Saturday, January 16, 2010


I am slightly ashamed to say that, before reading the novel, I have had next to no experience with Frankenstein; beyond having a general understanding of the "mythology" of it, I knew nothing about the story. So for the most part, I was able to be introduced to the story and form relationships with the characters without much pre-existing bias.

Most notably, I found myself constantly sympathizing with Frankenstein himself. Obviously, he is a character with his own issues that, in the end, create problems for everyone else in the story. He is young, big-headed, self-absorbed, and the reason that everything ends up going wrong in the novel. And yet I can't help but think that his flaws are the reason I was so interested by him. After all, I am, and spend time with, naive college students. I feel like the mistakes he makes are all too believable; he gets overconfident in his abilities and suddenly finds himself the father to an unwanted child. His solution, to turn away and pretend it never happened, seems entirely realistic.

Obviously, Frankenstein is not a likable character. He abandons his creation and ignores it's existence. When the monster comes to him Frankenstein reacts with anger rather than ever making an attempt to accept his mistake. His selfishness and the pride that prevents him from accepting the monster eventually lead to the death of everyone he cares for. Even as his family and friends are killed, he is not driven by guilt to tell about the monster, but instead wallows in his own misery. He is a weak character, and I loved to read about him.

Whether it was the believability of this character's flaws, or just my happiness to watch him reap the rewards of his weakness, I enjoyed reading his story. I liked to watch Frankenstein's life become increasingly horrible due to his mistakes, and when he finally died at the end of the novel, I was satisfied that it was the closest thing to a happy ending that he could achieve.

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