I think it would be safe to say that a novel is written is with a few main themes or ideas that are strongly related to the novel’s content. In the past, I have found that while reading other novels this has created some feelings of frustration because the novel only mentions one thought repeatedly, creating annoyance. Due to this, I was not looking forward to reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, expecting the same thing to happen, after all, there is nothing worse than reading a book that you do not enjoy; however, Frankenstein never made me feel frustrated or annoyed at the actual book, only Victor Frankenstein for his stupidity. Unlike some other novels such as Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, that spends most of its time basically complaining about the separation between government and citizens, and the cruel treatment of lower classes by the aristocracy; Frankenstein never felt repetitious to me because Shelley uses many themes that are all interconnected, coming from the same source, nature.
So you might be wondering – what is the deal with nature, how could this be important to humanity? I know I asked myself the same question when I started reading Frankenstein, and it only became clear well after the beginning of Frankenstein just how important nature and its ways are. For instance, one theme Shelley reiterates many times is that man must revere nature, for when man meddles with the creation of life, many undesirable things happen, such as deep misery and ultimately death; it seems ironic that creating life brings on death; however, the story of Victor Frankenstein makes that thought very true. I found that this theme was at its apex when Victor realized that the deaths his loved ones at the hands of the creature were his own fault; for Victor said “I saw an insurmountable barrier placed between me and my fellow men; the barrier was sealed with the blood of William and Justine, and to reflect on the events connected with those names filled my soul with anguish.” (Shelley 171). In my eyes, it is clear how haunted Frankenstein is by causing the deaths of William and Justine, feeling that he does not deserve companionship, and unable to remember the two without filling with misery and torment. For me, I think that Victor earned his pain because as Shelley so clearly demonstrates, when man disregards nature’s ways, terrible things will happen, including impassable misery and death as is evident after Victor so clearly disregards nature by reanimating dead flesh into a being that he would run from, terrified, causing the creature to retaliate against “him who had formed me [the creature] and sent me out into this insupportable misery.”, causing the deaths of many innocent people (Shelley 147).
On a lighter note, another theme Shelley points to many times is the idea that nature has this miraculous healing capability, as time and again after a character in Frankenstein has suffered some sort of damage, physical or not, they go and isolate themselves in nature for a period of time, returning one hundred percent recovered. It almost makes the romantics seem like a bunch of hippie-dippie-naturalists, but maybe Mary Shelley was on to something while writing Frankenstein. For example, in my opinion, Victor Frankenstein best portrays how restorative nature can be when he goes into the forest for a night’s sleep under the stars after he literally makes himself physically ill from feeling so guilty about causing the deaths of his loved ones and re-encountering the creature that he so deeply feared (Shelley 160). Miraculously, when Victor woke from his sleep he said, “A change indeed had taken place in me; my health, which had hitherto declined, was now much restored; and my spirits, when unchecked by the memory of my unhappy promise, rose proportionably” (Shelley 162). Unfourtanetley, misery eventfully caught up with Victor again. Nonetheless, it is because of examples like this where a character in Frankenstein goes into nature, secluding themselves from society, that I believe that the Romantics were on to something and nature having a healing capability is still relevant today because after all, when many of us are upset we need only to take a short walk outside to recompose ourselves. So, to conclude, it appears as if the romantics were not all that out there and more than just hippie-dippie-naturalists.
In conclusion, I believe that Frankenstein never felt repetitious to me because Shelley uses many themes that are all interconnected, coming from the same source, nature. For example, the thought that man must revere nature, for when man meddles with the creation of life, many undesirable things happen, so clearly seen in Victor Frankenstein’s case when he causes many of his loved one’s deaths and ultimately his own death and demise. Also, Shelley points many times to the idea that nature has this miraculous healing capability, and that as ridiculous as it sounds, this idea is still relevant today in many of the same ways portrayed in Frankenstein. To finish, I believe that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is an amazing read, portraying deep, meaningful themes, without feeling repetitious, all coming from a unique source, nature.
“As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
“A Catalogue of the Art Collections of Amgueddfa Cymru.” National Museum Wales, museum.wales/art/online/?action.
“Quotes About Nature (4914 Quotes).” Goodreads , Goodreads, www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/nature.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Penguin Publishing Group, 2013.
“The Hunger Games.” SparkNotes, SparkNotes, www.sparknotes.com/lit/the-hunger-games/themes.html.