The Barbarian Book Club: Book of the Month (June): Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Greetings Barbarians! Long days and pleasant nights!

No matter how great a man is, no man is without flaws. He might be of a brilliant mind or massive strength but there will always be things you will find him lacking. No man will ever be perfect yet it will always be his duty to make up with the things he lacks.

Both well-received and disregarded, Frankenstein is cited as the first science fiction novel. 

It was first published in 1818 and written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who performed an experiment that resulted in the creation of a monster. Infused with elements of gothic storytelling and the Romantic Movement, it has made an impact on literature and spawned a new genre of horror stories. 

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Frankenstein is one of the best books I’ve read and one of my favorites. The characters are well written especially Frankenstein’s monster. The character is intelligent, reasonable, and can even exhibit compassion. It’s not even fair to call it a monster as it only desires human interaction and love, and that’s pretty human to me. It’s capable of joy, hope, anger, and despair. Isn’t that what makes us human in the first place? It’s wasn’t a mindless, monosyllabic brute with bolts on its neck like how popular media portrays it. 

I’m more sympathetic towards Frankenstein’s Monster than Frankenstein himself. While I do understand fear and despair, I could go as far as saying that most of his despair is the result of his actions. It wasn’t like he stumble on the creation of the monster by accident. It required a lot of tinkering and an awful amount of time studying. He allowed his obsession to swallow him whole, depriving himself of the simple joys in life. In his pursuit, he forgot about what made life meaningful.

It is annoying how every time something bad happens, Victor blames the universe for it. He feels helpless to fate when in reality, fate has nothing to do with it. He chooses to neglect his relationships in favor of his pursuit. He refused to accept his responsibility in creating the monster. As the monster rose to life, he ran in horror. While this might be easy to understand, his misfortune is the result of his cowardice. He blames the universe in creating a monster instead of owning up to it. What’s even more frustrating was the fact, that he has countless chances to correct the mistake. He has opportunities to fix things, only to paralyze in fear and blame everything else after. 

What I do love about the story is its depiction of loneliness and its consequences. What the monster ever wanted was to feel loved and accepted. His hideous appearance drove everyone to run away resulting in its loneliness. Even for Frankenstein, it was his loneliness that kept his passions unchecked. His lack of relationships led to his creation of the monster. It was the loneliness of both characters that led them to unhealthy paths. It was Frankenstein’s loneliness that drove him to the creation of the monster. It was also the monster’s loneliness that drove it to its hatred towards Frankenstein. How things would be if only they didn’t feel lonely?

To Courage and Freedom!

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18 thoughts on “The Barbarian Book Club: Book of the Month (June): Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

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  1. one of my personal favourites – the creature is more human than the cultured man – did you watch the stage play at the National Theater on you tube recently? the creature was wonderfully portrayed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Gina, I’ll try to watch it later. I’m still going through some of your recommendations. I just finished Hill House last week and I’m now watching Locke and Key.

      Hmmm, maybe it’s just me being a dad but I always saw that monster as a child and Frankenstein as an irresponsible parent. Imagine a child being born and abandoned with no one to guide or love him… I could understand his anger towards his “father”. I could understand that he is an “abomination” and his life is the result of an unnatural process. But still, a lot of the things could be avoided if only Frankenstein owns up his responsibilities.
      But that’s just my opinion! 😄

      Liked by 2 people

      1. glad you got to watch those – pretty amazing right – another one for the future is Tabula Rasa – its in a foreign language – Dutch and Flemish mixed but with subtitles I think you will like this one too.

        yes you got it spot on about the parent child relationship – Mary Shelley was well ahead of her years when she wrote this that even today we can relate – the Frankenstein Chronicles (again on Netflix) harmonises a lot of your thoughts and comments here.

        your opinion is solid and thought provoking! well written yet again!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Just finished Locke and Key the other night and I’m looking for recommendations. I’ll try Tabula Rasa next week! Thanks, Gina! 🍸

        Yes, Shelley was great! I’m even surprised to find out that she wrote that in her 20’s or something. It was delicate yet there this sort of dread as you sort through the pages.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this book and every time I think about it, I always feel bad for the creature. Frankenstein created him, abandoned him, and then after their confrontation Frankenstein continued to shrug off his responsibility towards the creature he created. Mary Shelley was a genius and this book is absolutely brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

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