The Monster You Didn’t Expect: A Review of Frankenstein

By Amanda Crutchfield

You’ve seen him in movies, on cereal boxes, and as Halloween costumes. Commonly he is depicted as a very large, green man with bolts sticking out of his neck. He grunts because he cannot speak and he has a deathly fear of fire. Frankenstein is known as one of the world’s classic monsters, but do you truly know the creature’s story?

In Mr. Bailey’s AP Literature class, students were assigned to read Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. Contrary to what many people think, the monster wasn’t initially a monster at all. This book, using a monster, revealed human nature’s darker side. Frankenstein’s monster didn’t want to hurt people or cause chaos, he simply wanted to learn and be loved. However, any human that looked upon his face instantly labeled him as a horrible freak of nature… a monster. Someone with an innocent and beautiful heart was morphed into being monstrous because that is how society outcast him due to his horrific appearance.

This is a recurring theme in many works: The Phantom of the Opera, Elephant Man, and even Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Why do authors and directors continue to use this? Frankenstein, along with the many other works, shatters the hearts of every human because of the truth it contains. Using catharsis, Mary Shelley allows us to feel outcast from the world. It is something many people can relate to. One will take one look at a person, create judgments, and instantly think they have somewhat of an idea of who that person is. However, a human is like a Christmas present. Some are wrapped beautifully and some are wrapped sloppily, yet the part that matters is what is contained on the inside. However, it is an important factor on who does the wrapping.

Some people grow up in a good home with good parents creating a beautifully neat wrapping, whereas some people may endure a rougher past causing their wrapping to be more worn. The monster was created by Victor Frankenstein, who abhorred him at first sight of life. Victor’s hatred, the family in the cabin’s hatred, and the rest of the world’s hatred destroyed the wrapping of the monster. It tore him apart and the monster was molded into someone completely different. “If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear.”

Mary Shelley, at just age 18, created a story that told and emphasized the way society creates monsters. Beginning the book skeptical, I dreaded the thought of being forced to read something not of my choice. However, after the book left me with an inspiring story weighing heavy on my heart, I came to a startling realization in making us do things we don’t want to do, teachers may actually be more insightful than us. Sometimes.

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