Montag’s reading of Frankenstein did hold my interest over those 10 pages. As with all good interpretations, it made me nod my head and go “huh, that’s cool.” I liked how Montag went deeper than simply “proletariat vs. middle class,” pinpointing science as the beginnings of the new social era. His reading made me think about other aspects of the book through this lens, and I developed an interpretation of a defining characteristic of the novel.

He referenced the creation of the monster and how that process is completely unexplained, and he offered a very good interpretation of the (at the time of the novel’s publication) emerging working class being the effects of science and technology. But I want to remove the science and history from the discussion and read this hiding through a Marxist worldview. The process of the creature’s creation is hidden. We never know exactly what Frankenstein does to give the creature life, not even a hint of the lightning and such that film versions have presumed. We just have a product and look at it with either horror or compassion. Through this decision to obscure the actual process, the  monster is an example of a fetishized commodity. The means of his production are obscured, so the creature becomes simply a commodity, pushed out into the world by the bourgeois Victor. His rejection of the creature shows that he cannot be the old workers of Marx’s model, as he would not reject something so close to himself if he was a symbol of that worker.

Admittedly, this reading does clash with my own sympathetic views towards the creature. With the Marxist interpretation that I have offered, the horror of the story is amplified. It becomes more of a story about the horror of commodities and guilt that the bourgeoisie, symbolized by Victor, should feel. This amateur attempt at a Marxist reading does seem to sap the pathos from the story, but it is a thrilling idea nevertheless. Montag’s is a more fleshed out interpretation, and probably one that holds to greater scrutiny, but I think this aspect of the novel is one of the more interesting details – one that deserves more attention from any critical perspective.

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