Review: Frankenstein [Original 1818 Text]

Frankenstein [Original 1818 Text]
Frankenstein [Original 1818 Text] by Mary Shelley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“After days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter.”

This book is a supreme example of romanticism. Now, when I refer to romanticism, I’m not talking about the fluffy, girly crap that “romance” has become known for. I’m referring to the artistic and intellectual literary device that arose in Europe during the 1800s; a device that is very much about the aesthetic feelings that someone comes across. It’s very deep and detailed, extremely personal and intimate to that individual. This is especially true when it co-relates to science or nature.

Frankenstein is a masterpiece in the way of romantic literature. Told through a series of letters and other textual material, it narrates the deep-rooted emotions that the protagonist experiences throughout his life, mostly the adult portions. How he attains knowledge, realizes that he wanted to embark on one hell of a scientific venture, dealing with the fallout of his creation, etc. From one page unto the next, the audience is always intertwined with every emotion that Victor Frankenstein undergoes. That made the book feel much more visceral to me, as the reader.

Mary Shelley’s writing is absolutely exquisite and refreshingly intellectual. Victor is an extremely intelligent and well-educated man, so as read through the first-person telling of his adventures, that acumen is blatant yet fluidly apparent. It gives the story an air of finesse that I honestly wasn’t expecting.

Plot details and writing approaches aside, another aspect that really sucked me into Frankenstein were the different themes examined. For example, abortion is one of them. It is illustrated in portions of the books when Victor rants about how he wished he never created the Monster, as well as from the Monster’s point-of-view when he speaks of his own hideous nature and self-loathing. The theme also comes to light when Victor talks of the many pursuits that he had given up in life, and again when other characters refer to the same sort of withdrawal from their ventures. It’s subtle and varying throughout the novel.

The second more obvious theme is the theme of abnormality. I feel that this is something that everyone can relate to on one level or another, some more than most. It’s this notion that you don’t fit in, no matter how hard you try. The concept of being so wholly different from another human being that you are shunned or excluded to the point of excruciating loneliness. That profound form of alienation can mold a person into something that they never expected to become, like a terribly bitter and hateful monster. It can drive a person to exhibit such brash actions that even a vengeful acknowledgment is better that none at all. This theme is extremely compelling and is truly what makes this tragic piece of horror fiction so astoundingly beautiful.

It seems I have prattled a bit more than I originally planned, but I just loved this book so very much. If you are a fan of fantastic story-telling, or tales that can be harshly empathetic, I highly recommend this. Actually, I just recommend this to anyone who wants to experience a great novel, period!

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