A Critic's Meta-Review: 4/5

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1797-1851). Published by planksip

A Critic's Meta-Review: 4/5


For me, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein resonates with anyone examining their treatment of "others". Scare quotes aside, reconsidering the outcasts and unwanted, I settle on nonconformity as an origin towards forgiveness, acknowledging this baseline of understanding is only mildly useful. Is the utility of this cautionary tale a blueprint for aspiring workaholics? How about the megalomaniac? This would be the wrong approach. As a science student, Victor Frankenstein presents as a passion turned obsession. This is a passionate romance turned obsession. The lifeless matter is animated as an ideal, however tragic the manifestation of Frankenstein presents. Hardly a gift, yet transcendental to all that read this story.

Mary, Mary. Mary Shelley. Wife of the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Daughter of the anarchist philosopher William Godwin and the feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft. No relation, however, to my childhood guitar teacher Guy Shelley. Actually, maybe she was a distant relative. I never asked him. I really should have. I’m sure he would have told me. The guy was quite the chatterbox. Taught me everything I know about the pentatonic box.

Anywho, onto the novel at hand: Frankenstein (full title: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus). What more can be said about this book, and the characters within it, that has not already been said a million times over? Indeed, it has been parodied endlessly - everyone from Bud Abbott and Lou Costello to Mel Brooks has had their way with this story. And, of course, as everyone who thinks they’re smarter than you (which actually makes them dumber than you, funnily enough) will often point out: “hey, well, you know, Frankenstein wasn’t actually the name of the monster; Frankenstein was the name of the scientist who created the monster”.

Everybody knows this. It does not make you smarter, or more cultured, to point this out every time someone refers to the monster itself as “Frankenstein” instead of “Frankenstein’s monster”, so quit being tedious and playing these little semantic games. Go for a jog or something, man. Sweep up your kitchen. Do something productive with your life instead of trying to one-up somebody for not having read a book that was written over two centuries ago.

Interesting little fact - Mary Shelley started writing this book when she was just eighteen years old, after a trip to Germany in which she made a stop along the Rhine near Frankenstein Castle. She was likely inspired by the legend of the alchemist who had once performed experiments there, centuries before her visit.

The book was published when Ms. Shelley was only twenty years old. When I was twenty years old, I was walking around in my boxer shorts, rummaging through the refrigerator in search of canned beer and leftover hot wings. I was not writing novels that would go on to revolutionize an entire genre (the Gothic novel) and even possibly serve as an early work of another genre that had yet to emerge at the time (science fiction).

I wasn’t doing that. I still am not doing that.

Maybe one day, though.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1797-1851). Published by planksip

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