FRANKENSTEIN A Monster that longed for Love BY: Kristi Sasamori

Frankenstein: the Monster
Frankenstein: the Monster

"I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion,to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on."



Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley
About the Author

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in Somers Town, London, in 1797 to philosopher William Godwin, and author and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. Unfortunately her mother Mary Wollstonecraft died as the result of Mary's birth, and so therefore her father and step mother raised Mary. Mary received advanced education for a girl of her time, being tutored by her father in a wide range of subjects. Her father described her at age 15 as "singularly bold, somewhat imperious, and active of mind. Her desire of knowledge is great, and her perseverance in everything she undertakes almost invincible."

At the age of 16 Mary met Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley, and together with her stepsister Claire Clairmont, they ran off to France and Switzerland a several times in 1812. In december of 1816, Mary and Percy married due to the fact that Percy's wife commited suicide by drowning. In the same year of their marriage, the couple spent their summer at Switzerland with poet Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont. This was where Mary came up with the idea for her mega hit novel Frankenstein. "It proved a wet, ungenial summer", Mary Shelley stated in 1831, "and incessant rain often confined us for days to the house". At Byron's villa, the four amused themselves by reading German ghost stories, which prompted Byron to suggest they each write their own supernatural tale. Mary conceived the idea for Frankenstein while she was half asleep, and what she assumed would be a short story, turned into her first novel with Percy's encouragement, and Frankenstein or, the Modern Prometheus was published in 1818.

Mary Shelley employed the techniques of many different novelistic genres, most vividly the Godwinian novel, Walter Scott's new historical novel, and the Gothic novel. Shelley's loss of a baby was a crucial influence on the writing of Frankenstein. Shelley comes to terms with her guilt for causing her mother's death as well as for failing as a parent. Victor Frankenstein's failure as a "parent" in the novel has been read as an expression of the anxieties which accompany pregnancy, giving birth, and particularly maternity.

Although Mary Shelley is most famously known as the author of Frankenstein, she also produced many novels such as Valperga (1823), Perkin Warbeck (1830), The Last Man (1826) and Mathilda (1820). Certain sections of Mary Shelley's novels are often interpreted as masked rewritings of her life. She also wrote short stories, travelogues, and biographies, and even edited and promoted her husband's works.



Modern cover of Frankenstein
Modern cover of Frankenstein
1831 edition of Frankenstein
1831 edition of Frankenstein


















If you like horror and science fiction stories you have to check Frankenstein out. Frankenstein Full text

Here's a video of Frankenstein made in 1931 from Universal Pictures directed by James Whale



SYNOPSIS

Frankenstein opens with a series of letters written by Arctic explorer Robert Walton, engaged in a personal quest to expand the boundaries of the known world. Walton first encounters desperate Victor Frankenstein in the Arctic, who is searching for the monster he has created. Walton invites him aboard his ship and he becomes the only person to hear Victor Frankenstein's strange and tragic tale.


Victor begins his narration describing his childhood spent in Geneva, Switzerland, with his adopted sister Elizabeth and his good friend Henry Clerval.
He then is sent to the University of Ingolstadt at age 17 to study natural Chemistry and Philosophy. Victor studies with great enthusiasm and, ignoring his social life and his family far away in Geneva, makes rapid progress. Fascinated by the mystery of the creation of life, he studies human anatomy and how it falls apart after death. After several years of endless work, he masters all that his professors have to teach him, and he ventures into discovering the secret of life.


In his aparatment where no one can bug him, he privately and secretly starts constructing a gigantic creature planed to be 8ft tall with old body parts gathered from hospitals and slaughterhouses. After devoting his heart and soul to constructing this creature for 2 long years, the creature finally comes to life at 1 am on a dark rainy november night. Horribly frightened by his own creation, Victor goes to sleep but is wakend by the monster and escapes out into the streets where he runs into his friend Henry. He takes Henry back to his apartment to show him the monster, but the creature had disappeared! Victor falls into a feverish illness and prepares to visit his family in Geneva, but just before he leaves he receives a letter from his father informing him that his brother William had been murdered. He hurries back home and on the way he passes through the woods where his brother was killed and spots the monster of his creation. At that point Victor is convinced that the monster he had created has killed his own brother!
The next day, when he returns home, Victor learns that Justine his adopted sister has been accused of the murder. Victor proclaims Justine's innocence, but the evidence against her seems irrefutable, and Victor refuses to explain himself for fear that he will be labeled insane. Justine confesses to the crime, believing that she will thereby gain salvation, but tells Elizabeth and Victor that she is really innocent. Justine is soon executed and Victor becomes consumed with guilt knowing that his creation has killed two of his family members. He tries to commit suicide but restrains himself by thinking of Elizabeth and his father.


He decides to travel to the summit of Montanvert, hoping that the view of a pure, eternal, beautiful natural scene will revive his spirits. When he reaches the glacier at the top, he is momentarily consoled by the sublime spectacle. As he crosses to the opposite side of the glacier, however, he spots a grotesque creature loping toward him at an incredible speed. He issues futile threats of attack to the monster, curses him and tells him to go away, but the monster, persuades him to accompany him to a fire in a cave of ice. Inside the cave, the monster begins to narrate the events of his life. The monster tells Victor of the confusion that he experienced upon being created. In search of food the monster travels to a village and see that humans flee when they see him and as a result he resolves to stay away from humans. One night he takes refuge in a small hovel adjacent to a cottage. In the morning, he discovers that he can see into the cottage through a crack in the wall and observes his neighbors. The monster notices that they often seem unhappy, though he is unsure why. He eventually realizes, that their despair results from their poverty, to which he has been contributing by surreptitiously stealing their food. Torn by his guilty conscience, he stops stealing their food and does what he can to reduce their hardship, gathering wood at night to leave at the door for their use.



By observing the humans he acquires a knowledge of the language, including the names of his neighbor, Felix and Agatha, and later on is able to read. He admires their graceful forms and is shocked by his ugliness when he catches sight of his own reflection in a pool of water. The monster learns about human society by listening to the cottagers' conversations. Reflecting on his own situation, he realizes that he is deformed and alone. “Was I then then a monster,” he asks, “a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned?” With his newfound ability to read, he soon understands the horrific manner of his own creation and the disgust with which his creator regarded him. The monster wishes to reveal himself to the cottagers in the hope that they will see past his hideous exterior and befriend him. However, they drive him away because of his hideous appearance and experiencing rejection, the monster swears to revenge himself against all human beings, especially his creator Victor Frankenstein.

He makes his way towards Geneva, and the monster runs across Victor's younger brother, William, in the woods. When William mentions that his father is Alphonse Frankenstein, the monster erupts in a rage of vengeance and strangles the boy to death with his bare hands. Having explained his story the monster demands Victor to create another (female) monster to accompany him and be his mate. Victor refuses at first, but the monster appeals to his sense of responsibility as his creator. He tells Victor that all of his evil actions have been the result of a desperate loneliness and lack of love. He promises that with his mate he will hide in the amazon never again to kill a human being.


One night while working on creating a female monster on a desolate island, Victor glances out the window to see the monster glaring in at him with a frightening grin. Horrified by the possible consequences of his work, Victor destroys his new creation. The monster, enraged, vows revenge, swearing that he will be with Victor on Victor's wedding night. Later that night, Victor takes a boat out onto a lake and dumps the remains of the second creature in the water. Upon returning Victor is arrested for murder of his friend Henry Clerval. Victor falls ill when he sees the marks of the monster's fingers on Henry's neck, and is kept in prison until his recovery, after which he is acquitted of the crime.



Shortly after returning to Geneva, Victor marries Elizabeth. He fears the monster's warning and suspects that he will be murdered on his wedding night. However, he hears Elizabeth scream and realizes that the monster had been hinting at killing his new bride, not himself!
Victor vows to devote the rest of his life to finding the monster and exacting his revenge, and he soon departs to begin his quest on finding the monster. Victor tracks the monster and after almost catching up with him, the sea beneath them swells and the ice breaks, leaving an unpassable gap between them. This is where Victor encounters Walton, and the narrative catches up to the time of Walton's fourth letter to his sister. Just before the ship is set to head back to England, Victor dies. When Walton enters the room where Victor died, he sees the monster weeping over Victor's dead body. The monster tells Walton that now that his creator is dead he too can end his suffering. He leaves heading for the northernmost ice to end his life.




My Personal Review of Frankenstein


Honestly, when I first found out that Frankenstein was in the list of books that we have to read for Winter break, I was ecstatic. I'm a huge horror movie fan, and I loved reading scary stories since I was really small. I used to read the Goosebump series by R.L. Stine in elementary, and even to this day I still have over 30 of his goosebump books in my book shelf. Plus recently I've been reading THE BEST GHOST STORIES EVER TOLD edited by Christopher Krovatin. Anyway, because I love sci-fi and horror I've seen many Frankenstein movies and I couldn't wait to read the original Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley. I actually started reading it before winter break when I had tons of homework to do! I was immediately hooked to the story and was amazed by Mary Shelley's incredible writing skills, and also somewhat challenged by her huge amount of difficult vocabulary in the novel. At first I didn't understand the meaning of the subtitle "The Modern Prometheus." However with a little research, I learned that Prometheus stole fire from the gods. As punishment, he was chained to a rock, where an eagle each day plucked at his liver. Haughty Prometheus sought fire for human betterment, to make tools and warm hearts. Similarly, Mary Shelley's arrogant scientist, Victor Frankenstein, claimed "benevolent intentions, and thirsted for the moment when I should put them in practice."


Frankenstein is not just a horror novel,
the ideas it asks us to confront: human accountability, social alienation, and the nature of life itself make it a very interesting and deep book. Mary Shelley gave her monster feelings and intelligence in the book. Parentless, the monster struggles to find his place in human society, struggles with the most fundamental questions of identity and personal history. Alone, he learns to speak, to read, and to ponder. All the time, he suffers from the loneliness of never seeing anyone resembling himself. Victor Frankenstein abandons the "miserable monster" he fathered in his laboratory, because he was greatly frightened of what he'd actually created. The monster never receives any love from his creator or anyone in the story. I believe that this is the ultimate reason why it turned into a vengeful monster. With proper love and affection from his creator, the monster could've been one of the gentlest and kindest being. In the novel, the monster encounters a girl and rescues her from drowning and this shows that he is genuinely nice and that humans' cold attitude towards him because of his appearance has made him feel alienated and alone and miserable and ugly.
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Madness, or A Man Bound with Chains (1774-1842)

"I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing . . . formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion, and straight black lips."


The protagonist of Frankenstein is indeed Victor Frankenstein and as a young Swiss boy, he grows up in Geneva reading the works of the ancient alchemists, a background that serves him ill when he attends university at Ingolstadt. Victor changes over the course of the novel from an innocent youth fascinated by the prospects of science into a disillusioned, guilt-ridden man determined to destroy the fruits of his arrogant scientific endeavor. As a result of his desire to attain a godlike power of creating new life, Victor is doomed by a lack of humanness. He cuts himself off from the world and eventually commits himself entirely to an animalistic obsession with revenging himself upon the monster. Victor relates his story to Robert Walton at the end and he dies. The novel leaves the reader with contrasting interpretations of Victor with its multiple narrators (multiple perspectives) : A mad scientist, unconcerned to venture into the realm of god in science, or a brave adventurer who is irresponible.


The monster is another main character in Frankenstein, and it is the creation of Victor Frankenstein, made by old body parts and strange chemicals, and animated by a mysterious spark. Although it is huge and ugly the monster is just like a newborn baby when he enters life. Abandoned by his creator and confused, he tries to integrate himself into society, only to be shunned universally. Looking in the water he realizes his physical uglyness, an aspect of his persona that blinds society to his initially gentle, kind nature. Seeking revenge on his creator, he kills Victor's younger brother. After Victor destroys his work on the female monster meant to ease the monster's solitude, the monster murders Victor's best friend and then his new wife. Torn between vengefulness and compassion, the monster ends up lonely and tormented by remorse. Even the death of his creator-turned-would-be-destroyer offers only bittersweet relief: joy because Victor has caused him so much suffering, sadness because Victor is the only person with whom he has had any sort of relationship.


The pursuit of knowledge is one of the many themes visible in Frankenstein. Victor attempts to go beyond accepted human limits and access the secret of life. Likewise, Robert Walton attempts to surpass previous human explorations by endeavoring to reach the North Pole. Victor's act of creation eventually results in the destruction of everyone dear to him, and Walton finds himself perilously trapped between sheets of ice, and this proves that the pursuit of knowledge is dangerous.

I think that Victor Frankenstein is a kind of monster as his ambition, secrecy, and selfishness alienate him from human society. While seemingly ordinary on the outside, he may be the true “monster” inside as he is eventually consumed by an obsessive hatred of his creation. The novel itself is monstrous, stitched-together by combinations of different voices, texts, and tenses.

The story of Frankenstein is how a mad scientist creates a life form out of old body parts, pretending to be God, and ends up creating an ugly monster. Although this story seems unreal, cloning and test tube babies already exist in our modern world. Humans are indeed making animal clones and maybe even human clones secretly, and I believe that it is a matter of time when our very own human clones start living among real humans. If you enjoy reading sci-fi or if you are interested in human anatomy or just a major horror fan, or none of these, I recommend you to read Frankenstein to find out what message Frankenstein the monster is trying to bring across to the reader.



My Connection Corner

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A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) Directed, produced and co-written by Steven Spielburg
Based on the short story Super-Toys Last All Summer Long
"David is 11 years old. He weighs 60 pounds. He is 4 feet, 6 inches tall. He has brown hair. His love is real. But he is not."

AI was released in 2001 and it starred Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law and was a hit all over the world. The plot goes:In the not-so-far future the polar ice caps have melted and the resulting raise of the ocean waters has drowned all the coastal cities of the world. Withdrawn to the interior of the continents, the human race keeps advancing, reaching to the point of creating realistic robots (called mechas) to serve them. One of the mecha-producing companies builds David, an artificial kid which is the first to have real feelings, especially a never-ending love for his "mother", Monica. Monica is the woman who adopted him as a substitute for her real son, who remains in cryo-stasis, stricken by an incurable disease. David is living happily with Monica and her husband, but when their real son returns home after a cure is discovered, his life changes dramatically. A futuristic adaptation of the tale of Pinocchio, with David being the "fake" boy who desperately wants to become "real". AI connects with Frankenstein because both the monster in Frankenstein and David in AI hopes for someone to love them. They are both human made and not real human beings and so somewhat alienated and treated differently.
A.I. Wikipedia


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Wrong Turn Directed by Rob Schmidt"It's the last one you'll ever take."


Wrong Turn was released in 2003 and it is truly one of the scariest horror movies I've ever seen, and one of my favorite. It stars Eliza Dushku as the main character Jessie, and here's a little review: In a throwback to 1970's horror films such as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Hills Have Eyes", "Wrong Turn" is an independently-made horror film about a group of five youths on a hiking trip in the Appalachains of West Virginia who become prey to a family of cannibalistic mountain men who have become horribly disfigured through generations of in-breeding. The Plot: Chris Finn (Desmond Harrington) is on his way to a job interview and is driving through the mountains of West Virginia. There is then a chemical spill on the road, so being short on time, he decides to take a different route, an abandoned dirt road in the middle of nowhere. He then by accident crashes into a car sitting in the middle of the road. He then meets a group of friends on a hiking trip who include Jessie (Eliza Dushku) whom where stranded on the road. Two people stay at the car, and another group goes for help, only to find a sinister cabin nesteled in the West Virgina woods, that is home to a trio of cannibalistic mountain men horribly disfigured from years of in-breeding. They then make a mad dash for their lives through out the woods, only hoping to make it out alive. Recently in 2007 a sequel to Wrong Turn was made entitled Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, which in my opinion is more violent and bloody than Wrong Turn. Oh, the connection to Frankenstein is that the cannibalistic mountain men are very "unhuman" and greatly deformed like Frankenstein, and both shows that if you go against God, like inbreeding and making a human from body parts the result is a monster!

Here's a Trailer of Wrong Turn and Wrong Turn 2. Watch out! Some pretty grotesue content!



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Replicant Directed by Ringo Lam
"A ruthless killer... to destroy him, they had to create him."

Replicant was released in 2001 as a sci-fi, thriller, action movie and received 2 nominations. It stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as Replicant/Garrotte and Michael Rooker as Jake. The plot: Edward "The Torch" Garrotte is a serial killer who has a penchant for killing women and then setting them on fire. Another pattern to his murders is the fact that the women are all mothers. Jake Riley is a Seattle police detective who has spent three years trying to stop Garrotte. Just days before Jake's retirement, Garrotte strikes again, but Jake is off the case. A secret government agency hires Jake as a consultant on a project they have been working on. They have cloned Garrotte from evidence found at a crime scene, and they need Jake to help train this replicant (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who has some genetic memories from Garrotte, plus a telepathic link with him, but the replicant is like a newborn in many other respects. The Replicant has the body of a 40-year-old, but the mind of a child. Jake's job is to help use the Replicant track Garrotte down by using the memories stored in Garrotte's DNA. As the Replicant and Riley work to track Garrotte down, tension is constant. Jake feels that the Replicant could turn on him at any moment, because Jake thinks Garrotte's killer instinct may take over and dictate the Replicant's tendencies. The Replicant tries to understand the world and life, and tries to understand his connection with Garrotte. The replicant also tries to understand why Jake treats him so roughly. As they work together, the Replicant views Jake as either a friend or as family. Though Jake abuses him, the Replicant looks to him for protection and guidance as the two try to find Garrotte and stop him once and for all. Replicant and Frankenstein are very similar because both the Replicant and the monster are created by humans and are like newborns when they first enter the world. However as they spend time with humans, they both change in a bad way when no love and affection is given to them. The monster in Frankenstein ends its life miserably since it never had anyone that protected him and loved him, but Replicant had Jake and he received love from him so he ultimately ended up happy. The major difference between Replicant and the monster is that the Replicant is very human looking and attractive, while the monster is physically deformed. Appearcance really makes a difference on how people treat you and by comparing these 2 similar stories we can see that clearly.


SIGN OF THE TIMES

Frankenstein, a Gothic novel was published in 1818 during the time of Romanticism. Mary Shelley believed in the Enlightment idea that people could improve society through the responsible exercise of political power, but she feared that the irresponsible exercise of power would lead to chaos. Her works largely criticise the way 18th-century thinkers, such as her parents believed such change could be brought about. The creature in Frankenstein, for example, reads books associated with radical ideals but the knowledge he gains from them is useless.

In Mary Shelley's day, many people regarded the new science of electricity with wonder and astonishment. In Frankenstein, Shelley used both the new sciences of chemistry and electricity, and the older Renaissance tradition of the alchemists' search for the elixir of life to conjure up the Promethean possibility of reanimating the bodies of the dead.


I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak . . . and so soon as the dazzling light vanished the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump. . . . I eagerly inquired of my father the nature and origin of thunder and lightning. He replied, "Electricity."


By the early nineteenth century, philosophers like physician Erasmus Darwin and chemist Humphry Davy, both well known to Mary Shelley, pointed the way to mastery of the physical universe. Discoveries about the human body and the natural world promised the dawn of a new age of medical power, when such things as reanimation of dead tissue and the end of death and disease seemed within reach.


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