Mahealani LaRosa

My knowledge of the Frankenstein myth relied solely on Halloween and Scooby Doo movies before I read the novel. Growing up, the word Frankenstein put the image of a square-headed, green-skinned, illiterate, sewn-up creature in my head. What I never knew and never could have imagined was that there were so many layers to the story, so many complex characters and emotions. I always thought Frankenstein was the monster, not the scientist. That really shocked me. What really shocked me, however, was the rawness and intensity that poured out of every character. I never expected this simple, childhood story of a mad scientist bringing a huge green being to life to be so intricate.

I actually saw a lot of myself in every one of the characters. The longing, the fear, the exclusion. Right from the start, the novel resonated with me in ways I never thought it would. Although what I am going to write about is not exactly about the monster itself, it is about Frankenstein the novel, which is what this post is supposed to be all about.

In the first letter, Walton says “I bitterly feel the want of a friend. I have no one near me…” (30). Starting in a new place, as I and many of my other classmates are, feels a lot like this. I would never expect to find myself represented so clearly in a book about a monster. But that is the thing… The novel is not really about the monster. Every interaction the reader has with the creature is fleeting and brief. I was surprised to find much more of Walton and Frankenstein’s life, and even the French family living in the cottages life, represented in the novel. Walton expresses this craving for friendship right from the start, and he seems to be rewarded with Frankenstein. What is funny is that Frankenstein also expresses this craving for a friend, and a fear of making new ones, by saying “In the university, whither I was going, I must form my own friends, and be my own protector” (50). Once again, I share these sentiments. And once again, the scientist seems to be rewarded with Walton. They refer to one another as brothers, and in the short time they have together, they form a strong familial-like bond.

What I noticed is that the creature does not. There are many more instances in the novel where the monster yearns for friendship and connection. However, he is never rewarded. While watching the cottage-dwellers, he says “I longed to join them” (101). Aware of his absence of companionship, he asks himself “But where are my friends and relations? (110). He questions his own existence many times, thinking “Who was I? What was I? Whence did I come? What was my destination?” (115). All he longs for is a friend, much like the captain and the scientist, but he never gets one. He never gets anything.

And this is not what I was expecting. I thought the monster was exactly that. A monster. A killer. A mindless, numb murderer. I was never expecting to find someone so similar to myself in the creature. It is shocking, comparing myself to this being. He is a killer, but he has complex ideas and intimate thoughts, and in the long run, is just a lonely guy. And I get that. I wish him good luck, and I wish more people would read this novel and learn . the true Frankenstein story. I know everyone can find a bit of themselves in this story.

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