To continue my journey through the classics, I thought I would venture into a genre that I never read; horror.
For starters, the story is not what I thought it was. I assumed the story was mostly Dr Frankenstein making the monster, going in to detail how and where he got the parts and how he gave it life. He makes his monster pretty early on, Victor and his creation run away from each other and then the monster kills his brother, his brother’s nanny (indirectly) and ultimately his wife. Plus there was no ‘It’s alive! It’s alive!’ moment like there is in the many films, and no lispy Igor character either.
Speaking of film adaptations, its mostly like the makers had never even read the book. I’m sure Shelley would turn in her grave to see what they had done her Monster. I mean, you just have to look at the Monster itself. In the whole book, I don’t remember one mention of bolts? Where did they come from? The green skin, I can maybe forgive. While reading the book, I imagined the monster to look more like he did in the Van Helsing movie (one of my favourite movies incidently). I imagined something that looked a bit more like he had actually been made from random bits of body.
So Frankenstein made the monster, they ran away from each other and the monster comes back with the ability to speak. He asks Victor to make him a female so he can be happy. Victor accepts, but then goes back on his promise as he thinks that they’ll be a danger to humanity. I’m not totally sure he thought that through. If he made the female, they would have buggered off to where no people lived and bothered nobody. I understand that the actual process of making was difficult for Victor, but it makes sense to me to go through a few months of horror, make the lady monster and he’ll never have to see them again, and he can have a lovely life with with his dear Elizabeth. As for them being a danger to humanity, the monster was never really malicious, and despite killing William and Elizabeth, I believe the monsters wouldn’t attack people for the love of it. When the monster was hiding and was watching the family, he could have easily killed them and sheltered in their home, but he didn’t. He just watched them and even had the intelligence to approach the old blind man because he wouldn’t be able to see how horrific he looks.
As for it being horror, I was left feeling disappointed. I opened the book, ready to be scared and I only remember actually being scared once, after the monster had killed Elizabeth (which I so knew was going to happen as soon as he left her), when he appeared at the window of her room, but other than that, I didn’t find it scary at all.
I do understand why it would be considered horror. I imagine when it was published in 1818, people may have found the idea of being able to make life in the way Dr Frankenstein did quite terrifying. I’m not so sure I like the fact that I’m supposed to believe that all you have to do to create life is put random bits together and run an electric current through it. I just can’t believe that it’s that simple.
So overall, the story is totally not what I expected, but I did like the story I read. I found myself at then end, siding with the monster against Victor. The more I read, the more I realised what a complete nutjob Frankenstein was and how unreasonable he was. The monster only asked for a mate who would accept him, and Frankenstein went back on his word, which ultimately cost him his life.
Next Time: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë