Frankenstein has always been one of my favorite books. I like reading ominous messages about society, and I like reading books where you are reading the actual story only partly, but it feels like there is a far bigger subtext just carrying the whole thing along. That’s what I really like about Frankenstein; everything just feels so significant, everything IS so significant. That sounds like a sort of childish approach in which I just say “look guys, it means something, and I know what!” but a lot of the themes here are very basic, and maybe that’s what makes them so powerful. The most valuable interpretation to me is that of this book as a warning. And there are warnings within warnings. The Monster is a warning while it is alive, Victors tale is a warning, and he uses it to warn Walton. And the whole book is like the monster in that it is peiced together with different texts to form a hideous warning about science and knowledge. It’s simplicity is also valuable in making it just as applicable today as it was when Frankenstein was written. If our scientists today could create the hideous form of life in this novel, I don’t doubt they would. Modern science combined with humankind’s constant need for development has already created a number of figurative Frankensteins that damage our lives. Science is valuable, there is no questioning that, but things like genetic mutation or engineered viruses come with that fear that things could become beyond the hand of our control, and Frankenstein speaks eloquently towards that. As well as a warning against unchecked progress comes the fear of losing control, another important factor for me in this book. It also raises the question, what are the extents of our control, and who do we deserve to control? Who do we have a right to control?
The religious metaphors are pretty cool as well. I don’t have an exceptional analysis of them or any such thing, but this entire book plays on the original creation of man, and makes man the new God. Frankensteins access too knowledge and his subsequent rejection of the “God” that made him bears striking similarities to the biblical stories, and when I heard that Mary Shelley would refer to the monster as Adam it made me wonder what she is really trying to say about mankind’s consciousness of being.
I always want Victor to just make a companion from the monster. How would it have turned out? Would The Monster have stuck to his word and left? For a monster he was extremely human, and Victors rejection of him on an aesthetic principle is something uncomfortably realistic. If The Monster had not been ugly this would have been a different tale. Sure, that’s obvious, but still. It’s a shame.
As always, lots of questions, few answers. But that’s ok, I guess. See you soon!