Now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart . . . – Victor Frankenstein
Sometimes one needs to travel back in time, only to appreciate the work which sculpted modern-day literature. One such example is Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein. Written in the early 1800’s – very, very long ago – it is still considered a classic in today’s day-and-age.
Honestly, I demolished this book in less than a week. Not because I was absolutely entranced, but solely because I was forced to do so by my English Literature Professor.
Like many others in my module, I sat by dying candlelight – a.k.a my bed lamp – only to finish it.
The next morning I wrote a literary essay on the novel as an example of gothic literature . . .
Mary Shelley was born in 1797 in London. She died on 1 February 1851, still living in London. During her life she endured many a tragedy, including her mother passing at her birth, and her husband drowning. She also had but one surviving child, Percy Florence.
The novel is written from a first-person perspective. I always think it is best to know this detail beforehand. Personally – and I have said this many times before – I prefer to read third-person narratives. For some reason it draws me inside the story more. I can view it, instead of live it. (If that makes any sense?)
Another aspect which intrigued me, is the story being told by three different narrators, intertwined within three various stories. Simply put, it is a story, within a story, within a story . . .
Victor Frankenstein is a man of science. He studies all his life, dreaming of one day creating life. When he finally does, things do not happen the way he planned. Instead of having created a man to his image, he brought life to a monster vial and horrific. It is not a man, nor an animal.
Victor is frightened by it, and runs away.
The story progresses as the monster hunts down his creator, bearing questions about why the man had been afraid of him. In the process he wrecks havoc upon Victor’s life and his loved ones. Eventually the monster learn to speak, read and gains terrific amounts of knowledge.
Finishing this novel, I felt as if having a keener perspective of how life had been during the Victorian Era. Not only cultural-wise, but also the way people thought. I found it striking how little they knew about the world.
Though Shelley possesses a keen sense of writing – formal, yet readable – I found it somewhat difficult to follow her story. She has a love for describing her surroundings, which is good if you like that sort of thing.
Would I read this novel again?
Probably, but only because I am writing exam on it at the end of the semester . . . HA!HA! Still, I think indulging in classic literature every now and again is an experience well needed.
For anyone who enjoys reading, this is a literary must!