with frustration and anger at his immediate reaction to his monster. Here is a creature, newly born and arguably Victor's responsibility, seemingly unimpressioned by previous experience and desperately needing support and guidance, and Victor turns his back on him, shallowly disgusted by the monster's appearance!

But I do have sympathy for Victor. He is a product of his own era and can't be solely judged by modern standards. Also, if it weren't for Victor's horrendous behaviour in the novel, we wouldn't have such a great novel to discuss, and I do think he is trying to be noble by his own standards. It is Victor's flaws that drive the narrative forward, so I thank him for that (and also for the fact that he is fictional)!

But for me, the monster is the interesting character. Struggling with his innate kindness and morality in a world that treats him so cruelly, the monster is not created evil but becomes a delinquent product of his pain and abandonment...very progressive themes for the time!


message 4: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El It's important to note that Victor is egocentrical because the point Shelley made is that he is, in essence, playing God. The book serves as a warning of the dangers that could come with the changes in technology and modernization that was occuring very quickly in the early 19th century - that sometimes too much knowledge and power is not a good thing. I don't think the story itself would have worked if Victor were portrayed any less obnoxious than he was.


message 5: by Sissy (last edited Dec 16, 2010 04:15PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sissy Interesting point El - I didn't consider that when reading.

What I noticed when reading, was how great the difference between the classic 'monster' and the 'modern monster' in the novel has become. Frankenstein reminded me much of Dracula (and in that vein, Dorrien Gray and Jekyll and Hyde), where the narrative didn't focus so much on the creature and its horrors - but on the creature's creator/individual and their having to deal/rationalize with the evil they had created/embodied. Its such a different style of novel than the modern horror novel, when the horror is so obvious. Really, the creature "Frankenstein" doesn't figure in very much of this novel (same as Dracula and even Jeklly & Hyde) - its the individual coming to terms with the monstrosity that is the biggest part of the narrative.

Also interesting how far Frankenstein the film/tv character has come from the novel monster. Was reading and said outloud to my husband- what, the monster can talk? I thought he was supposed to be dumb!! Maybe should have read this before becoming corrupted by film. =)


Amanda El wrote: "The book serves as a warning of the dangers that could come with the changes in technology and modernization that was occuring very quickly in the early 19th century - that sometimes too much knowledge and power is not a good thing."

This is probably what Shelley meant El, but it's not the way I read the novel today. It was written in superstitious times, when people that feared scientists might anger god with their noisy prying, but I don't think Victor's problem was too much knowledge and power (in fact, he seems to have a deficit of both!), but a failing in ethics and morality in starting something he was not prepared to carry through. Not once does it cross Victor's mind how he will care for the wellbeing of his creation or what he would do should things go wrong, he is only interested in results. He is a most irresponcible parent!

Sissy wrote: "Also interesting how far Frankenstein the film/tv character has come from the novel monster."

Reading the book the first time shattered some illusions for me too, Sissy! Funny how a cultural impression can be so wrong! The thing I find most amusing is how so many people seem to believe the monster is called Frankenstein - I have no idea where that comes from!


Melissa I didn't take it as much of a moral tale. I thought the intent was Shelley and other authors coming up with the scariest story they could. And Shelley won. :)


message 8: by Tej (new) - added it

Tej | 120 comments Melissa, your mention of the behind-the-scenes creation is true in that the three friends were having a competition to create a scary story. But I also think the reason why the book endures is because it is, in fact, a moral tale. I think that the world around her was frightening to Shelley. In addition to the rapid pace of change, liberals and academicians of her time were concerned with the "alienation of man." They thought that because laborers were becoming a simple cog in a large machine that they were losing the meaning in their lives. They no longer knew where they came from or their purpose in life--much like the monster. And to them, the so-called capitalists were responsible for creating this new alienated man because they were merely concerned with their own quest for power and were blind to their responsibilities to their employees.


message 9: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El Amanda wrote: "Not once does it cross Victor's mind how he will care for the wellbeing of his creation or what he would do should things go wrong, he is only interested in results."

Very true, but that's the point, isn't it? That people can get so wrapped up in the idea of creating something that they don't stop to think about whether or not they should. It's a power trip, really. Very much like Jurassic Park (for a modern take on a similar theme). :) The scientists had a very similar conversation in that book/movie as well - that just because something is possible it doesn't mean it's appropriate. Victor never thought about whether or not his actions/creation was appropriate - he had the facility and the equipment and at least some knowledge of science, medicine, and anatomy, and that's about as far as his thinking went.


Amanda Melissa wrote: "I didn't take it as much of a moral tale. I thought the intent was Shelley and other authors coming up with the scariest story they could. And Shelley won. :)"

Absolutely correct, although manuscripts have shown that the story went through major revisions and was more than likely polished by Mary's husband, Percy, before we reach the published version we read today.

El wrote: "Very much like Jurassic Park (for a modern take on a similar theme). :) The scientists had a very similar conversation in that book/movie as well - that just because something is possible it doesn't mean it's appropriate."

Huh, you know Jurassic Park was one of my favourate books from childhood and I never realised that it was a retelling of Frakenstein until JUST now? You're right, it runs along the same themes (only instead of the reasoning and emotional creature - we have a whole bunch of preditory veloceraptors!), with Dr. Malcolm spoon-feeding us the moral. As with Frankenstein, Jurassic Park is an arguement for ethical and rational thought in science. Dr. Hammond, like Frankenstein, created his dinosaurs (a whole park filled with of packs of full-sized and carnivorous dinosaurs none the less) in secret and when other scientists found out, they condemed his ideas, as does the reader.


Karina | 381 comments I read this book about a couple of months ago, and it amazes me how the modern day version of Frankenstein is so different from the original.
For starters, the book is mainly about the egocentric Victor, who you do not hear to much about these days. Victor creates this "monster" but then rejects it because of the hideous beast when it comes to life. I find this interesting because I don't believe that Victor only rejected the monster based on looks alone. I feel that Victor came to the realization that playing God was not the best idea.
Also, the monster only becomes "the monster" because of the rejection from the outside world. Maybe if Victor had only accepted the creature he created inside of making him an outcast of the world, things would have turned out different. Definitely too many "what ifs" if Victor was such a uncaring individual. Victor is presented almost as a one-dimensional individual while the monster has such a range of emotions and feelings, very unlike his human creator. Very different than how "Frankenstein" is seen today.


Janice (JG) | 46 comments It's interesting how much sympathy we have for the creature, who is an innocent consequence of Viktor's ego. From the moment he comes alive, he is confronted with fear and revulsion. No wonder he becomes a monster.


message 13: by Tom (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tom Bensley (bensley56) Rejection creates a monster people! Frankenstein was a rubbish mother to his child.
On the distaste for poor Victor, I didn't dislike him because I was swept up in the whirlwind of events he was going through. I loved his ambition and determination as he worked to create it, felt the same terror he did as the monster shattered his dreams and killed those he loved and in the end, it seemed the perfect thing for him to die. He'd told his story as a warning to one also exploring unchartered territory, feeling remorse along the way.

I also think people tend to look past Victor's upbringing when they bash him. He was constantly praised and told he was the best and brightest by his parents, so it's no wonder he didn't know when to stop. He just thought he was doing something brilliant because it was what he was made for.


Amanda Janice, Bensley - I like this way of thinking! I've always loved the monster and wished I could have been there as a mother figure to guide and comfort him. The monster has very human emotional needs, but looking like a deformed and horrifying abomonation, rather than the scared child he actually is, and lacking the support of a family and the prospect of a romantic relationship with a woman it is no wonder he becomes bitter and spiteful.


message 15: by Tom (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tom Bensley (bensley56) Precisely Amanda. It also reflects back on Frankensteins upbringing, which is the complete opposite of The Monster's. Frankenstein was Mothered and nurtured far too much which developed a dangerous ego, whereas the Monster received no nurturing whatsoever and became bitter and inhumane.
Shelley seemed to come across very wary of extremes towards relationships and the consequences.
What a book!


Janice (JG) | 46 comments The question of divinity also comes into play. Frankenstein behaves as one who accepts unequivocably that he has been invested with the talent and inspiration that comes with the divine spark humankind is believed to possess... being made in the image of the Creator, and all. We believe it too, as we believe it of ourselves.

But the creature is completely lacking this spark, this legacy. This soul. Maybe it's because he is man-made, and shares no image with God, but is only Frankenstein's delusion.


Amanda There is something in that Janice, I think Shelley did want us to draw a religious conclusion. But, as I am of a secular persuasion myself, I feel the thing the monster was missing more than anything else was a mother, or failing that a wider relative circle. The monster's failings were not due to the lack of some magical spark, but related to his feelings of abandonment. I will forever be in awe that Shelley wrote a book about an apparently soulless aberration of God's law, who was capable of such great intelligence, love, reasoning and yet suffered so humanly, long before the advent of psychoanalysis, neurology, understandings in child-development, secular theories of origin or even civil rights. It is because Frankenstein still resonates with the modern mind despite all our advances that it is still a widely read classic when many Sci-Fi novels just decades old are discarded as out of date.


Shawn Do you guys think Frankenstein was right or wrong to not give life to a mate for his creation?


message 19: by Tom (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tom Bensley (bensley56) I always thought Frankenstein was right not to create a female mate. Like his previous creation, it would still be without a mother or any guidance in the real world. The consequences were too likely to be even more horrid.
Plus, Frankenstein put arduous work and care into his first creation, yet it still became a monster due to his rejection. He put no love or care in almost creating the second, so I think it would've just worsened his situation.
What do you think?


Amanda Impossible to speculate. I'd have liked to say yes and let the monster find a companion and live on in happiness ever after with his bride, but would it have happened that way?


Melissa Janice Geranium wrote: "It's interesting how much sympathy we have for the creature, who is an innocent consequence of Viktor's ego. From the moment he comes alive, he is confronted with fear and revulsion. No wonder he..."

I think the monster is more human than Victor. The monster expresses remorse for his actions (and the ship's captain berates him for even that), while Victor maintains even to his last breath that his quest for revenge (murders brought about by his own actions) is justified. And Victor's tale does not seem to teach anything to the captain, who bemoans his lack of adventure and fame. I maintain this is not a moral tale, as no one seemed to learn anything.


Amanda I think it is the reader who is supposed to learn, Melissa.


Melissa Amanda wrote: "I think it is the reader who is supposed to learn, Melissa."

I don't profess to be an expert. I didn't like Victor and I grew very tired of him, so I grew tired of the story I suppose. I enjoy sci-fi and I appreciate the "What if" factor of most stories. This one not so much is all.

And my first response to you Amanda was "What's the lesson then? Don't go hacking together corpse parts to make a life?" But I realized I was being simple. So I wondered, "Not to play God?" Which, just like Jurassic Park (which really is a great analogy) is a lesson people still struggle with today.

But I think (in my humble opinion) that IF this were a moral tale (and I'm still mulling that over) that despite all evidence to the contrary, man will still strive to overcome his place in God's world.

So thank you for making me think and for the opportunity to glean something redeeming out of this book. :)


Shawn The moral aspect of the book that struck me the most wasn't actually the playing God part, but instead the feeling you get that Frankenstein always feels that he has no options, when it is clear to the reader that there are other options open that he should more deeply consider and possibly even take.

For example, take Justine's trial. Here Frankenstein throws aside any options he could take other than simply watches, assuming people will think he is mad and not believe him.

Even to the end (other than to the narrator at beginning and end), he is too afraid to tell anyone his story for fear they will think he is mad, even though at that point he is writhing, blurting out random parts of the story, and clearly to any observer... in fact mad.

Also, to the end, he finds himself blameless, in a situation where I think few would feel that way.


Shawn My answer to the question I posed in #18 above:

While I do think that the monster and his mate (assuming she was like him) would have left humanity alone, I think Frankenstein was right to not give life to the mate. From the information we got in the book, he has reason (however slight) to believe that the monster will betray him.

I think the potential bad from creating a possibility for breeding outweighs even the bad that ended up occurring.


message 26: by Tej (new) - added it

Tej | 120 comments Regarding the question of "is this a moral story and what did we learn:"

I believe that one thing Shelley was trying to point out to her readers was the dangers of building new technology without considering the social/human consequences. It's true that "we" haven't seemed to learn that lesson when considering things like the nuclear weapons and cloning. As we speak, the American public is concerned with improving our abilities in science and technology while philosophy departments are becoming a thing of the past and many high school graduates are functionally illiterate. So the fact that we aren't good students doesn't disqualify Shelley's intentions to make it a moral tale, in my opinion.

And as far as readers learning the lesson, I think that book discussions like this teach us--if nothing else--that there are many ways to judge and interpret something. I'm sure there are people in the world who would dispute the argument that there are some things we just shouldn't do when it comes to technology. They think, "Let's build it and see what happens." Or they see the beneficial side of their work without considering the potential negatives.

On the other hand, they may have never read Frankenstein!


Amanda Tej wrote: "I believe that one thing Shelley was trying to point out to her readers was the dangers of building new technology without considering the social/human consequences...."

Yes Tej, thank you! This is what I was trying to say. I'm not sure that Shelley meant to tell us that all scientific pursuits were an evil flouting of God's law (her husband was kicked out of university for publishing papers promoting Atheism, after all), but that the blind persuit for technological advance potentially had a very human cost. Frankenstein is a scientific moral story, reminding us to fully consider the consequences of our research and to be fully prepared for the outcome.


message 28: by Michael (last edited Jan 06, 2011 04:29PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michael (knowledgelost) I really enjoyed the social lesson in this book.

I can’t remember exactly what Monster Frankenstein said (and I could be way off on the quote) but it was something like “I came into this world with love in my heart and was denied it at every turn.”

He really tried to be good but in his plea he explained he was ‘a good creature turned bad by unforgiving humans who scoffed at friendship’


Kathy Some great observations here.

I absolutely LOVED this book. Probably because it was so different to what I expected it to be about. The modern versions are terrible and this one had so many lessons.

I agree with everything Bensley56 states and did feel sorry for the monster but understood the reasoning behind Victors actions.

In response to Mollie's question, I felt that Victor should have made a mate for the monster, as I felt he owed him as much to grant him a little happiness and love. I think the whole reason of our lives is love, and that is what the monster realised. Thus not being able to receive it he was denied the very reason for existance which made him turn into what he became.


Darryl | 6 comments I'm a bit surprised how much sympathy there is for the monster. While I think Frankenstein's treatment of the Monster was unforgivable, the Monster himself was downright evil. When the Monster tried to make friends with the cottagers and Felix threw him out I initially felt sympathy for the Monster as well. Later, however, when the Monster bragged about killing innocents with no remorse I realized that he was using his loneliness and poor treatment as an excuse for his evil deeds. Felix and his family would have likely suffered terrible deaths at the hands of the Monster if they'd attempted to befriend him.

I think the reason humans felt fear and disgust when they saw the monster was because the monster reeked of evil. This could be because he had no soul, or because a flawed human created him instead of a perfect god, or because he was born without hope in "original sin", or any number of other possibilities. Whatever the reason, the immediate, intense loathing that everyone had on seeing him can't just be explained by the fact that he was big and ugly.

Victor saw the evilness of his creation and refused to fully accept it. At various time he tried to ignore it, he tried to escape it, and he tried to accept the Monster's rationalization that he wasn't really evil, just misunderstood. The moment Victor accepted the truth was when he took a good look at the Monster and saw, "the utmost extent of malice and treachery." At that point he destroyed the Monster's bride he was creating and began to truly take responsibility for his actions.


message 31: by Amanda (last edited Jan 08, 2011 01:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amanda With all due respect Darryl, I disagree. How long ago exactly did you last read Frankenstein? Your average 18th century layman is going to perceive that some hulking great man who looks as though he has been stitched together from several corpses and could tear you limb from limb is going to feel threatening (but he doesn't seem to freak anyone out more than Victor himself, apparently). Faced with such a menacing sight, your average 18th century peasant is not going to stop to find out if the creature is a moral and kind creature - the first instinct for the ignorant would be toward fight or flight.

The creature does show he has the potential for good however, as exhibited by his chaste appreciation for beauty, his altruism towards the cottagers and his interaction with the blind man, who does not judge him by face value, but by his words (or at least until they are interrupted). The creature is capable of remorse and self-loathing; he has an eloquence of speech and feels the most intense loneliness. Yes, the monster, jaded by human society commits heinous crimes in retribution, but still, who could not feel sympathy for him? After all, it doesn't exactly feel like the monster has any other option. He treats society as society treats him and is tortured by the consequences of his actions.


Janice (JG) | 46 comments I think Darryl has made some interesting & valid observations... Victor does agonize over his monster's behavior, and his own motivations, using the same psychological games we all play with ourselves to justify our own behavior when our conscience alerts us otherwise.

I also think what Amanda says is true... that there is a seed of humanity in the monster which falls on fallow ground, and dies of neglect and abuse.

But, I also think it is a mistake to perceive "average 18th century peasants" as ignorant. We tend to think that because we live in modern times with modern inventions that we are more intelligent than humans from past eras. One need only read Augustine, or Plato, to put the lie to that. We may be faster, and more clever, but on the whole I think we have dumbed down substantially in the last few hundred, if not thousands, of years.

There was a time when discussion of this book would have presumed the absolute premise of the text as a symbolic, metaphoric, and philosophic story of redemption. We moderns approach it first as a horror story, with campy visions of Boris Karloff and vintage black & white film dancing in our heads. There is a reason this book is considered a classic of literature. I think our modern minds have to stretch considerably to just recognize great literature.


Janice (JG) | 46 comments The original handwritten manuscript of Frankenstein is kept in a glass case alongside her poet husband's (Percy Bysshe Shelley) diary at the Huntington Museum in Pasadena, CA.

I can only imagine the kinds of conversations those two had, even at their young ages. Mary never got over his death, mourning for him -- and writing -- the rest of her life. Her apocalyptic science fiction novel The Last Man is said to be semi-autobiographical about her relationship with Shelley and Lord Byron. I haven't read it yet, but I do own it, and it sits waiting for me :)

One of Percy Shelleys many poems - An Allegory:

I.
A portal as of shadowy adamant
Stands yawning on the highway of the life
Which we all tread, a cavern huge and gaunt;
Around it rages an unceasing strife
Of shadows, like the restless clouds that haunt
The gap of some cleft mountain, lifted high
Into the whirlwinds of the upper sky.

II.
And many pass it by with careless tread,
Not knowing that a shadowy...
Tracks every traveller even to where the dead
Wait peacefully for their companion new;
But others, by more curious humour led,
Pause to examine;—these are very few,
And they learn little there, except to know
That shadows follow them where’er they go.

He was not yet 30 when he died.


message 34: by Amanda (last edited Jan 10, 2011 01:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amanda Janice Geranium wrote: "It is a mistake to perceive "average 18th century peasants" as ignorant. We tend to think that because we live in modern times with modern inventions that we are more intelligent than humans from past eras. One need only read Augustine, or Plato, to put the lie to that. ..."

I appear to have been misunderstood. When I called your average 18th century peasant ignorant, I was not implying that they were less intelligent; when I said ignorant, I litterally meant ignorant, as in not educated in the sciences. Ignorance does not imply an inability to learn should one be taught. The woodlanders in Frankenstein have no basis of comparison for the Monster's appearance and could possibly only make sense of it through supernatural means and thus persecuted the creature unfairly.

As for Augustine and Plato, I would not regard these writers as ignorant peasants, but no doubt the goatherd who produced their food would not have been able to write quite so fluently indeed if at all.


Darryl | 6 comments I'm sorry, Amanda, if I hit a chord with you. I think an 18th century peasant was probably much less ignorant than you're thinking they were, but I don't suppose either of us can know for sure. As you said, though, the monster freaks out Victor more than anyone else, and he certainly knows the science involved.

I am willing to admit that my lack of compassion for the monster may also be influenced by years of Law and Order and the like. When the monster tells his tale to Victor he seems to go out of his way to point out his good side: his appreciation for beauty, his search for knowledge, his initial love for the cottagers. Remember, though, that he has a purpose for his tale. His chief aim is to convince Victor to build him a mate. From the Law and Order point of view that makes everything he says highly suspect. Of course, from the "Monsters are people, too" point of view he could just be spilling all of his feelings because this is the first person who's ever listened to him.


message 36: by FrankH (last edited Jan 14, 2011 07:28PM) (new) - added it

FrankH | 39 comments Man, in the person of Victor Frankenstein, a new Prometheus, creates his Monster, then rejects his creation, as if a fiend from hell. Hurt and angry, the Monster kills a child, then hides in the woods, learning the ways of man with keen powers of observation and a zeal for knowledge akin to his maker. But he needs no book or language tutorial
to figure out what he needs -- a female companion to provide him cold comfort and the tender sharing of his wretched fate. It is an argument that Victor himself would make if the tables were turned, so closely linked are Master and Monster by disposition. Victor initially agrees to create one for him, but breaks his promise, as the task becomes too odious. To which the Monster intones: 'I SHALL BE WITH YOU ON YOUR WEDDING NIGHT'. And so it is, as the time arrives, along with obligatory pathetic fallacy of the rising winds and the storm on the night of the honeymoon,Victor finds his new bride, dead on the bridal bier, at the hands of the Monster.

Think about that threat. In another era, the dear readers would have provided more detail attending upon this horrifying event. Whether intentionally or no, here what is not said signifies more than word-painting of the weeping ladies and the 'blood trickling in my veins'. As a manifestation of Victor's id and an expression of his sexual yearning for which he cannot recognize or understand, the Monster's bride-killing is as one with his Master's blood lust to destroy the very thing he desires in all the world. The Monster wants Sex, and if not sex, Revenge; Victor wants to eat the fruit of his consuming id and that's sex and death. Victor does not get it, and neither does the author.

Or maybe not.

The core problem with this exegesis -- or any like it -- centers on how much of the book has been
built on stylistic devices and ideas that seem thrown together without much organic unity. Frankenstein is rendered in an epistolary style, so we get letters within other letters -- it's lame. All of the travel narratives come across as third-rate Wordsworth-like nature worship; and the sentiment and characterizations all seem delivered at the same Romantic pitch. The book, in short, is a pastiche. Because there is little craft in the novel and we can't quite figure out where the author is going, there's ample opportunity to bring our own ideas as readers to the party. A fable of the Edenic Fall, a forerunner of Jeckyl and Hyde, a cautionary tale of Man Reaching Beyond his Grasp? It's anyone's guess. But taken as an exercise in simple reading , my main problem is with the Monster himself, out there in the woods learning languages and being refreshed by Nature. I hope I am remembering this accurately (group readers can correct me, please), but when Colete's first saw Jean Cocteau's magnificent film Beauty and the Beast and the final scene arrives when the spell is broken and the beast turns into the handsome young man, she was reported to have exclaimed "Give me back my Beast". Precisely. More Beast and Less Byron would do Frankenstein just fine.


message 37: by Amanda (last edited Jan 15, 2011 02:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amanda Thank you for sharing your very well explained personal distaste for Mary Shelley’s work, Frank, but I'm afraid some people (including myself) seem to rather enjoy Frankenstein. Shelley's vague and complex plotting may be ambiguous, but allows the reader to make up their own minds about the material; this is perhaps one of the reasons why it is not completely outdated today. Also, as contrived and ridiculous as the epistolary and overblown romantic devices may be, it adds a certain cultish charm and I must admit I find guilty pleasure in other similar writers, even (gasp) Lovecraft.

Although I was of the opinion as a child that I would much rather have married the kindly-spoken and gentle beast than the bland and uncomplex prince he became, I'm not sure how your suggestion of 'more beast' would have improved Frankenstein in the least.


Janice (JG) | 46 comments Amanda wrote: "As for Augustine and Plato, I would not regard these writers as ignorant peasants, but no doubt the goatherd who produced their food would not have been able to write quite so fluently indeed if at all..."


Yes, of course, I apologize for misinterpreting your statement. I think I was probably assigning a different definition to the concept of ignorance -- I think of it as more encompassing (mentally, spiritually, ethically) than illiteracy.


message 39: by Amanda (last edited Jan 22, 2011 11:21AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amanda Janice Geranium wrote: "Yes, of course, I apologize for misinterpreting your statement. I think I was probably assigning a different definition to the concept of ignorance -- I think of it as more encompassing (mentally, spiritually, ethically) than illiteracy..."

It was clumsy usage on my part - ignorant is a highly charged word that unfortunately seems to be slowly losing its original meaning. If I had read it as part of someone else's discussion, I may well also have interpreted it as you did. A better word might have been innocent?

Darryl wrote: "I am willing to admit that my lack of compassion for the monster may also be influenced by years of Law and Order and the like. When the monster tells his tale to Victor he seems to go out of his way to point out his good side: his appreciation for beauty, his search for knowledge, his initial love for the cottagers. Remember, though, that he has a purpose for his tale. His chief aim is to convince Victor to build him a mate. From the Law and Order point of view that makes everything he says highly suspect..."

This is very interesting indeed Darryl. An angle I've never considered before, that the creature might well be an unreliable narrator. I guess deep down I've always wanted to side with the creature because he seemed so alone and pitiable, the victim of the peice; but is he something more sinister and manipulative than I previously gave him credit for? This is certainly food for thought!


message 40: by FrankH (new) - added it

FrankH | 39 comments Amanda wrote: "Thank you for sharing your very well explained personal distaste for Mary Shelley’s work, Frank, but I'm afraid some people (including myself) seem to rather enjoy Frankenstein. Shelley's vague an..."

Hey Amanda, the assigned text was read and the opinion was come by honestly. For the record, after looking at your reply, I reviewed the overall ranking of Frankenstein by Goodreads members, sampled many comments, and was surprised to learn that most were squarely in your camp, having enjoyed the book thoroughly. Still, there was a significant minority that were less enthused and who expressed misgivings along the lines of my review. So, rather than 'personal distaste', think of my comments not as a wet blanket but as an expression of a simple minority report and opinion, which perhaps was not fully represented in the texts for this monthly selection.


message 41: by jb (new) - rated it 3 stars

jb Byrkit (jbbyrkit) I recently read this book......I did not enjoy this story at all. I felt Frankenstein was such a whiner. The monster just wanted a friend.


back to top

970

Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

The Last Man (other topics)