When I used to think of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley so many emotions would bubble up, frustration with the main character Victor and his selfishness, empathy and heartbreak for the lonely creature he created, and love for sweet and kind Elizabeth (Victor’s wife). Now that I’ve finished the Gothic novel when I think of it I’m in awe. The fact that someone could’ve thought so far ahead of their time and been so creative to have written this book amazes me. It’s an entirely original idea. How Mary Shelley came across it and created this fantastic and famous novel is beyond me. I write short stories here and there and I couldn’t imagine having come up with an idea like this.
She thought very scientifically, for example the fact that she thought of creating new life by electrocution (in this case lightning), “With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet” (Shelley 58) was phenomenal. You can also tell that for her to write this story she put a lot of thinking into it and didn’t just write it out randomly on paper.
The format of this story is also something I’ve never seen before called a frame story and epistolary. If you aren’t familiar with these terms epistolary is a novel written in a series of documents or letters. A frame story is a narrative with many narrators within it but all the side stories connect in the end. Think of it as the Russian nesting dolls, how there’s a doll within a doll within a doll, you get what I mean. But I thought this was a really unique idea that I’d never seen before, it made the novel much more interesting and gave you a new kind of perspective. I found it more personal and I got a further understanding of the characters this way.
The theme of the entire story; how dangerous knowledge can be is really before her time. It almost foreshadows the future and how we live today. For example artificial intelligence. There are many movies and articles on why it should never be created, yet we still seek the answer to it. This is a perfect example of why we should respect the knowledge we attain instead of misusing it and taking advantage of it. The saying knowledge is power is extremely true, especially in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein because it shows that the power may not be positive or useful but negative and destructive. This theme is a huge lesson that we should all abide by but many people don’t learn from it and strive for the unknown to discover something someone hasn’t and to solve problems that should never be solved. Why we do this I don’t think anyone will ever know but we should start paying attention to the lessons people have been trying to teach us for centuries such as Mary Shelley’s knowledge can be dangerous.
Overall this book completely amazed me and I thoroughly enjoyed it Mary Shelley did a superb job at pulling on your emotions and keeping you enthralled with the book. I’m glad I read it and could learn the many lessons she weaved within this book such as parenting and the importance of it.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Penguin Publishing Group, 2013.