Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fear Month - Throwback Thursday: Frankenstein

No fear month would be complete without Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein published in 1818. She wrote the story in 1816 after she and her friends spent a rainy day reading ghost stories and Lord Byron suggested they all should try their hand at writing a horror story. Frankenstein was Mary Shelley's contribution to that challenge. Shelley was the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft who wrote The Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). Both of her parents were writers, and the young Mary began writing quite early. She married Percy Bysshe Shelley who was a famous writer.

You can learn more about her life here.

I didn't read Frankenstein until I was in college. Sure, I'd seen Young Frankenstein and other adaptions on the big screen, but until it was assigned in college, I never bothered with it. I found the story deep with layers of meaning. What happens to creature or child who is abandoned by its creator? Ray Bradbury in Dandelion Wine calls the serial killer 'The Lonely One." Is that done to honor Mary Shelley's creature? Her creature is far more complex than his creator, Victor Frankenstein, give him credit. This book is about science and the responsibilities of science. It is also about the need we have for human connections and the consequences of abandonment. What happens when a person runs from their troubles, sins, responsibilities? 

Recently, my young son had me watch I Frankenstein, a movie that continues the creature's story into our time period. He was fascinated with the movie, and I liked that they got the feeling and motivations of the creature right. We started reading Frankenstein together, but he struggled with the language of 1816. I found this version: Treasury of Illustrated Classics Frankenstein, and now he is reading it on his own and understanding the story. I believe we need to reach our readers where they are, and he wasn't ready for the original version. 

Frankenstein is worth reading because it reveals much about human nature through the eyes of the creature and at times he is more human than those who profess their superiority.


  1. I liked this book and I read it to my children, they did not like it because it made them mad.