By Elisheba Silver
Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley, is about a young man, named Victor Frankenstein, dabbing into Anatomy and creation sciences, then actually creating something on his own. He created a creature, one night after all of his studying, so gruesome that it made him sick for a couple of weeks. Victor's monster, on the night of his creation, watched his master while he slept, then ran away into the night. Victor tries to forget the monster and carry on with life but he soon hears word that someone in his family had died. His little brother William had been murdered and his cousin Justine was accused for his murder. Justine was later executed, which in turn made Victor feel guilty and even more unwilling to tell his family about his creation. Victor's friend, Henry Clerval, and then his new wife, Elizabeth, was murdered by the monster next. After all of that, Victor's father dies from shock and Victor leave his hometown and searches for his creation to kill it. Victor dies in the process of trying to find his creation, he meets Robert Walton who says that he will finish Victor's job but the monster himself beats him to the punch and goes to wither away.
Three Major Characters
The 3 major character I chose was Victor Frankenstein, his creation or the monster, and Captain Robert Walton
Throughout the story, we see Victor go from a curious and knowledgeable young man to a distraught and infuriated man. In the beginning of this book, Victor had always been a big fan of the life sciences and how life itself works. But, as the story progressed and after he made his own being, he began to change his views and regret ever creating his beast. " I then reflected, and the thought made me shiver,that the creature whom I had left in my apartment might still be there, alive and walking about. I dreaded to behold this monster..." (pg 63) In the end, he is chasing his own creation, trying to get revenge and avenge his family's death.
The Monster, Frankenstein
The monster was brought into the world with little, if not any, knowledge of the world that he was brought into. The poor thing did not really have that much direction, training, or proper care thanks to his creator, Victor Frankenstein, not wanting him after creating him. " My heart beat quick; this was the hour and moment of trial, which would decide my hopes or realize my fears." (pg 158) The monster, throughout the story, was really just misunderstood and wanted to reach out to help people but everyone was disgusted by the monster for the way he looked and did not want anything to do with him. If the monster was given the care and attention that he needed in the first place, then he probably would have been better off and there would have been no casualties.
We first hear from Robert Walton at the very beginning of this book in 4 letters that he writes to his sister. At first it seems like these letters have nothing to do with the entire book to begin with, but after a while, we learn how Robert and Victor relate. After the 4 letters at the beginning of the book, that is the last we hear of Robert until the end. "Strange and harrowing must be his story, frightful the storm which embraced the gallant vessel on its course and wrecked it—thus!" (pg. 23) Robert, in his fourth letter, is saying how he is being told Victor's story, and a story that was indeed. We do not really learn all that much about Robert throughout the letters except for he has a sister, in which he was writing the letters to, he helped and befriended Victor in his final days, and his different emotional states throughout the letters.
One of the themes that prevailed through the entire story was despair. This feeling was shared between all of the characters and it began at the beginning of the book starting with Walter's letters. In one of his letters, Walton wrote "I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment,no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection. I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true; but that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling. I desire the companyof a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine.(pg 7)" This quote shows the despair that Walton was feeling due to his lack of having a friend while he was on his trips. He did have people around him that he liked and they liked him back but he did not have that friend he was looking for on the boat.
The next theme that was prevalent throughout the story was the passiveness of the females throughout the entire story. This theme was prevalent in the case of the character Justine when she was killed even though she was innocent because she was framed for killing Victor's younger brother(pg 86-89). Another way that females were shown as passive figures without say was when Victor was creating the female version of the monster. Instead of bringing her to life, he chose to kill her on the table and of course she had no say in this because it was not up to her because she was not the creator.(pg 203).
Impact of Time Period
This story was written in the Romantic Time period and this was apparent in the story because a good amount of the story took place in nature, such as when the monster spent a lot of the time in the caves watching the people, or when Victor was chasing the monster into the north. The story also included a lot of emotional because there were a lot of parts in the stories when the characters were talking about their emotions, such as when the monster was talking about how he wanted to be accepted by victor at the end of the story.
Poem from Shelly's Day
O World! O Life! O Time!
On whose last steps I climb,
Trembling at that where I had stood before;
When will return the glory of your prime?
No more -Oh, never more!
Out of the day and night
A joy has taken flight:
Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar
Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight
No more -Oh, never more!
This poem also seems to share the theme despair because the character in this poem seems to be dying and will not have to deal with life no more and he is also trembling and such which shows his despair.
Piece of art from 1818
The painting from 1818 relates to the theme of dangerous knowledge. When Victor Frankenstein was a young boy, he was very in tune to all the different things he learned and only craved to learn more. Soon, when he went to college, that knowledge and wanting to know and learn more only became his down fall. In the end all that knowledge and what it led up to would take everything away from him and even kill him.
Overall, I really did like the book. The story itself was very intriguing and I was on edge to know what would happen next. One thing that I did not like at first was the letters by Robert Walton to his sister. I did not understand or even saw any point to those letters at the beginning but as I read on in the story, I realized that the man that Robert Walton had met on his voyage was in fact Victor Frankenstein. After learning this, I was able to see the purpose of the letters and start to realize that that was a clever part taken by Mary Shelley. She did a very good job in making the book somewhat suspenseful and making the reader wonder what would happen to the characters next.