Wednesday, April 13, 2011

you know i, i hate you

since i have an hour before my scheduled exam studying should start, let me fill you all in on why i am not a big fan of frankenstein. and no, anonymous, it's actually not because i'm stupid. i can appreciate it as a work of literature that brings to light a lot of themes that are still relevant today. i can apply layers of meaning to it and use it to explain whatever i want it to - which is always fun. i can recognize the fact that shelley was only eighteen when she wrote it, and at the time of its publication it was probably pretty unique. but as a story, i just don't think its up to snuff. and while it got quite a few negative reviews when it was first published, i think that over the years it has become a story too old to be criticized by a lot of people. lucky for me, i can see beyond antiquity. i also think that a lot of people say it's their favorite book because it has a stamp of approval on it by society and people are too dumb or scared to think for themselves. so when someone tells me that it's their favorite and have no real reason for this choice (or you know, never read it. grr.), i judge them. the rest of this post will obviously contain spoilers, but i don't think there's a person on earth that doesn't know what's happened in the story by now.

though this is definitely not a reason i hate the book, i think victor frankenstein is one of the most obnoxious characters ever written. (i have gotten too many people telling me they hate a book or scene because a character is "too mean" or "such a coward." uh, if every character in every book was written as good, pretty, and strong, i don't think literature would be very interesting. well-written "mean" characters are some of my favorites.) so anyway, frankenstein creates this "monster" despite everyone and their mother telling him not to, and when he finds his creation to be hideous, he's horrified. the fact that he's trying to play god even though there's a long written history about that never working out doesn't faze him. but his creation turns out ugly and oh my god the world has ended. and when the monster, who realizes that no one likes him because he's ugly, asks frankenstein to create him a mate so they can run away to the jungle and live happily ever after away from the shallow society, frankenstein refuses him. sure he spouts some nonsense about being afraid that they would create some super-race and destroy humanity, but you know the only reason he doesn't want to is because he doesn't want to create anything else ugly. so i'm sorry, but if you create a guy, abandon him, and then refuse to create someone to be with him (after telling him you'll do it, mind you), don't get put out when he starts coming after you. you totally deserve it.

on to why i don't like the story:

i realize that the very nature of this story requires a suspension of disbelief, but i think shelley took that a little too far. i'll believe that a scientist could use electricity to shock a corpse to life because, hey, in the world of fantasy, stranger things have happened. but i refuse to believe that the same scientist, who spent months sewing together the prettiest body parts he could find could not see that the thing was hideous before it was alive. i mean, did he not see his monster lying there on the table day in and day out waiting to be animated? did it look beautiful to him then? did he think that life would suddenly change what it looked like? make the parts mend together seamlessly? instill beauty in something revolting? if he was smart enough to bring something to life, am i supposed to believe he was that stupid?

also, one part that has always killed me was the monster learning to read. he got a couple of books, stared at them for a while, and lo and behold he's literate! um, no. it just doesn't work that way. my sister recently received a package from japan that was stuffed with a japanese newspaper. i could stare at that newspaper from here till forever and i would never teach myself how to read japanese. if i spied on a japanese family and then stared at the newspaper, i still wouldn't learn. i don't care if he's a monster, he can't learn to read on his own when he's never even seen the written word.

going back to frankenstein's stupidity. if the monster is going around killing everyone he loves, what would make him think that he's really the one the monster wanted dead? if he was, he'd be dead already. so when he destroyed girl-monster before finishing her and then hid his wife for safety because he was so sure that the monster was after his own death, his stupidity is unfathomable. okay, so you can create life but you can't understand basic human emotions? if you have created someone and forced a life of solitude and misery on him, of course he's going to want the same life for you. even without the huge hint of him killing off other people and leaving you alive. if you are dead, you can't be alone and miserable. logic, dude. a scientist should have some.

and then the ending? the monster (who was totally who i was rooting for the whole book until this point) sees frankenstein dead and decides that he's miserable and is just going to go off himself? how convenient. if you were going to do something stupid like that then you should have killed yourself in the beginning instead of making us go through a zillion deaths and an anti-climactic chase to the arctic circle. if i was the captain dude that finds the monster standing over frankenstein's body depressed and has to listen to him say how awful he is and how he's going to go burn himself to death, if i saw him climb out the window and float away on an ice raft, i would be pissed. the letters to my sister would not be documenting some really cool, really weird story about people i met. it would be about a couple of selfish morons that wasted a bunch of life and had one too many lucky coincidence.

this post is getting too long, but i could go on about how i hate the book forever. the entire story was way too convenient. everything in it was contrived. and the ending was just crap.

random fact: my ap physics teacher always reminded me of frankenstein. i really liked the guy, but i could see him hiding in his garage sewing body parts together to shock to life. whenever i read the book now, i see him.

*Himerus and Ero - The Spill Canvas


  1. anonymous hippopotamusJune 7, 2011 at 6:45 AM

    I couldn't bring myself to read I can't really say if I like it or hate it. But just the idea of a book being written about such a stupid character (i'm basing this judgement on the movies and cartoons of Frankenstein and Frankenstein-like characters) makes me hate the book and not want to read it. I think it's better suited as a screen play or a tv series...but not classic (al?) literature.

  2. i'm guessing you meant the monster as being the stupid character? in which case i'd have to disagree cause i actually liked him. the idea behind the story could have been made into something much better is what i think.